Raising kids is complicated. There are so many moments when we wonder if we’re doing things right. Should I let my teenager go to that friend’s house, even though I know his parents may not be home? Or would it be better to just keep my son at home tonight? Should I insulate or completely isolate my child from perceived or potential temptation, bad influences, or pain?
Now let me warn you, this blog isn’t a “one size fits all.” Each child and each situation is unique, and should be considered as such. Because of this, I’d like to give you a checklist that may help you to determine when to insulate and when to isolate your kids.
1. What is the risk factor? When your child asks to do something, you should first and foremost identify whether this activity poses a real threat to your son or daughter. It’s one thing if they want to have a sleepover at a neighbor’s house you’ve known for years. It’s another thing when they want to go to a party late at night with friends you’ve never met. Take time to really tune in when your kids are seeking permission to do something. You can do this by asking insulating questions to get a good idea of just what your teen wants to be doing, such as “Where are you going? Who are you going with? What are you going to do? What time will you be home?”
2. Has your child earned your trust? When you have given your child more privileges and more freedom, have they used it wisely? For example, have they consistently made curfew? Have they been where they’ve said they’d be? Have they made good decisions consistently? If their track record has been good, maybe it’s time to give them more freedom.
3. Have you trained them? Of course, it’s important to create boundaries for your children and train them on how to make wise decisions. So, the next time your teenager asks to go to a party where there won’t be any adults, instead of just saying “no”, explain to them what they may encounter and the possible consequences if they make the wrong choices. Be sure to always keep the lines of communication open between you and your child, so that they feel comfortable talking to you and know you will be there to listen.
Part of parenting means wanting to protect your child. What are some ways you decide when to insulate or isolate your child? Please share with me below.