I have a 15-year-old daughter. Her behavior has changed recently. She used to be very friendly, but now does not share much with me. I want to ensure that she is not engaged in any risky behaviour. How can I monitor her without breaching her privacy?
It is quite natural for parents to worry about adolescents and they feel like monitoring them more than before. During 14-18 years, children have a strong drive for independence; they want to make their own decisions. They also have a need to be accepted by their peers and enjoy spending time with them. Their brains are yet to be fully developed. As a result, they have difficulty understanding the risks associated with their decisions.
When monitoring is intrusive teens are more likely to be afraid or hesitant to talk to their parents when they have concerns, view their parents as controlling and even reject their advice.
Some of them rebel against their parents, and spend less time with them. But when monitoring is respectful teens usually talk to their parents and consider their advice seriously, want to maintain a positive relationship with their parents, and spend more time with them. It is important for parents to maintain a warm, kind, stable, loving and caring relationship with the adolescents.
You need to understand your daughter and communicate with her effectively in order to provide her with the appropriate guidance at this critical phase.
Talk to your daughter freely and without judgement about her life, dreams, and interests (e.g. what she reads, favourite shows, etc.). You can consider finding activities that you both enjoy and do those together. Try to know her friends and what she is doing in her free time. In this way, you will be able to monitor what she does in a respectful way and understand if she is in any risk; if yes, you can advise her.