Parental Monitoring
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Prescriptions for Parents

Making Scientific Research Practical for Families

Parental Monitoring - Evidence of Benefits

A television broadcaster in the 1960s,  Tom Gregory,  was known for asking parents, "It's 10 p.m.  Do you know where your children are?"  The need for parents to monitor their children's activities is even more important in today's society - and scientific research demonstrates the numerous benefits of parental involvement, especially in the lives of their adolescents. 

Unfortunately many parents don't understand the powerful influence they can have in helping teenagers navigate their adolescent years safely.  Parents also may struggle with the conflict between how much they should be involved and how much they should allow their adolescents to demonstrate independence.

Adolescents are more likely to accept parental monitoring if they have experienced that level of involvement throughout their lives.  So, this newsletter will provide specific suggestions for all parents.

Adolescents will also appreciate parental monitoring if they feel well connected to parents who are perceived as loving and nurturing.  Click Here to download our previous newsletter on Connected Parenting. 


Parents easily understand the importance of monitoring every aspect of their babies' lives.  In order to assure the child's physical, emotional, and mental well being, parents are involved in feeding, sleeping, diapering, soothing, and teaching. Parents assume (correctly) that it is their responsibility to be so involved.
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Toddlers & Preschoolers

Parents usually need no encouragement to maintain their involvement in the lives of their toddlers and preschoolers, especially in the arenas of nutrition, sleep, and physical activity. 

Now we would like to encourage you to begin monitoring the impact of society and culture on your preschooler. 
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Elementary Age

Children of this age are incorporating parental values - whether 'taught' or 'caught'.  If you have not taken time to determine what values you want your children to learn, do it now so you can be deliberate in your teaching.  Make a very specific list that you can refer to - and have your children refer to - when making decisions.
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It turns out Tom Gregory was exactly right when he decided to ask his question of parents at 10 p.m.  The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found the later teens are out on school nights, the more likely they are to use alcohol or drugs – even if they are at a friend’s home.  50% of teens coming home after 10 p.m. say they have been with other teens who are using alcohol, marijuana or other drugs – and this is data from 2008, so incidence is most likely higher now.  CASAColumbia  August 2008  National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII:  Teens and Parents
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Scientific literature on benefits of monitoring
Two recent articles in Pediatrics add to the growing literature demonstrating how important it is for parents to be involved in every aspect of their children's lives.

One study of 12 to 14 year old girls in Sweden found that those who had early physical maturation were at much greater risk to become problem drinkers if their parents provided minimal supervision. Dickson DJ, Laursen B, et al.  "Parental Supervision and Alcohol Abuse Among Adolescent Girls" . Pediatrics 2015;  136(6): 617.

A much larger meta-analysis of parental monitoring studies between 1984 and 2014 confirmed that adolescents who experienced higher levels of parental monitoring delayed sexual intercourse and other high risk behaviors.  Dittus PJ, Michael SL, et al.  "Parental Monitoring and Its Associations with Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior:  A Meta-Analysis.  Pediatrics.  2015; 136 (6)
Copyright © 2016 National Physician's Center, All rights reserved.

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