It’s that time of year when school is starting up again. Shopping for new clothes and school supplies is the fun part for us as parents and grandparents. The kids like it too ! The more serious parts are the conversations we have to have with them about the dangers of the world we live in. No one is excluded from the need to know how to be aware of your surroundings. Why it is a good idea to know where the closest exit is when you enter any building. Why it is a good idea to stay in a group instead of walking alone. There is danger out there and bad things do happen to good people. No one ever thinks anything bad will happen to them until it does. My intention here is not to scare anyone but for everyone to be prepared by talking to your children young and old. Talk to your neighbors, your friends, your family, and your children’s teachers. Let’s all be on the same page when it comes to the safety of our children.
1. We teach them when they are young about how to look both ways before crossing the street.
2. We talk to them about ‘stranger danger’ and how to run away when a stranger asks them for help to find their lost puppy or asks them if they want to go for a ride in their brand new car.
3. We talk to them about being aware of what their private parts are and that no one is allowed to touch them in those areas for any reason.
4. We talk to them about drugs and how to say no and walk away from any situation that puts them in contact with others who are using drugs or asking them to participate. We give them examples of what to say that will give them a good reason to reply with confidence and leave.
5. We talk to them about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. We talk about what kind of relationship they want to have. We talk about sex education and what it is. We talk about domestic violence and what it is. We talk about what it means to be best friends and how important it is in a relationship.
6. We talk to them about remembering all the things we have taught them and to call us anytime day or night when we send them off to college.
7. With the history of school shootings and the issues of mental health vs gun control debates. We make the world what it is, we create change. We find solutions. This is not a touchy subject because there is a lack of those who are mentally ill being unable to realize that they are in need of help. It is a real subject. This is not a anti- gun control subject. There’s a term called ‘suicide by cop’ a mentally ill person will create a situation forcing a police officer to shoot to kill because they believe it is their solution to their bad situation. It’s a real subject.
Our children need our guidance and it is up to us to give them good examples of what to say and even role play out a situation to show them how to respond. For example, if you just say don’t get in the car with a stranger they will understand you but they won’t know what to do or say if it should happen. It will be unexpected and the person asking will be friendly. Children are kind and loving , of course they will want to help find the lost puppy . Especially if they have a cute puppy picture to show them. Unless you have prepared them to scream as loud as they can and run away as fast as they can as soon as they hear the words ‘help me’ because coming from a stranger means they are in danger. Run to the closest place it could be home, a grocery store, a restaurant, a public library etc. Tell them to ask to use the phone to call you to come and get them. Know their route home and talk about where a safe place to run to is ahead of time.
Children are trusting. They have to be taught that no one is allowed to touch their private parts. They need examples of what to say and how to leave immediately and a phone number to call for a ride home.
Preteens and teenagers will have best friends and want to make new friends, it is a given scenario. Having a plan for unknowingly walking into a bad situation can be a good thing ! When they call home for a ride they can use a code word or sing lyrics to certain song meaning, I don’t feel comfortable here without having to say it outloud. Providing them an easy way to get out of a bad situation.
As parents we watch our children grow and develop. We help them every step of the way to learn new things and become more and more independent. Teaching them to learn what to say and what to do in these situations is just one more way to help them grow and develop the life skills they need to become independent adults.
Subjects one thru four, are subject we have been teaching our children about for decades because there is danger in the world we live in. Subject number five has expanded to include not just married couples having this issue but teenagers in junior high, high school and college age students, too. Subject number six is like teaching your teenager to drive and then giving them the keys to their own car. You know you’ve taught them all the safety rules but it’s still hard to let them drive away.
Number seven is a growing danger. All I have is a message to everyone who has children in school. My message is this. Before you enter an airplane or a courthouse you have to go thru a METAL DETECTOR. It does not TAKE A LAW to install one of these devices in the entrance of a school. It could be as simple as having a FUNDRAISER and a team of dedicated parents and teacher to implement the plan. This type of fundraising has been performed to create playgrounds, garden areas and even football stadium. I offer this solution to teachers and parents to protect students of all ages. Please share to create conversations and action on this growing safety concern and the other dangers we face and what we can do to protect our children.