All parents want to keep their kids safe at all times. As babies become toddlers and teenagers, protecting them becomes increasingly problematic. The older they get — the more independence they require. Here are four tips to help you keep your kids safe without undermining trust.
1. Get a Numbers Tracker
Calls from unidentified numbers are not just annoying — they are potentially dangerous. Some apps and websites will detect the location and details of the caller. There is software for any Android and iOS device. The best mobile number tracker will provide a wealth of data. You can trace cell and landline numbers, as well as vehicle licence plates.
2. Playdate Precautions
Get acquainted with other parents in your neighbourhood. If your kid is invited to playdates, make sure you know their friend’s family. What goes on in their house? How are the kids treated? Are they left to their own devices, so they can go out or browse the internet without supervision?
Make sure there aren’t any guns in the house (if there are, they must be secured). Explain to your kid that they must leave in case of any dubious behaviour. What if their friend suggests watching porn or drinking something suspicious? What if an adult touches them inappropriately?
Social pressure is a powerful force. This is another subject worth discussing. Your child must know they can give a fake excuse like “Oops, I just remembered I have a dentist appointment!” if they suspect danger.
3. Anti-Bullying Tools
Vulnerable kids are targeted by bullies. The best way to keep them at bay is by nurturing your child’s self-esteem. Strong relationships with friends and relatives will protect them from toxic peers.
Bullying often starts with a single mean remark. If the target is visibly upset, the bully won’t stop. Teach your kid some ways to stand up to bullies with dignity. They must understand there is nothing shameful in walking away or asking an adult for help. It is okay to feel hurt or frightened, but they should act in a way that prevents escalation.
4. Car Safety
Traffic accidents cause most teen deaths. It is never too early to teach kids about car and traffic safety. Mention news stories about accidents at the dinner table. Remember that you are their role model, so never text while driving — leave your phone in the back seat. Instil the habit of buckling up.
Talk and Listen
Parents should not only instruct kids on safety issues. They must be active listeners. Initiate conversations that make your child reflect and develop good judgement. Remember that they also need to feel heard.
When they want to share anything, listen carefully. Never openly dismiss your kids’ concerns as immaturity. Find out about their worries and fears. Make sure your communication is not a one-way street.