Parenting a teen is a whole different ballgame than anything you've done before. Welcome to looks of disgust and pity, doors that only slam, and wearing clothes you can only scratch your head at and all of this before your morning coffee. You think to yourself, I am not ready for all of this. They are thinking, I am ready for all of this and by all of this they mean trouble.
Your teen is already participating in risky behaviors as soon as your eyes have averted from their computer screen and a phone is placed in their hands. These guys are not innocent and if you think they are, you would be mistaken. Welcome the to age of defying everything you have taught them and don't think they are telling you the truth about anything you ask.
So what are they doing behind your back?
Before every seeming teenager had a cell phone, they used the house line to call friends and their crushes. Today no one knows what a house line is. A watchful ear from a parent could be located nearby but today a communication tool is strapped to their hand 24/7. Texting and Snapchatting has become a teenage past-time. Anything they feel at the moment can be punched into their device and spread to another. Many times these texts are of sexual nature that can easily be disguised or deleted when you demand their phone. Add a pass code and you as a parent have no rights to enter the phone and check up on them as they sleep.
A couple of days ago my oldest daughter told me a friend of hers steals from a certain store in town. I was appalled. Working in a small retail store, stealing is a huge pet peeve of mine not to mention against the law. Many teens steal because they can and because it brings a thrill to their shopping experience. Getting caught is not on their radar and will not be until they face the music.
Smoking is still a popular rite of passage for teens. Older friends buy cigarettes for the younger ones and peer pressure kicks in. Standing around with a cancer stick in their hand adds a cool accessory to their wardrobe. Even if your teen has hounded you to quit (and you have) or it has been a long time no-no you as a parent have preached on, your teen has tried it. If they haven't yet, they will soon.
Unless you are around your teen every night and on every weekend, your teen has drank alcohol. Many parents have a liquor cabinet or keep beer and wine around. Leave it unattended for any amount of time and your teen and their friends are going to get into it. Another popular rite of a passage into adulthood is having a cocktail. If they come home from a party and head straight to bed, you can assume they have drank too much.
So what are you to do as a parent of a teen? Lock them in their room until they are thirty? It would be a nice option but unfortunately teens must grow into young adults and you as a parent get to ride it out with them.
Remember they are young and dumb. We all once where. They are going to get into messes they wish they hadn't gotten themselves into. Help them see the consequences of their actions and how to react the next time they are in the situations that arise. Remind them smoking is a terrible habit that will kill them. Assure them, drinking is unacceptable until they reach the legal age. Tell them if by some reason they wind up drunk never get in a car with someone who has been drinking and never drive themselves. Parent up and pick them up. A drunk kid is better than a dead one. Tell them again stealing is wrong and will get you in trouble with the police. Make them return any stolen items you find. Help them see sexting is not what they should be doing and to always respect themselves. Teenagers are older adolescents who still want to play but are finding new ways to do so.
Parenting them is never easy but knowing they are not perfect will help you understand their motives a little better.