- Summer Mania
Barrington H. Brennen, July 3, 2004
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.
SHOULD BE SUPERVISED
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.
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:
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
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.
suggestions and opportunities about what your teenagers can do each
day after their working hours. Do not allow vagrancy, loitering, and just wondering.
time limits for engaging in social activities and establish night
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
time should be well structured, allow a time window
each day for “free time” or “personal choices,” of course
under your parental guidance.
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.
Let your children participate in organized
summer programs in your community; for example: basketball camps,
summer camps, summer computer schools, vacation Bible schools, etc.
Plan to spend some of your daytime with
your children, no matter their ages.
- APPEAL TO
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
, or calling 242-327 1980, or at the website www.soencouragement.org