After many discussions with other Mum’s, as well as my own experience, it seems that these days the problem years for teens are 14 to 15 years of age! Is it getting younger?
Experimental drinking, skipping school, drinking at school, shoplifting, behavioural and attitude problems, sexual curiosity, sexual orientation and drug experimentation are some if the issues that have been raised in my discussions with Mum’s of teens in this small age bracket. Shocking isn’t it? I’m not saying all 14-15 year olds behave or experiment in this way, but I bet they know other kids (yes, kids!) their age that are.
Unfortunately my child fits into four of the above described behaviours/activities! But there was one more concern of a technological nature that I have not mentioned – social media. We have all seen the documentaries, heard the warnings and I’m sure we’re all vigilant parents with privacy settings and other forms of internet protection for our kids. But when it happens under your own roof it’s quite horrifying! In our house we have had to recently deal with ‘grooming’ behaviours from older men towards our 15 year old via social apps such as Kik, Keek, Snap Chat and others where settings are minimal and anyone can find you and make contact. It’s not until the contact is made that you have an option to block someone, therefore profiles and photos are out there in the social media world for anyone to look at and make contact. Photos of older men showing a bit more flesh than necessary are not a welcome intrusion in our home – so apps have been deleted, phone confiscated, laptop usage for school work only but in the communal areas only, close monitoring, meetings with the school and counsellor, and this year devoted to a focus on study and school! Is this too harsh? I’m not sure but we certainly haven’t just implemented punishments without real discussion and support for any underlying issues – hence the appointments have been made with Head Space, a place just for young people needing help and support for anything from bullying issues to more serious psychological problems.
So fingers crossed that we make it through this year (Yr 10 being a very important year) with our sanity intact and a daughter that knows she is loved and supported but needs to take steps towards the right path – happy to hold her hand along the way but you teenagers, that would be so, like, uncool!
Posted anonymously, 5th March 2014