I’m a firm believer in being a busy body into my children’s lives. Not because I’m nosy, which I am, but because I feel it’s important to know what’s going on, who they are friends with and how they are doing emotionally.
They are the combined number one most important things in the entire world to me (I have 3 birth and 2 step) and I’m going to do everything in my power as their mother to make sure they come out of their youth safe and as unscathed as possible.
Which means…I need to always be available to them. My eyes and ears need to always be on alert. And my nose…just in case they are doing any funky stuff like smoking and drinking.
I am a stalker. Well, aside from stalking Duran Duran on Twitter, I stalk my children’s Facebook, I sneak and read their texts (now they will know, sigh). I feel it’s uber important as a parent to be hyper aware, especially with cyber horrific-ness and it’s ramifications to be so 2000′s.
Most importantly, my kids know that they can talk to me. Any time. About anything. Even if I’m sitting on the toilet. Which, don’t laugh…it’s happened. Me, on the toilet, them outside the door, unburdening.
I try to set aside time to talk to my kids. Whether it be lying at the end of their bed at midnight (my kids never sleep) or grabbing one of them for a quick ride to the store.
Listening and not speaking while they talk helps them to get their whole story out, without interruption or side-tracking. It also, I believe, makes it less intimidating because if I’m not talking, then there are no words being misconstrued as judgment, until after they are done!
Ask the right questions. Ask about their emotions and then discuss them. Giving them validation empowers them. Talk to them when they are somewhat distracted, like doing homework. It’s amazing what they share.
Choose your battles. If they know that you yell at them about everything, they aren’t even going to come in the same room that you’re in, let alone spill their insides. I’d much rather let them get away with leaving their plates on the counter and then scream at them for smoking pot in my garage (no, that’s never happened. Yet.)
Teenagers are angsty. It’s so important to be there, in some capacity. Set aside a few moments of “talk time” every day. So, your dishes may sit in the sink with oatmeal growing harder on it and you’ll need to chisel it off, but your kid will never forget the fact that his parent was there when he needed him.
It’s worth it, no?
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