When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Keeping tabs on your teen can be challenging as they spend more time away from home and away from your watchful eye. Yet monitoring your tween has never been more important! Getting to know the parents of your tweens’ friends is one easy way to keep tabs on your child’s activities and behaviors even when you are not there.

Be an eParent®! Keep in touch with the parents of your child’s friends. Set up a closed Facebook group, online network or listserv of other parents. “Friend” request the parents of your teen’s friends.

Establishing a pattern of “keeping tabs” on your tween will help you ease into the teenage years. Monitoring means knowing where they are, who they are with, what they are doing, and when they will be home. Knowing about a teen’s whereabouts and behavior during out-of-school hours is associated with lower rates of drug and alcohol use, pregnancy, and delinquency. Research also shows that teens who believe their parents disapprove of these unsafe behaviors are less likely to carry them out, so clear communication about expectations are crucial. Getting to know the parents of your child’s friends can be a fun and effective way to stay connected to your teen when they are out and about.

Check out this YouTube video on connecting with the parents of your teen’s friends.

The situation might be reversed for you. Are you away from home more often, leaving your tween or teen home alone? Take the free Home Alone online University of Wisconsin-Extension course to determine if your child is ready to stay home alone. Read more about why monitoring matters for teen well-being.

To learn more contact UW-Extension Family Living Programs or like Family Living on Facebook

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