Now is a good time to set boundaries with your kids

Parents struggle with questions like: Should we give our pre-teen a smart phone, or not? Should we allow a Facebook account? A blog?

It’s that time of year again… when we’re setting the tone for the year ahead.

Will it be, here we go again, what a grind? Will it be anxious and fearful? Or will it be positive and optimistic?

As children and teens head back to school, I’ve heard comments like, “I can’t wait to start school,” “I’m excited about all I’m going to learn this year,” and “I’m really looking forward to band because this year I get to play percussion.”

Children and teens naturally look forward to new learning, new possibilities, re-connecting with friends and making new friends.  Our job as parents is to encourage and support them.

The main questions I’m hearing from parents are about how to do that, in a world of social media. Parents struggle with questions like: Should we give our pre-teen a smart phone, or not? Should we allow a Facebook account? A blog? A twitter account?

How much computer time? How can we keep our children safe in a world of social media, amidst the horror stories about online bullying, peer exploitation, and the like?

This is the time of year to set some boundaries and guidelines about social media, how much time is allowed, and how it fits with other values such as homework, household chores, and family time.

Many parents are uncertain about how to protect their child on social media, and of the dangers. Make an effort to learn. Social media is here to stay. It provides great opportunity for inter-connections, and also great opportunity for exploitation.

Parents need all the help we can give them to support kids.

One of the best resources I’ve found is The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, which provides extensive online help for parents, schools, and for children and teens about how to keep safe, at www.protectchildren.ca.

You can access and download free information on everything from internet safety, to identifying luring behavior and registering complaints about improper websites and luring, and specific protective things parents can do.

There are sheets to help parents make decisions about their child’s personal safety and healthy development. Teens and parents alike will appreciate www.needhelpnow.ca, which has information on how to keep safe on social media, sexting, and peer exploitation online.

Listening for, and encouraging, our child’s and teen’s passions, is one thing we can do especially this time of year.

We have the opportunity to join with them in their enthusiasm for learning, while keeping them safe and, of course, teaching them the discipline that they’ll need to be successful as well.

This is a good time of year to re-focus on all our relationships, to be proactive in creating the kind of relationship, and the kind of family, we want.

What will we do together this fall to celebrate and appreciate each other? What can I do or say today, to make sure that each member of my family knows he or she is loved?

Frances Ferguson, MEd, is a registered clinical counsellor in private practice in Courtenay and Campbell River. She sees men and women, and works extensively with couples. She can be reached at 778-418-1818, or check her website at www.francesferguson.com.

Just Posted

Some Cumberland businesses closing for climate strike rally Friday

A Climate Strike Cumberland Solidarity Rally is set for outside the Cumberland municipal office

Comox contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

Comox hires former Nanaimo city manager as interim CAO

The position will be for an estimated six months

Cumberland doing more geotech work on dam

Allen Lake assessment shows small area of ‘unsuitable’ material needing more study

Cumberland joins other communities in plastic ban response

Village collaborates with Squamish, Tofino following court’s quash of single-use regulation

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read