The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 9, 2014

Primary goal is making sure your child is safe

Our children are the source of some of our greatest joys and sometimes our frustrations.

But from the moment a child is born, we develop a protective nature.

In the early years, it is a heightened awareness of the potential dangers that range from choking hazards to learning to ride a bike. We just want to make sure our child is safe.

As our children grow, we begin to relax our vigilance with regard to day to day life. We know that he or she has learned to navigate stairs, can ride a bike, knows how to swim, and a wide variety of other basic life skills have been mastered.

We begin to feel a sense of relief as each learning milestone is accomplished.

We have to be aware that keeping our children safe is more than watching them succeed at sports or academics.

It is also about making sure that they are learning how to recognize other potentially dangerous situations.

Sometimes those situations occur when your child is with his or her friends.

Recent news reports of girls or boys attacking a close friend has devastate families and communities.

How can children turn on each other and commit vicious attacks? This goes far beyond bullying of any type. This is clearly assault and often assault with a deadly weapon.

It may not be possible to predict or prevent random acts of violence but there are steps that every parent can take to keep their child safe when with friends.

First, get to know your child’s friends. Invite them over to your home for visit, play date or meal.

Make them feel welcomed and talk with them about school or other interests.

Then get to know their parents. Before your child goes to a friends for a visit or sleepover, call the parents and set up a time to meet.

Discuss who will be supervising the children and what activities are planned.

If the children will be watching TV, a movie, or using the internet ask what kind of guidelines are allowed.

Some parents allow R rated movies for their younger children because they don’t think that the violence is a problem

If this is not okay with your family values, speak up and suggest an alternative or ask that a different movie is shown.

If the parent’s disregard your values then have the sleepover at your home where you monitor what the children are watching.

Be an involved parent with your child’s schools and extra-curricular activities.

Cheer him on when he plays on a sports team or acts in a play.

Attend school carnivals, bake sales, or fund-raisers. These are excellent ways to get to know other parents and have conversations with children too.

You can learn a great deal about family values through volunteering.

Being informed as much as possible about who your child is spending time with is a good start.

It is also important to have an emergency plan for your child too.

Set up a code word or a simple text message that your child can use to have your come pick them up.

As children are going further from your supervision, it might also be a good time to be sure they have a cell phone for emergencies.

Be sure your child knows that you will always come and get them if he or she calls to be picked up from an event, friend’s house, or party.

The primary goal is making sure your child is safe. The tough conversation about the problem can always follow the next day.

Children are our greatest joy. Remember that education and prevention are key to keeping them safe and drug free.

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