As a parent, it might time to find the right parenting balance. However, using intuition and gut instinct often leads to finding that balance. Mike Linderman, author of The Teen Whisperer: How to Break Through the Silence and Secrecy of TeenageLife, wrote, “Parents’ gut instincts are right on the money.” Likely, you’ve been with your child for his or her entire life, and the bond you have with your child can facilitate finding the right amount of involvement.
Lisa Boesky, a child and adolescent psychologist from San Diego and author of the book, When to Worry, says of parents: “Either they’re too strict, which brings about more rebellion, or they’re too hands-off, and the child gets into trouble because of lack of supervision.” She continues to say that ideally parents need to find the balance between the two in order to monitor and supervise their child’s life without being overly involved.
Of course, children are going to need various levels of involvement at different ages. From infancy through middle school, children have significant needs that require parents to be close and deeply involved. However, once they become tweens and then later enter adolescence, children begin to pull away. However, even though teens are pulling away from parents and attempting to find a sense of self, they can often feel when parents are no longer providing a structure or foundation for their life.
Even as teens begin to pull away, being involved with in his or her life gives you a pulse on what they’re up to. And just by having that pulse, you can know whether the problems they are experiencing are worthy of deeper investigation.
Research indicates that if there are any real problems, if there were issues serious enough to present to aprofessional, then likely there would be interference in your child’s ability to function at school, at home, or at work. For instance, if grades begin to fall or if there are major conflicts at home, or if there are concerns about your child’s ability to maintain employment, then perhaps there might be reason to worry.
It’s common for parents to worry when they begin to see their children’s lives change. When children turn 13 or 14 years of age, for example, there might be new behavior you haven’t see in the past. Your daughter might become less talkative whereas before she would tell you every detail of her day at school. Your son might hide away in his room, gluing himself to the computer, whereas before he would help you with the yard work.
John Townsend, author of the book, Boundaries with Teens, wrote that having a connection to your teen is important. Although that might seem obvious, parenting styles differ from being heavily involved to being entirely hands off and everything in between. However, some level of connection is important. Knowing what your child is doing, being familiar with his or her overall sense of well being, and having a sense of your child’s functioning is important. Doing this doesn’t necessarily mean being overly involved but having no idea what is going on in their life can lead to problems.
If you’re concerned about your parenting style, or if you’re wondering whether you’re too involved or not involved enough in your child’s life, there is a wonderful local resource you can check out. The Center for Reflective Parenting, in Los Angeles provides a range of services and programs that work with the unique circumstances of parents. There are Reflective Parenting Programs as well as Mindful Parenting Groups, which are both meant to facilitate a relationship with your child or teen.
Ideally, parents would find a balance between being overly involved and not involved enough. It’s a process to find that ideal parenting style but when it happens it allows parents the ability to monitor and supervise their child’s life without needing to keep the reins pulled in too tight.