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Parenting 2014: Tweens, teens & technology

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Parents of millennium kids are faced with challenges that their parents probably never even dreamed about. What is perhaps even more perplexing however, is that the underlying issues faced by today's parents have changed little from generation to generation. Parents continue to stress about school performance and completed homework. Parents want to know what their kids are up to, who they are hanging out with and where. In reality, it is the tools or vehicles parents use to garner this information that has changed and in most cases improved the capabilities parent possess to achieve these goals.

Technological advances have improved a parent's ability to get the information needed to ensure that a child is safe, well sort of.... We all know every coin has a flip side. When it comes to technology, kids today are offered ways to connect with a much greater pool of individuals in real time. Technology offers it's users a level of self-sufficiency and empowerment not previously possessed by past generations, to a parent the access can be quite scary at times. Even the word 'friend' has taken on a new connotation. Although in reality parents are still asking the same questions: 'who is this person,' 'how do you know him,' 'have I ever met her?'

Parents are afforded an opportunity to monitor their kids in more accurate and sophisticated ways. It is important for even the technologically savvy parent to understand that in an effort to gain ground on their parents, tweens and teens have devised ways to avoid their parent's detection and/or operate under the radar. This behavior is not much different than the generation of young people that came before them. After all, that tweens and teens believe they know better is nothing new. Put succinctly, defiance is indeed developmental.

Parenting in 2014 in many ways is all about technology. It is about parents using the advances around to stay one step ahead of their children. This is done through consistent monitoring. And yes, this can indeed be an exasperating and exhausting task, such is the job we all signed on for when we chose to become parents. Parenting in 2014 should however, also be about collaboration. When you work with your children they really begin to get that you are truly not against them, listening carefully completes this. Parents should look for opportunities to let their kids help them. If you don’t understand how to get into the latest social media site, ask your tween or teen to teach you. You will not only afford him a chance to feel empowered, but you will learn important information you need to ensure effective monitoring.

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