In news that will come as little surprise to most parents who were once teenagers themselves, obsessively monitoring your teenagers every move seems to cause them to engage in riskier activities than their free-range peers do. Who knew that treating teens like people rather than chattel encourage them to act like people?
According to a Boston College study, “warm, more democratic” relationships where parents don’t try to undermine a teen’s behavior lead to teens who are better able to make healthy decisions. Rigid and/or strict parents had teens who were more likely to hang out with a bad crowd.
Which isn’t to say it’s easy to let your older kids make their own choices guided by little but your support. Still, it seems to be the option that works best, according to the experts.