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Advice for Parents on How to Talk to Their Teen about Electronics and Social Media

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You know it's increasingly difficult, I think, especially with social media, to parent today. I mean, I think it's more challenging today than ever and we really are not very well equipped in terms of managing the whole world of electronics. We aren't very well quipped and neither are our children and so it's really, really important that we learn as much as we can about the world of electronics and how that maps on to our children's development.

As kids get older, they become increasingly connected socially and a lot of that is via social media, so it's important for parents to be informed about that. And it's also, because of that, increasingly difficult for parents to let go and allow their kids to be more independent especially at that driving age.

But there are also some nice things about electronics, like you can have an electronic tracking system for your kids. And you know, I would also establish really important expectations at that time when kids are becoming more independent. It's important for parents to know who kids are hanging out with, to have expectations in terms of curfew, expectations about boyfriends and girlfriends.

And all these things come along with increased independence. And with that also comes increased conflict between teenagers and parents. And so it can help a lot of you have very, very clear expectations at the onset about those things that fall in that independence realm which is, you know, driving, boyfriends, girlfriends, substance use, academic performance, participation in extra curricular activities. All of those things contribute to kids sort of spreading their wings and becoming more independent; at the same time it increases anxiety for parents.

One way to assist with that is to be really clear with kids about what your expectations are and what consequences will occur when they don't meet those expectations. But one thing we tend to forget with our kids is to catch them being good. You can get a lot of momentum by praising and acknowledging and providing additional privileges when our kids makes good choices and it's a place that we sometimes forget to look.