As a parent, one of my main concerns is my child's safety. Part of my job is to be the "safety patrol" and teach them how to catch on to what is safe and what is risky behavior. As school is ending and summer break gets into full gear, we thought it would be good to remind you of helpful tips to protect your kids, whether it is in the yard, at the park, or on the computer.
- Be Open- When you are open with your kids about what the world is really like, it helps them not live with a naive mindset. I'm not saying to instill fear in them, so a balance of how much you tell them is important based on their age. But if you know from the news that there is a warning of a man in a red car driving around lately trying to get kids to come in his car, tell them to be on the look out for a red car and review stranger danger tips (Joleen will cover more on these later in the week). Kids need to not live in a sheltered bubble, otherwise, they won't be prepared if danger strikes.
- Teach kids that a "bad guy" might not look like a bad guy. Most bad guys or gals don't have a specific look to them. Stereotypes are all wrong when it comes down to perpetrators. Statistics say that 95% of perpetrators are people that victims love, know, and trust already. They might not even be adults either. Many times they are teenagers and same-aged kids. Make sure you teach your child about how to build trust people and what type of people are safe for them. Also help them understand that it is ok to say "no" to any one who asks them to do anything or go anywhere that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Keep reading all week for more specific tips to protect your kids! The world can be a hurtful place. Let's do our best to proactively protect our kids!
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.