this is something I wrote this morning, and based on some of the conversations i have been having with some of my youth, I WOULD LOVE TO send this to parents. I am not sure yet if i am ready for an angry mob, or for the sad reality that some of the parents might not even read it.
Some questions to ask your teens
When they are leaving the house, and acting like they don’t want to share details. Here are some of the questions you can ask your teen.
- Where are you going? Seems pretty normal question, but most of the time if you teenager is doing something they don’t want you to know they will say a short answer, like “out” or to a friend’s house, they will be vague, short. Most likely with this answer comes a lie they are trying to keep from you (not all the time, but most of the time). OR if they answer in a too good to be true answer, it most likely is too good to be true.
- What will you be doing? Hanging out, isn’t really a safe word anymore for most teens. “Hanging out” usually leads to being bored, which depending on the friend group, leads to doing something pretty dumb. Based on some of my experience and what I have heard. Most youth that “hang out” end up doing something that they shouldn’t be doing, playing drinking games, drugs, something to help pass time and for time to seem more exciting.
- Who is all going to be there? With this question, there should be follow up ones, such as can I have a friend’s name and phone number in case you don’t answer yours? Can I have a list of friend’s names please and maybe a parent’s number? How do you know these people? Can I have the address of where you will be going? I totally understand the want to trust your teenager with a simple “I am going out; I will call if I am not home for dinner”. It’s easy, but your teenager is really not ready to have that kind of responsibility and to do responsible things. They see the lenience as a way to do what they want to do without having to answer to you. Less is not best in this situation.
- Party Situation: what address? Name of parents and phone numbers? And how will you be getting to and from this party? You might feel like a prying parent, but believe me, THESE ARE VITAL QUESTIONS! And you have every right as a parent to be asking these. Parties in high school are not pin the tail on the donkey and have fun themed games. Most parties (despite what school your teenager attends) is a drinking, potentially drug party. Even if the group is less than 15 people. AND, some parents are more than okay with getting alcohol for their teenagers, and letting them have a “safe” time.
High school is a time where we as youth test boundaries, experiment, and potentially make harmful decisions. It’s a vulnerable, peer pressuring time. Your teenager you might think would never make this dumb of a decision, and yes, some of them wont, but do you really want to trust them so much to the point where it’s too late, they are addicted, they can only have fun if there is drinking or they have gone “all the way” with someone they just met?