Parents know teenagers are aching for a little freedom. They are at an age where friends and social circles are becoming a priority in their lives. The combination of those two things often results in behavior that may make you nervous. Sneaking out is one of those behaviors. Sometimes, though not always, teens sneak out because they think the behavior they are about to engage in would offend you. Other times, their friends just want an adrenaline rush from doing something “bad.” It’s important to keep communicating with your kids at this age.
Parents Should Create Clear Rules and Expectations for Teens
As your kids age, develop clear expectations and rules. Do you have a set curfew? What happens when they break it? Do they need to call and check in with you? These questions and more are things you and your kids should be able to answer. Be open to discussions with your kids when they feel these rules aren’t fair. Hear their side and consider it. If you feel you are still in the right, then you can keep the rules in place. However, you may find you agree with your teen.
Get to Know Adolescent Kid’s Friends
Your teenagers’ friends and significant others are important people in their lives. They have a lot of influence over what your children do and who they become. For this reason, parents should get to know the people they spend time with. Invite friends, boyfriends and girlfriends to your home for dinner. Let your teen know that the group can hang out at your residence. Parents can use this as a way get to know them. Remember that your children want freedom at this age and one way to do that is to choose their own friends. Let them feel like they have that privilege or they might just take it.
Monitor Your Teen
If you worry that your teenagers are breaking the clearly stated rules and expectations you have talked about, it might be time to monitor their behavior. Sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night is a common way for teens to rebel. Set up motion-sensing detectors near windows and doors that your teen might use to sneak out. If you have the smartphone app connected to your security system, you’ll get an alert when the home security alarms are tripped. This way, you’ll be aware when your child has left the house.
Video recording is another way to find out if your teen has been leaving the house after you’ve gone to sleep. The smartphone app allows you to watch a live video feed or go through archived footage. Be sure cameras can capture video from every entry and exit point around the home, otherwise your teen might circumvent the cameras.
Confronting Your Child
If you do end up with evidence of your teens’ exploits, it’s time to confront them. Be careful, as they might be upset when they discover you’ve been monitoring their activities. Stick to the consequences you have already discussed with your teen as a way to reinforce the expectations and rules of your home.
By Will Bown