As parents, one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do is let go and give your child that freedom they’re going to want and need. You remember what it was like when you were there age. You wanted to be out with your friends doing your own thing and, while you may say to yourself, “yeah, but it was different back then,” this means nothing to your kid.
Basically, we have all got to let go sooner or later and our job as the parent is to protect but not smother, remember that. You are there to encourage them to be able to stand on their own two feet and do so safely. Granting them more independence doesn’t have to mean that anything goes and all rules are done with, it just means expanding their freedoms in a safe way and here are some of our top tips to help you:
Research Is King
When your child asks for that little bit more freedom, which they will do (in a really sweet and innocent way), do all your research on what that actually means and whether it is suitable for their age. Read books, ask teachers, look on the internet; it could be that your child just wants to be doing what is totally normal.
Keep Learning, Dad
Before technology took over the world, parents knew best. This has changed. They have grown up with it, know all the trends and all the stuff we have no idea about. You really need to educate yourself on this front. If they want to play Facebook games, then learn exactly what that means and what the risks are. If they want to go on YouTube to watch some video that everyone has been watching, find out what it is. Basically, the more you know the less reason there is to be anxious.
Be an Enforcer
You really need to have a way of checking what they are doing, whatever their latest activity is. This could be having access to their Facebook account to see what they are doing or who they are talking to or if you’re concerned about their online activity, there are ways to be monitoring iPhones without jailbreak so you can see exactly what is going on. Even having them send a text or call you at certain points when they are out is enough. Set rules, and if these get violated then have a suitable punishment that will teach them to respect what you are trying to do, which is keep them safe.
Practice Makes Perfect
Something as simple as walking to school on their own may seem harmless to them, but not to you. So, to put your ease of mind and help them understand why you are on edge, have a few rehearsal runs. Go with a few times, let them prove they can cross the road safely and that they know the route and know what to do if a stranger approaches them. These are things you must get comfortable with and things they need to be confident at doing. They are life lessons you need to teach them. If you want them to walk with their friends just to be sure, fine; if that’s what it takes that is what it takes. Getting on board with this increase in freedom slowly is better than not at all.