How do you prepare your to child to navigate safely and confidently in the world, ready to deal with situations and people he or she may encounter?
10 parenting tips to help make the journey a little more effective.
Accept your role as your child’s protector and teacher.
The kinds of issues our children are expected to deal with today are complex and often dangerous. Problems like violence, bullying and online predators are commonplace in their world. To protect your son or daughter’s emotional and physical well-being, you must learn about these and other tough issues and develop the skills to discuss them effectively.
Teach your child that he/she has the right to be safe.
From the time your child understands words, instill in her the core belief that no one has the right to make her feel threatened or unsafe. This right is non-negotiable and is guaranteed by the United Nations/UNICEF Children’s Protections Rights.
Prepare – don’t scare – your kids.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with your worries about your child’s safety. But research shows that if you contaminate what you are trying to teach with your fears, your child won’t remember your message, only that you were scared. Practice using moderate language and a matter-of-fact tone when you discuss sensitive issues. Focus on what your child needs to learn rather than why it upsets you. Share your fears and worries with other adults rather than your children.
Help your child say ‘no.’
Did you say no to your parents? Do your kids say no to you? Whether or not you grew up with the right to set verbal boundaries with adults in authority, children need to be empowered with the right to say no to anyone who is acting inappropriately, regardless of their position or power. This is a first step in turning “nice” kids, who are compliant in most situations, into “safe and strong” kids, who obey adults unless they feel confused or threatened.
Teach your child to recognize, trust and act on her instincts.
Help your child respond quickly and self-protectively if he or she gets an inner signal that something is not right. It might be a voice in her head that says “Uh-oh, this isn’t OK.” Or maybe it’s a feeling in the pit of his stomach. Regardless of how the warning alarm sounds, the important thing is that your child be taught to listen to it and not rationalizes a person’s behavior or wait for the situation to escalate.