Keeping our kids safe is always a big job for parents. Luckily, there is a lot of information out today about child safety in today’s dangerous world. Most of this information is for parents with elementary school age kids. For parents with kids of ages 12 to 18, there is also some great information for you, too, to keep you older child safe. Safe kids are all ages!
What do parents of older children, like Middle School age and High School age kids, need do, to keep these kids safe?
First, the true secret to safer kids, no matter what their age, is confidence. Confident kids are less of a target for sexual predators. Build confidence in your child and you can increase a substantial measure of safety for them, especially when you are not around.
It is true. Self confidence means greater safety for any child at any age. The difference however, is in how you build and reinforce it in older children. Building confidence is an age-appropriate task that requires different things for different ages of children. Build confidence with those age appropriate areas of focus and you truly can build safety for a lifetime.
So let’s start with elementary age children. Younger kids, elementary school age kids between 5 and 11 years of age, need to be praised and reassured that they are accepted and noticed by you, the parent. This means paying attention to them when they speak to you.
Acknowledging them when they call you name, sitting down with them and playing with them on the floor, and engaging them in direct conversation with eye contact. You are basically letting you child know they are important as a human being and you accept them and are there for them as they naturally are. These small things, in minutes a day, can build the foundation of solid self confidence in kids.
What about Middle School age kids, those around 11-14 years of age? How do you reinforce confidence in this age group? You do it by demonstrating your trust your child. Kids at this age want to be trusted. They crave the ability to know you trust them. Building trust in your child at this age is the key to bolstering their confidence. Trust means allowing your child the freedom to make good decisions for themselves independent of you, the parent. Is it easy? Heck no! Will they always make good decisions? Heck, no again! However, it is about your child, not you. You must make the effort to demonstrate your trust in your child at this age.
As for High School age teenagers, they require respect to bolster their confidence. Kids in the 15-18 years old range need to know that as young adults, they have your respect for them as the parent. Respect for them means for everything, too: their hair, clothing, friends and activity choices. Teenagers crave your parental respect for them.
Again, is it easy? No. But, it is the proper parental choice to make. It is about building safety for a lifetime. Safety for college campuses and independent young adults stepping out into the world on their own stems from being taught to be self confident from the youngest of ages. It is true safety for a lifetime.