Are you a plugged in parent? I’m talking about the kind of parent who is involved in your teenager’s life…in such a way that you would recognize signs of bad behavior. Things like drinking, drugs, oh, even prostitution.
Can you imagine not knowing that your teenager was not only sexually active but had been with married men? Had prostituted herself out in order to get ecstasy?
That was the situation in a recent Dr. Phil show I watched. I would have to say this was probably the most clueless mother I have ever seen.
The specifics of the show don’t really matter. What does is that we as parents must have some idea of what’s going on in the life of our teens.
Now I will say this. They can deceive us. I would be lying if I were to say my teens had never been successful at doing that. But here’s the thing…they always get caught. And I attribute this to one thing: being a plugged in parent.
So what do I mean by this? I believe a plugged in parent is investigative. You don’t just take your teen’s word at face value.
Sure, we would all love to trust everything that comes out of their mouths. But Judge Judy has this funny (and true) saying, “How do you know when a teenager is lying? Their mouth is moving.”
Okay, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and not say that every single time they talk, a lie is coming out. But for any parent to believe that their teenager has never, ever lied—well, your investigative skills need some honing.
Investigative means asking questions, checking up on them, verifying where they are and who is there, performing regular bedroom checks (when they aren’t around), checking their phones, iPods and computers. These are just some of the ways we can be investigative.
A plugged in parent is one who spends time with his or her teenager. It’s the best way to really get to know what is going on in your teen’s world.
But the time you spend together, the conversations you have…must be accompanied with grace and a non-judgmental attitude. Be ready to offer advice but not unsolicited. Learn how to listen with ears open and mouth closed.
Take time to really think through the way you parent. Would you say you are plugged in?