Does my pre-teen need much supervision?

       Pre- and early adolescents often behave responsibly, showing that they understand safety rules and know right from wrong. However, they also can act irresponsibly, and for that reason they need consistent parental supervision.

      When kids are away from home, they’re almost always supervised. They’re watched at school, at camp, in organized sports, at social gatherings, and on field trips. Only at home are kids these ages left without an adult for significant periods. And when they are unsupervised, especially if they’re with friends, they take more risks and are likelier to end up in trouble.

       In a spontaneous moment, they forget rules, perhaps because of peer pressure or the desire for excitement. One thirteen-year-old walked to a pizza parlor at night, although she was told to stay indoors when her parents weren’t home. An eleven-year-old teased a five-year-old neighbor until she cried. Two unsupervised twelve-year-olds poured squeezable cheese on each other “for fun.” A ten-year-old and her friends made a mess in the basement, leaving spilled soda, chips, and candy. Physical fights broke out at an un-chaperoned party for thirteen-year-olds.

      Although your child is becoming more independent, she needs your supervision. Your degree of watchfulness depends on her age and the circumstances. A ten-year-old obviously needs closer supervision than a twelve-year-old. But whatever her age, you should know what she’s doing and where she is, and you should set limits and offer guidelines. Your responsibility remains the same whether you’re at home, working, socializing, or vacationing.

      If she has any kind of party, even one involving just a few friends, be home. If she’s going to a party elsewhere, make certain parents will be present. Supervise sleepovers. Tell the kids when they’re making too much noise or staying up too late. If you’re keeping an eye on things, you can end a troublesome situation or suggest alternative activities for your child, whether she’s with friends or alone: “Why don’t you play out front?” “I’ll take you to the tennis courts.” “Come get some pizza.”

       As part of supervision, give frequent reminders about safety and manners. It’s important that your child clearly understands your rules. She may still forget, bend, or break some, but as long as you’re supervising her, she’s more likely to act responsibly.

Picture Credit : Google