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Supervision

Supervision is the centerpiece of effective parenting during childhood. When youth begin to spend more and more time away from home, monitoring their behavior and whereabouts is challenging. Supervision helps parents recognize developing problems, promote safety, and stay involved.

The 4 Cs of Supervision Can Help You With This Difficult Task

A father helping his daughter with homeworkPhoto by @iStock.com/Kerkez

Clear Rules – Have a few non-negotiable rules about your child’s behavior and state them clearly! For example:

  • "Give me a phone number for any place you will be."
  • "I need 24-hour notice for spending the night or going to a party, dance, or other special event." (This gives you time to check out the event.)
  • "No friends at the house when I am not at home."

Communication – Regular communication with other parents and teachers:

  • Keeps you involved in your child’s activities.
  • Creates resources to deal with problems and builds a strong safety network for your child.
  • Informs you of dangerous places or people.

Checking Up – This lets your child know that you care about his or her safety and that your rules are important. This is hard for some of us because we want to trust our children and they may resist our efforts.

  • When your child gives you the phone number of a friend, call it and talk to the parent.
  • Meet all the parents of your child’s friends to make sure new situations are safe and supervised.
  • Find out about the parties and special events your child wants to attend to make sure that responsible adults will be supervising.

Extra Tips

  • Stay involved.
  • Spend time listening to your child.
  • Know who your child’s friends are and watch your child interact with them and others.
  • Talk to the parent(s) of your child’s friends.

Consistency – Supervision is most effective when parents set clear limits and follow through with consequences for misbehavior. Also, be consistent with giving praise and incentives when a rule is followed.

How Do You Supervise When You Are Not At Home? 

  • Know your child’s schedule.
  • Call your child at varying times.
  • Have your child check in with you or other caregivers when he or she reaches home.
  • Have your child check in when he or she reaches his or her destination.
  • Surprise your child with a random visit or call.
  • Remain in communication with adults who interact with your child.

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This page was last updated October 2019