Hands on or hands off parent? Does it matter?
Protecting your child from harm is the most important duty you will face during the teenage years. Research from Columbia University reveals that parents who exert their parental authority by taking a “hands-on approach to raising their children not only have a better relationship with their children, but also reduce their child’s risk of harming themselves with drugs and alcohol.
The following twelve parental characteristics are associated with decreased risk for substance abuse among teens:
- Parents who expect to be told where their teenager is going in the evenings and on the weekends
- Parents who make it clear that they would be very upset if their teen tried marijuana
- Parents who always know where their child is after school, evenings, and weekends
- Parents who monitor what the teen is watching on TV
- Parents who restrict the kind of music their teen can purchase
- Parents who are very aware of how their teenager is doing in school
- Parents who monitor internet usage
- Families who have dinner together 6-7 times per week
- Teenagers who have a weekend curfew
- Adults who are home when a teenager returns from school
- Teens who are responsible for regular chores
- Families whose TV is not on during dinner
Hands on Parents are those who consistently achieve at least 10 of the 12 actions described above. Unfortunately, only about one quarter of teens live with “hands-on” parents.
“Hands-off parents consistently fail to set rules and monitor their teen’s behavior. Of the 12 actions described above, these type of parents routinely achieve five or less. Consequently, their children are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. In truth, teenagers need their parents to establish rules and expectations. It’s one of the ways they feel loved and protected. In sharp contrast to contemporary thinking about child-rearing, children with hands on parents seldom rebel or pull away. On the contrary, the research confirms that “hands-on” parents are much more likely to have an excellent relationship with their teens than permissive parents.
It’s never too late to become a “Hands on Parent.
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