My honest opinion on first reading the title, was "what a great idea! If I had the money I'd do that too!"
Then I took a step back...I'm amazed to find that I am already so worried about the teen years of my kids, that this would strike me as a good option. My children are still a long way from night clubbing, but it's something that has crossed my mind more than once. I used to think I would only have to worry about my boys getting into fights, drinking too much, "male" type behaviour. Now I'm raising my nieces too, there'll be all sorts of different worries about them.
I'm basically turning into my mum. I can remember only to well, my mum pacing the floor, or anxious phone calls if I was late home from a night out. Like all young people I thought she was paranoid, what was she so worried about? Now it seems I am struck with the same fears, long before I even have to face them.
I have found letting my children have some freedom and independence very difficult. The media doesn't help, we're bombarded with horror stories and left desperate to wrap our kids in cotton wool, to protect them from the evil in the world. Sadly, that's not possible, and I know I can't account for every eventuality. I'll have to let them face the big bad world one day.
I read about a stranger danger experiment recently. An alarming number of the young participants were charmed by the fake stranger, and agreed to leave with him. I have since explained to my kids how important it is never to talk to strangers, no matter how appealing their story may be. The link can be found here:
Articles such as that are indeed useful, we need to ensure the message has gotten through to our children. However, in my case, they increase my anxiety and fears. I now feel I want to invest in some kind of tracking device, which even as I type this, sounds wrong. My children are starting to ask for some freedom, and if I had some way to pinpoint exactly where they were, I would have more peace of mind. I know there are very discrete devices available, such as watches, belt clips etc. I definitely will be looking into the options. One site I like is TrackYour. The link can be found here:
There are other things that scare me about the teen years, and it's not only me who's thinking so far ahead. My husband and I are dreading the prospect of 4 teenage drivers at home. Hubby, an IT, gadget man has already suggested developing some kind of in-car recording device. We can sit at home and watch every red light jumped, speed limit broken, hand brake turn taken, and have appropriate lecture/punishment ready for their return.
I'm half joking about the car thing, but it is hard to get the right balance. How can we protect our children without overstepping the line, making them feel we don't trust them? I can remember from my own teenage years a very embarrassing incident due to my parents wanting to keep me safe. I had a Saturday job in a shoe shop in Debenhams. During my lunch hour, I liked to take the escalators and look at all the latest fashions. There I was, in my own little world, enjoying my well earned break. The only thing spoiling my free time, was that persistent security alarm...why was no one turning it off? Slowly, it dawned on me, the horrible screeching noise was coming from me...or rather the personal alarm I had completely forgotten was hanging around my now scarlet neck.
I really should stop worrying so much. I have a long time to go before the teenage years. When that time comes, I will simply guide them as best as I can, without trying to control their every move. I'll have plenty of other dramas to face before then I'm sure, my youngest will start school next year and I know I'll find that tough.
What are your thoughts? Do you worry excessively about your children as teens, even when that stage of their life is a long way off? Any ideas on getting the balance right between keeping kids safe and giving them independence? I'd love to read your views.