Child Development Stages - Why is My Son in His Room All the Time?

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This question was asked at a seminar on child development stages I attended. Who cares? At least he's not bothering me while I'm trying to do something important, like watch TV. But seriously, too many parents think that the way to keep kids good and off drugs is to follow them around, smothering, watching, and carting them off to structured activities in order to keep them out of trouble. If you think your pre-teen is in his room to get away from you, you're probably right.

But don't take it personally. Between the ages of twelve and fifteen your child will most likely want to spend some time alone when he is at home. Parenting an adolescent is hard, one of the hardest jobs you will ever have. If you understand a little bit about adolescent development, you can ease your mind a little. If you want to worry, worry when they are between the ages of sixteen and nineteen and have their drivers license, it will make wondering why they don't come out of their room look like a walk in the park.

It makes me laugh to read articles where the parents are upset because they told junior not to leave the house if they weren't home, (this guy is fourteen) only to find that he walked a couple of blocks away to visit a friend while they were out. Unless his friend sells illegal substances, I wouldn't worry about it too much, maybe you should think about setting realistic boundaries. I'm not questioning that preteens need supervision, they do. Some developmental stages more than others, but part of raising a teenager is to give them a little room to show that they can be trusted. If they screw up, of course the two of you need to sit down and reevaluate the curfew, or take a way something, or whatever it is that you as parents use as leverage. I agree that it is ultimately your responsibility as parents to set boundaries (notice I don't use the word "rules") and enforce them, but you are the parent, not the warden.

Certainly you should be home if your child has friends over, that's just being realistic, and the alternative is that you look like a neglectful parent to the other parents. It's important to know where your kids are and what they are doing, but yes, they will test boundaries-that's what preteens do. Allow for the natural child developmental stages of their age and you will probably have more luck with trust in the future.