Every generation seems to talk about the current generation of teens in a somewhat negative way. In reality, all teens are and have been more similar to one another in many ways than different. Still, when you’re the mom of a teen it can seem like your teen years were so far away and that things are so different now that you can’t relate to the kids you’re raising.

While it may seem this way, there are similarities of course, but there are also differences. For example, teens today are unique because of their interaction with mobile devices and social media.

So, as the mom of a teen currently, or a tween who is rapidly approaching those often dreaded teen years, what should you know? The following are some general tips for moms of teens in today’s environment.

Driver Safety

One of the biggest safety concerns you likely have for your teens is driver’s safety. When it’s time for your teen to participate in driver’s education and begin taking the steps to get their license, it can be extremely scary.

You, as a parent, do have the potential to significantly change how prepared they are to be on the road, however. Take the time to practice driving with your teen as much as possible. Work to be a driving coach, and ask them questions rather than only telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

Regardless of the laws in your state, also think about creating your family’s own driving contract when your teen does get his or her license.

Get to Know the Parents

One of the biggest ways teens can sneak around and do things you wouldn’t approve of, to say the least, is to keep you from communicating with other parents. When you know the parents of their friends, it’s much easier to know what’s really going on and where your teen is at any given time.

Take the time to get to know the parents of your teen’s closest friends and get their contact information.

When you’re all communicating with one another, it’s much easier to keep tabs on everyone in the group.

For example, if your teen says they’re going to be sleeping at a friend’s house, if you can quickly check in with the parents and confirm that, it’s going to be a better all-around situation.

Tackling Social Media and Apps

The biggest difference between teens today and teens of your generation is the availability of social media and all the many apps. This can prove to be the biggest challenge to deal with for many parents.

You can’t control everything your teen does, but you shouldn’t go too long without checking in with your teen regarding what’s happening on social media and how they’re using their mobile devices. It’s not realistic to think your teen is never going to use social media or mobile apps, but it also shouldn’t be something that you know nothing about in terms of their activity.

A few rules you might consider include not allowing teens to have their devices in their bedroom, and to set time limits for how much devices can be used in a day or a week. You should also follow your teen on their social media profiles.

Some parents have gone as far as creating social media contracts with their teen much like driving contracts and depending on your family, this could be something you find is helpful.

Prioritize Rules But Be Flexible

When you’re parenting a teen, you have to have rules. That’s essential, but not everything needs to be a steadfast rule. Teens are learning as they go, just like people of all ages. You need to make some rules more of a priority than others.

You can also make exceptions when you feel it’s right. You have to be flexible with your teen in some ways, but in others, there is likely no room for flexibility.

Finally, your teen is watching you a lot more than you might think. They’re looking at your behavior, your actions and how you carry yourself. Remember this, and keep your own behavior and choices in check if you want your teen to follow suit. For example, if you’re asking your teen to limit their time on their mobile device, but you’re on yours constantly, it’s tough for your teen to understand why you aren’t following your own rule. A lot of times as our kids get older, we forget that they’re still very much watching us and looking to us as an example.