My Daughter’s Social Life: What Is a Healthy Level of Oversight for a Parent to Exhibit?
As many of you are parents and caretakers, you understand the fine line one has to walk when it comes to getting involved in a child’s life. If you become too overbearing, you run the risk of pushing your child away. This may cause them to become more secretive. By choosing sparse involvement, however, you run the risk of missing warning signs of potentially risky behaviors. The key to appropriate oversight appears to be finding a middle ground.

The truth is that maintaining an open dialogue with your child is one of the best ways to maintain your parental oversight. The difference is that instead of using deceptive tactics, you are getting your information openly and transparently. However, it is also important to understand that keeping an open dialogue is not always possible. The truth is that sometimes things happen that are out of your parental control. Issues of mental health and outside negative influences are at times unavoidable realities. This is when it is time to take more active involvement.

At Clearview Girls Academy, many of us are parents and caretakers ourselves. We understand the conflict over how much involvement to have in our children’s lives. The honest answer is that there is no definitive answer. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t tools and techniques that we can employ to better help us with our parental oversight. There are also treatment options you can utilize when that oversight uncovers potentially serious situations.

Creating Boundaries for Your Parental Oversight

According to a research paper published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, experts have long considered there to be three types of parenting (though it is now recognized that there are others). These types are the authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles. Within these types, we can better understand the balance of oversight that may best work for our daughters.

The journal cites psychologist Dr. Diana Baumrind as having created the three-type parenting model. Dr. Baumrind suggests that “authoritarian parents try to shape, control, and evaluate their children’s behavior based on the absolute set of standards; whereas permissive parents are warmer and more autonomy granting than controlling.” However, she claims that some people adopt “an authoritative parenting style to fall between those two extremes.” The argument here is that the most balanced form of parental oversight falls under the authoritative category.

This makes perfect sense. It is important of course to be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding as a parent. However, we feel it is imperative that as parents you understand your authority when it comes to your child’s safety.

Understanding Your Parental Authority

Let’s be honest, there is a reason why recovery centers like ours exist. There is a very real social, chemical, and psychological threat that exists within the female adolescent community. We certainly don’t want to be alarmist, but if we here at Clearview Girls Academy didn’t believe in the need for recovery intervention for young women in need, we wouldn’t do what we do.

However, we do what we do out of our conviction that it’s important to help young women succeed and overcome all of the internal and external situations that life may throw at them. We understand that you have that conviction too. This is why we want you to know that you have every right to intervene in your daughter’s life when a dangerous situation presents itself.

Utilizing Oversight for Parental Intervention

In today’s unchecked social media environment, there is a lot of unsolicited parenting advice that quite frankly does not have any backing from professionals. Many of these people giving advice focus on the gentler type of parenting. It almost seems to be a “let’s be friends” type of parenting.

Of course, we love our kids, and yes, one day, having gone through some of the same life experiences, our kids may feel more like friends. However, we believe that the parent-child dynamic should focus more on protection and involved oversight than “equal-footing” friendship.

Part of this involved oversight means intervening when you see something like underage drinking, substance use, risky sexual behavior, or signs of mental illness. That intervention may mean reaching out to someone like us here at Clearview Girls Academy.

Taking the Step From Oversight to Treatment

It is important to remember that though you are their parents, you still do not have control over everything that may happen in your daughter’s life. Sometimes issues of mental health arise that are genetic or biological. Sometimes outside influences invade our children’s lives and we don’t catch it until it has cemented itself as a serious problem. This is sometimes the reality of being a parent.

Just remember that getting your child the outside help they need does not indicate a failing on your part. In fact, it is a courageous move that you should feel proud of. The truth is that parenting is hard. Parental oversight is hard.

However, just because parenting is hard doesn’t mean you should feel “hardened” by deciding to get your daughter the help she needs, as soon as she needs it. You have to make the hard choices for your child because you know eventually it will result in an easier, gentler way of life.

Finding a balance between parental oversight and tolerance for personal expression can be tricky. However, doing so can be critical for ensuring that your daughter stays on the right path for a healthy future. This is especially important if there are concerns that a teenager’s behavior may be detrimental to them or others. Understanding when to intervene and when to let typical teenage behaviors run their course is a skill that is learned rather than inherent. However, it is a skill that can be developed with the right tools and information. If you feel that your daughter’s behavior is problematic, don’t wait to reach out for help. Please call Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484 for more information.