Parental Monitoring – How Far is Too Far?

Every parent has a fear until the end of their time. What if their child goes astray? What if the company around him turns into a bad influence? What if he starts breaking rules? What if his online self is a façade that is nothing like what he is in real life? What does he do when he is out with friends or in a closed room? There are a million such questions that run through a parent’s mind either when their child is at home or when he is away. Of course, these are somewhat quelled by the trust that they put in him. But till a time that the child is mature enough to understand that there are some activities that fall under the negative side of the radar and are best left unexplored, a parent must take an active interest in honing and shaping the child’s psyche.

Ways in which a parent can keep track of their child’s activities are diverse. But what is the acceptable time period for which this needs to be done? The answer to this question varies from time to time, for a parent might need to help their child even when they have attained middle age or they might find that they don’t need to monitor their child anymore even when the child is only a teenager.

There is no hard-coded start and stop for parental monitoring. But when the child has grown up to a point where he understands that there is a limit being imposed on him, his natural reaction is to protest against the control exercised by the parent. But slowly and steadily, as he grows up, he begins to understand the reasons behind the restrictions and it is so deeply ingrained in his mind that he automatically begins to follow them.

Parental monitoring comes from a point where the parent strives to give their child a life of values, discipline, respect and punctuality. But when these efforts spiral out of their hands and they try too hard, the child feels suffocated and claustrophobic. In the rush to teach the child that these values need to be upheld and respected, some parents turn into henpecking mothers and fathers. Sure, teach your child to be on time, teach them to respect others and teach them better organizational skills, but do not keep pushing them to a point where there is no choice for the child than to revolt and tell you to stop. Always hanging over their heads to see what they are doing on the computer or calling repeatedly to have a blow-by-blow account of where they are when they are out with friends goes a little too far on the scale. As the child grows up, there is more need for him to have more privacy and freedom, which if the parent has done things right, will never lead the child to step out of line.

So, monitor your child. But know when to stop and give him his time. It’s important, too.

About the Author

Sonali Dabade

Sonali Vijay Dabade is a professional freelance writer. She has been writing and editing for some time now, with a special interest in children’s and family subjects. Prior to writing, she loves reading all sorts of books, relish travelling and has a deep affection for music. She believes herself as a spirited dreamer and an admiring thinker.

Sonali helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids’ lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you’re wondering “what’s the right age for…?” With an extensive and abiding interest in children and bossing people around, her role as a parenting expert brings her skills and obsessions together in perfect harmony.

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