You might be the type of parent that has to know everything. You ask all the questions, search his room, check out his friends and monitor his Facebook updates.
Or, you might be the type of parent that gives the benefit of doubt, expecting the best from your son and veering away from difficult topics of conversation. You could be a mixture of both.
It is safe to assume that your son has or will be exposed to marijuana, alcohol, pornography, violent/degrading music and other equally concerning influences.
Here are some important questions to ask your teenager, keeping in mind his relationship with technology and the internet.
What about sex?
- Do you or anyone you know use internet pornography?
- Have you or anyone you know ever been a part of sexting? (texting or emailing sexually explicit images)
- What are the messages you see about sex on the internet, TV and in movies?
- What would you like to know about sex, but have been afraid to ask?
What about drugs?
- Has anyone ever offered you drugs or alcohol? How did you handle that situation?
- Are you friends with people on Facebook that use marijuana or alcohol?
- Have you ever felt pressured by your friends to use drugs or alcohol?
- Would you feel comfortable talking to me if you were using drugs or alcohol?
What about rock n’ roll?
- What are the messages in your music about drugs, violence and women?
- Does your music bring your mood up or down?
- What does your music say about who you are as a person?
It is important to have regular conversations about these topics with your teenager. I guarantee that he is facing these issues every day at school and online as well.
Some of these topics might be uncomfortable for you, for a variety of reasons. Consider what might keep you from having open, honest conversations with your son.
These issues can bring wonderful opportunities for you and your son to connect on real life issues and grow closer together.
If you have concerns about your teenager in any of these areas, please consult a professional counselor for guidance and possibly individual or family counseling.
Photo credit: GanMed64