Parenting Resources

Monitoring for 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.

Dolores Curran surveyed 551 family therapists and psychologists to learn what traits were demonstrated by families who were deemed to be "healthy".   Some of the traits she listed in her book, Traits of a Healthy Family,  were:

  • respecting others
  • fostering responsibility
  • encouraging family meals and conversation
  • sharing a religious core
  • developing a sense of trust
  • valuing service to others
  • sharing leisure time and having a sense of play and humor

These traits may help you as you develop your own list of values you want to instill in your children.  Now you will know how to balance monitoring and independence.  If an activity is helping to instill a value you support, you can allow a little more independence in that area.   For example, if you want your child to learn how to serve others, you may allow her to stay out a little later if she is volunteering with her scout troop - and a trusted leader.

Continue to monitor all activities, books, television programs, friends, extracurricular activities, sports, and hobbies - and now that  your child is older, you can specifically acknowledge to your children that you are watching over every aspect of their lives to assure they grow healthy.  That is the role of a parent!

Have conversations about all your child's activities.  For instance, feel free to say, "Please bring me the book you are reading in English class.  What is the book trying to teach you?  Does it agree with our family values?"  "If not, how could the author have changed the story to support truthfulness?"

Make your home "the place" other children want to come.  It is much easier to monitor activities when they happen in your home.

If possible, volunteer to drive your children to their activities.  You will learn so much by listening to their conversations.