• Monitoring your Teenager

  • With the technology available today, it is easier than ever to monitor your teenager. How much monitoring is helpful and when does it become harmful to your relationship? Monitoring your teenager is a sensitive subject that many people feel strongly about one way or another so I thought it would be a good topic to explore further.

    monitoring your teenagerWith Summer around the corner, teenagers are going to be spending more time in the car. No matter who the driver is, it is an area of concern for many parents. With car accidents being the number 1 cause of death for teenagers, it is a completely understandable concern to have.

    There is new technology available that will allow parents to monitor and track where their teenager is driving, how fast they are driving, and if they are slamming on the breaks. This information is all available by text message, email or on their website. This article that I read about it explained the monitoring tools as “coaching” your child to be a better driver, and not  about “spying” on them.

    I have mixed feelings about this topic and I definitely think it needs to be explored on a case by case basis. I believe that teenagers should be given a certain amount of trust and freedom. If you are letting them drive in the first place, you must trust their judgment somewhat and this can be a great tool to help teenagers prove to their parents that they can be trusted with this responsibility. However, I think it could be damaging to the parent-child relationship if parents are using this to spy on their children without their child’s knowledge.

    Here are some benefits and concerns that I have on this level of monitoring.

    Benefits to Monitoring Your Teenager’s Driving:

    • it can actually help build a parent’s TRUST in the teenager
    • it can make teenagers more thoughtful about their driving behaviors
    • it can help parents track down their child in case of an emergency
    • it can help parents reward good behavior and take away privileges as needed
    • it can decrease the parent’s anxiety about not knowing their child’s whereabouts

    Disadvantages to Monitoring Your Teenager’s Driving:

    • it can make the teenager feel that their parents do not trust them
    • it can give the parents a false sense of security in their child’s behaviors

    Of course these are only some possibilities, but maybe it can be a good thing if done properly. Great communication between teenager and parent is always important, and this is definitely the case when it comes to sensitive topics like this. If teenagers have nothing to hide, it can be a great way for them to prove to you that you have nothing to worry about. If they give you reason to worry, it can be used in a way to help them prove to you that they can follow rules and have the opportunity to gain privileges back.

    (CLICK HERE  to read about monitoring your teenager’s social media)

    If you are struggling with how to make a decision about monitoring your teenager (whether it’s their driving, internet or phone usage) a professional might be able to help you come to a conclusion on how to handle this. There is no easy right or wrong answer since each child is very different and has different needs.

    I am curious to know other people’s thoughts on this. Please comment and share any ideas that you have on the subject.