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Let the Power of Discovery Begin at Home

Black Family

(Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

Before you go out exploring phenomena outside of your home, discover the new things you can learn about those inside of your home.  How often do you ask questions to those in your immediate family?  How well do you really know your family members?  Too often we assume we know a tremendous amount about our immediate family members, but there can be so many things we don’t know about them.  Many people can be so busy trying to find out what’s going on in other people’s homes that they’re missing the greatest attractions developing inside of their own homes.

Parents, how well do you know your children’s friends?  For parents with older children who are in relationships, how well do you know the individuals they’re in relationships with?  Do you know why your children decided to be in relationships with these individuals?  How did they first meet and what attracted them?  Are your children too secretive about their relationships?  Why?  Do you have children you find it strange that they are even in intimate relationships?  Have you asked questions that will provide you with more information to make it less strange?  These aforementioned queries are just some you can posed to members of your immediate family to discover some potentially novel things.

One of the best ways to build and maintain strong families is to place a strong value on communication in your home.  Your home should be a place where frank and open communication are truly valued.  The members of your immediate family should feel comfortable to talking to one another about virtually anything.  One thing I’m very proud of about my immediate family is the members of the family feel comfortable talking to one another about anything.  We can share things with one another without feeling like any member is going to bring condemnation for what’s disclosed.  My immediate family is loving and supportive, and it has been the welcoming and embracing of frank and unrestricted communication that has been essential to the love in my family.

If you talk more to your immediate family members, you may learn ways you can be useful in helping them to overcome physical, social, emotional and/or spiritual challenges and problems.  Before sending a family member to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, determine if this is even necessary.  Those situated inside the home can serve as the only psychologist or psychiatrist the person needs.  We often miss opportunities to be helpful to those who live in our own homes because we allow ourselves to become too busy to look for the potential needs of our family members.

Use this piece as a conversation-starter with the members of your immediate family.  Let this piece become a way for you to ask questions of the members of your immediate family that you’ve always wanted to know or failed to ask.  You may discover some things about your immediate family members you needed to know before they died.  Don’t make your family members think you’ve turned into a private investigator (unless you truly are one).  Just let them know you want to grow closer as a family through the power of discourse and inquiry.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Teenagers Need Curfews

Teenagers

If you want your teenagers to stay out of trouble, you must establish a curfew for them.  Teenagers will make many unwise choices when you let them choose when they are to return home.  When you give your children a curfew, it communicates to them you have quality standards you expect them to meet.  Too many parents allow their children to determine when they’re going to come home from a friend’s house.  How much sense does that make?  As a parent, it’s your job to resolve a curfew for your children—it’s not your children’s job.  Be clear about the time you expect your children to return home.

While it’s important to give your children some freedom, you shouldn’t grant them the liberty to decide their curfew.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with hearing how children feel about a curfew.  Parents must, however, be the ones who ultimately create the curfew.

When you set a curfew for your children, this is a great opportunity for you to engender some guidelines for your children to follow when they’re not going to be at home.  Don’t just give your children a specific time they must come home without telling them other essential things they must do before, during, and after they leave home.  Make sure you know where your children are going when they leave home and who they are going to visit.  If possible, drive your children to their destination to enable you to survey the milieu in which they will be meeting their friends.  Warn them against inappropriate behavior and inform them about the consequences of inappropriate behavior.

You need to learn more about your children’s friends.  Meet with their parents to find out what type of people they are and discover their values.  You don’t want your children hanging out with the wrong type of people who may have imprudent values.

Too many children are dying because they lack structure and discipline.  Many parents across the nation have to do a better job of parenting.  It’s the hope of this piece to offer some suggestions for improving parenting.  We need to keep our children safe and establishing a curfew for them is a vital part of good parenting.

Do you feel it’s necessary to give teenagers curfews?  Why or why not?  What are some other things parents need to do to keep their children safe?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison