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Summer Mania
By Barrington H. Brennen, July 3, 2004

 

School is closed for the summer break.  Summer comes with a kaleidoscope of energy, excitement, adventurous spirit, madness, frivolity, laughter, tears, and foolishness.  Standing at the helm of the summer mania are parents.  The unfortunate truth is that many parents provide very little supervision for their growing children during the summer months.   For many, it will be twelve weeks covering eighty-four days and 2016 hours of free time.  

WHO SHOULD BE SUPERVISED
What should parents do?   Do they really need to supervise all of their children? What about the teenagers, especially those who will be entering their senior year in September?  Should they  be supervised also?    Listen parents! As long as there are dependents in your home--infants, toddlers, or teenagers--there should always be supervision.  Even adults require a level of supervision during their working hours.  Parents are to provide twenty-four hour-, seven-day-a-week supervision for all of their children.  Teenagers, in particular, require a special kind of supervision because of their impulsive, adventurous, dare-devil spirit. 
 
HOW TO SUPERVISE
Many teenagers feel that they need no supervision.  All teenagers, no matter how responsible they are, need some level of supervision.  The level of supervision depends on how disciplined they are.  Generally, teenagers need  “oversight” rather than “direct sight.” For teens, monitoring involves a parent's supervision and awareness of their behavior and whereabouts. This includes knowing the whereabouts of the teen during the day and night, and with whom they are spending time.  For toddlers, monitoring involves a constant “direct sight,” guidance, and lots of activities.  Here are a few guidelines for summer supervision:
  1. Plan.  At the beginning of the summer vacation (it’s not too late to do this now), parents should sit down and plan with all of their children.   Ask these questions:  Who will be going to summer jobs? Who will stay home? Who will go to a relative?  Discuss safety issues related to fire, strangers, and  sexual molestation and provide guidelines for dealing with emergencies.

  2. Leave no time period uncovered.  If the teenagers are going to work, discuss when they will be leaving home each morning and when they will return. Do not hesitate to call on the job to find out how they are doing  Do this about two to three times during the summer break.  At the beginning, the middle, and the end of the work experience. 

  3. Provide suggestions and opportunities about what your teenagers can do each day after their working hours.  Do not allow vagrancy, loitering, and just wondering. 

  4. Set time limits for engaging in social activities and establish night curfews. 

  5. If teenagers are not working, discussing what will happen during the very long hours of  “home alone” is greatly important.  Create a schedule of home chores that could include painting, yard work, house cleaning, etc.  Better yet, purchase crafts and other artwork they can create with their hands.   Call at home just to see how everything is going with your “home-alone children.” 

  6. Although teenagers' time should be well structured, allow a time window  each day for “free time” or “personal choices,” of course under your parental guidance.

  7. Do not allow your children to spend all of the 2016 summers hours watching television or playing video games. Set time limits for daily television viewing.  It is best not to allow any of your children to sit longer than three hours in front of the television.  It is not healthy for the mind and the body.  It creates laziness and mental lethargy.

  8. Let your children participate in organized summer programs in your community; for example: basketball camps, summer camps, summer computer schools, vacation Bible schools, etc.

  9. Plan to spend some of your daytime with your children, no matter their ages.

APPEAL TO PARENTS
Set a good example for your children.  Avoid “hanging out” with friends.  Your children need you.  Parents take control of your home.  Remember you are the parents, not the children.  Do not leave any time uncovered and unsupervised.   Above all, make sure they are safe every hour of the day. 
 
 
Barrington Brennen is a marriage & family therapist.  He can be reached at barringtonbrennen@gmail.com , or calling 242-327 1980, or at the website www.soencouragement.org  

 

 

 

 

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Permission is granted place links to these articles on social media like Google+, FaceBook, etc..    Permission is also granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your  personal use, friends,  seminar, or meeting handout.  You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary.    Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form.   Articles written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist, Marriage & Family Therapist.  P.O. Box CB-13019,  Nassau, The Bahamas.   
 
 question@soencouragement.org or barringtonbrennen@gmail.com  Phone contact is 242-327 1980.   
 
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