Giving your kids the freedom to play with their friends on their own is definitely an important part of your children’s development. It’s extremely important to give your kids that freedom, especially as they start getting older and becoming more self-aware.
However, as their parent, it’s also your job to keep them safe. How do you balance those two needs? You can help to keep your kids safe while also giving them the freedom they need to grow by working with them and giving them the right tools.
Some of these tools are:
-Teaching them how to identify risk
-Having them know when to talk to someone in authority
-Empowering them to say “no”
-Checking on other kids’ parents
Teach Your Kids How to Identify Unsafe Situations
One of the most important things you can do is instill safety consciousness in your kids from the very start. That means helping them learn what an unsafe situation looks like. When is it okay to keep playing, and when should your child seek out an adult’s help? When children can identify unsafe situations, they’re more likely to seek help appropriately for those situations.
Kids face many different dangers from many different sources. Depending on your child’s age, you might teach them how to tell when something’s changed from friendly ribbing to bullying, how to avoid “bad touch” situations, or why underage drinking can be harmful. Determine the dangerous situations your child might run into, and then let them know how to identify those situations.
Let Your Kids Know It’s Always Okay to Talk to an Adult
Some kids worry about taking problems to an adult, scared they’ll be labeled a “snitch” or a “tattle-tale.” When parents and other adults encourage that fear, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it can be dangerous, especially when those children become adults and the stakes for dangerous situations become much higher.
Of course, you want to teach your kids how to differentiate between a situation that needs an adult and a situation they can handle on their own. However, if your kids come to you for help with something you don’t feel is “important” enough, there’s probably something else going on that you haven’t accounted for. Sit down and have a conversation about what’s going on so you can get to the bottom of it.
Give Your Kids the Tools They Need to Say No
The word “no” is an extremely powerful word, and many kids suffer in certain circumstances simply because they’re unable to say no. It may sound cliché, but by teaching your child that it’s okay to refuse someone’s requests, you’re giving your child a skill that can grow and develop into adulthood, where it’ll be just as useful.
Sometimes you might need to override that “no”; after all, your kids probably don’t want to do chores, but they’re important anyway. However, in more significant instances, you should always take a child’s “no” seriously, especially when that child is old enough to know the power of the word. Give your child’s “no” power in your home, and that power will carry outside the home as well.
Always Check on Other Kids’ Parents
If your child wants to play with a friend, you should be open to arranging playdates with everyone in public. And, at some point, it’s probably a good idea to let your child go over to friends’ houses and play over there. Before you let your child go over to someone else’s house uninvited, however, you need to make sure it’s safe to do so. And that means checking out the adults who live in that house.
PeopleFinders has the tools you need to do just that. You can perform a criminal records search on the adults in the home your child will be playing in, to see if there’s any potential reason why you should feel uneasy allowing it. With that criminal records search, you may uncover domestic violence charges, sex offenses or other records that may indicate that someone’s unsafe to be around, especially for your children.
Safety isn’t easy to ensure for everyone in your family. Kids are naturally more vulnerable than adults, and you need to make sure you’re using tools that are up for the task. With the tools at PeopleFinders, it’s easier than ever to try and maintain safety for everyone, from the youngest people in your family to the oldest.
Image attribution: Seventyfour – stock.adobe.com