Teenage, that age of rebellion between adulthood and childhood. An age where your kids aren’t children anymore, yet they aren’t adults quite yet. That age of a person’s life when they think they know it all, and are the least likely to go to an adult for help, believing that they are invincible and can solve all the problems that life throws at them with ease. It is that scary age for parents, where their children give them the lowest respect, and often end up at loggerheads with them. Often times, teenagers end up closing themselves off from their parents, keeping everything to themselves, and only sharing things which have an academic bent, with their parents.
In this situation, it is common for many parents to turn to social networking sites such as Facebook to stalk and monitor their children, but this has the potential to wreak havoc and make the situation worse, instead of improving it in any reasonable manner.
Indeed, your teenage children may think you are being overprotective and feel mollycoddled. Instead, a smarter move would be to give them their freedom, yet make sure they know that you are there for them, if ever they need you. Give them a little bit of freedom to let their rebellious streak blow out, but make sure you have an eye on them in case they get into some serious trouble. Instil the dual nature of freedom and responsibility in them.
Of course, in the meanwhile you can still be friends with them on Facebook and follow their activities, but do not make it obvious. Play it cool, do not appear intimidating, but make sure you have an idea about the kind of company your teenage children keep, their friends, their habits, what they usually get up to, whether it is harmless fun, or whether they are indulging in more serious rule-breaking. If it is the latter, then you must play the firm parent card and straighten them out, after all, it is better to have a few rough words and rows with your children than watch them fall in with unsavoury aspects of society, leading to a domino effect which can only culminate in pain and heartbreak. (This may seem like a surprising conclusion derived from a seemingly innocuous topic, but the fact remains that no one is born twisted. It is the morals we teach our children and the values we instil in them that will hold them in good stead as they pass through life. That small talk could be the difference between a life as a drug-dealer, or a life as a doctor).
So nay, do not stalk your teenage children on Facebook, or other forms of social media, but make sure you have an idea of what they are doing. Go through their profile from time to time, share supportive comments, but without seeming intimidating, condescending, or parental.
Act as a friend, but do not hesitate in being the firm parent if you see your child falling into bad habits or with suspicious folk.