When your children are younger, you know their friends and even their friends’ parents, who are likely your friends as well. You have met through Boy Scouts, band, sports or other extra-curricular activities, sometimes connecting for hours while your children spent time at events. Perhaps you even carpooled or socialized outside of your child’s chosen activity, enjoying social events at each other’s homes. However, as your child grows, connecting with other parents might not seem as important. But working with other parents can help you lighten your load as your child matures.
Ways to Meet Other Parents
Once your children grow older, you might struggle to connect with other parents. The following tips can help:
- Introduce yourself at school events or ask your son to introduce you to his friends and their parents.
- Take an extra minute or two to go to the door when you drop your teen off at a friend’s house.
- When your son is invited to an event, call and ask if you can bring food.
No matter your child’s age, take the time to build relationships with the parents of your son’s friends. Invite them over or suggest meeting at a local coffee shop to chat. Schedule a small get together or an activity, such as bowling or miniature golf, that both parents and teens will enjoy. You can talk about shared goals and values, expectations and future plans.
By understanding the values of other parents, you will find out if you are on the same page. This will give you the confidence to speak into their child’s life — and they will feel the same freedom to address possible issues with your child. For example, if your son’s grades start slipping, you might enlist the resources of another trusted adult who can encourage your child in a unique way. While your teen might resist your correction, he might be more accepting when receiving input from the parent of a friend. http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/social/what-can-parents-do/
Tackling Underage Drinking
Casually bring up the subject of teen drinking at a get together as a general concern. You might also mention a related news story and ask the other parent’s opinion on the topic. You can ask how the other person addresses alcohol discussions with their young person. Possibly discuss their rules regarding alcohol. If your son is invited to a sleepover, call to make sure that parents will be present and that the children will not have access to alcohol. You can make statements similar to the following:
- “Can I call you sometimes to touch base about what the kids are up to? Please feel free to call me as well.”
- “Should your teen text or call you while he or she is at my house?”
- “If my son is ever drinking or involved in any other concerning behavior, please call me. Let me know if you would like us to this for you.”