Night Out Nerves: A Guide For Parents Of Teenagers
As children age, most parents become accustomed to dealing with the panic they feel over their children’s safety and well-being – but the fear never really goes away. After all, it’s part of the natural parental instinct; while it may ease as your child grows, the desire to ensure they are well and protected will always linger.
By the time your child has reached their teenage years, the fears you feel over their safety will likely have changed dramatically. By teenagehood, your child has proven that they can be trusted; knows right from wrong; and is able to take care of themselves to a greater extent. However, many parents find that the teenage years are actually incredibly stressful, especially when their teenager announces that they’re going for a “night out” with friends.
Why is the idea of your teenager having a night out so worrying?
You, like many parents, may find that the idea of your child socializing outside of the house is particularly concerning – even if your child regularly spends time away from the house during the day. There’s something about night-time that tends to conjure a parents’ worst fears; night is when bad things happen under the cloak of darkness, so parents find themselves worrying about terrible accidents, needing to find a bail bonds company in case their child gets into trouble, or a lack of communication resulting in a sleepless night. No matter how much you trust your child to socialize without you during the day, night is an entirely different proposition.
The reason that these fears are tough to quell at night is, according to research, a result of the evolutionary process. In some ways, that’s good news – for example, there’s no need to feel embarrassed if you’re struggling with night out nerves, as you are essentially programmed to feel more nervous at night – but, unfortunately, an understanding of why night out nerves happen is only half the battle: you now need to learn how to manage the issue effectively.
Tips for managing night out nerves
Unfortunately, while it is understandable and entirely normal to feel more concerned when your teenager enjoys a night out, you’ll likely still want to do all you can to ease your worries. Spending every night hovering by the phone or browsing local news reports is extremely unpleasant; a very parental impulse, but one that is disruptive and distressing.
For many parents, the answer is found in modern technology. You could, for example, install a tracking app on your teenager’s phone with their permission. You could also ask your teenager to send a message every few hours, even if it’s just an emoji, so you know all is well.
You may also find it beneficial to ensure your teenager is equipped with a few essentials; a back-up phone charger is a great choice, and knowing that they have spare cash – ideally stored separate from their wallet – can also be reassuring.
Finally, try to avoid watching the clock and worrying about when your teenager will be home. Instead, distract yourself with a favorite hobby, call an old friend for a catch up, or even try exercising some of your nerves away. Sitting waiting for the entire evening will likely just feed the anxiety you’re experiencing, so it’s always preferable to try and focus your mind on other tasks wherever possible.
Hopefully, the above will help you to temper any night out nerves you experience in future.