As they get older, your children become more independent and have more secrets, hopefully and usually, harmless secrets. You see less of them when they have friends and even less when they start to drive. This is when a parent has to be a little aggressive.
We think we know our kids and even if we do, there is always something about them of which you have no idea. Most of the time, these are harmless details which make them the individuals they are. Sometimes, they are not.
Here or some questions from Advocates for Youth that you can ask of yourself.
- What is your daughter's/son's favorite game or sport?
- What is your son's/daughter's height (within one inch)?
- Who is your daughter's/son's closest friend?
- If your son/daughter could do anything he/she chose for a day, what would it be?
- What is your daughter's/son's favorite TV show? Favorite character?
- What was the last movie your son/daughter saw?
- What is your daughter's/son's favorite food?
- What is your son's/daughter's favorite thing to do after school?
- Would your daughter/son rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?
- Who is your son's/daughter's favorite singer or musical group? I
- If your daughter/son had a choice to have a pet, what would it be?
- Which would your son/daughter rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean his/her room, or vacuum the house?
- Do your daughter's/son's friends call her/him by a nickname? If so, what is it?
- In the evening, would your son/daughter rather play a game with the family, go to visit a relative, or read in his/her room?
- What was the last problem your daughter/son brought to you for help?
- What gift would your son/daughter most like to receive?
- What does your daughter/son do that she/he is proud of?
If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you have some insight of which you may not have been aware. You’re either pleased you know your kids so well, or you’re ashamed of the things of which you are not aware. But if you are the former, don’t relax. Your influence becomes less powerful as time goes on and the influence of outside sources grows.
So for the good of your children, let them be themselves but be aggressive enough to guide them. It is not an easy balancing act, but well worth it when you have avoided potential, and possibly serious, challenges involving your children.
Just two more 'differences' to go!