The teenage years can be some of the most challenging and overwhelming years of your child's life. While you might assume your child is safer while at home with you, the freedom from school and other responsibilities can lead to increased peer pressure and experimentation. Here's your go-to guide to safety for your teens.
In many homes, you'll find prescription medications, cleaning products, alcohol, and other substances that can be considered dangerous if used incorrectly or abused. For instance, a child might drink alcohol while underage, take medications that aren't prescribed to them, and experiment with household items (e.g., hand sanitizer or Windex) in harmful ways. It's important to keep these substances in places where they're not easily found and not in direct reach. You can use cabinet locks or store them in a room they wouldn't normally visit.
It's important to set up rules with your teen, such as a curfew and communication schedule. Creating a curfew helps establish trust with your teen, as well as helping them learn to respect you. Along with respect, communication is key. You should discuss when you want them to contact you and how often. For example, you may ask your child to text or call you when they have arrived somewhere or are leaving, when their plans change, or if they're going to be late.
As they get older, teens will most likely want to hang out with friends. It would be beneficial to have a discussion with your child's friends' parents to gauge their thoughts about safety and methods they use at home. It's important to ensure you are all on the same page. Teens are highly influenced by their friends, and if they have similar curfews, house rules, etc., they will less likely engage in risky behaviors.
Keeping busy can help teens stay out of dangerous situations and avoid negative peer pressure. You might suggest daily walks around the neighborhood as a family, spending time at the gym, or getting involved in a sport. These are some ways to be safe and have fun, while improving physical and mental health. Another way that teens can stay busy is getting a job, which can be a great way for them to meet new people, gain new skills, learn to be more responsible, and save money.
It's crucial that you are open and honest with your children about your feelings and why you are setting rules, encouraging certain activities, etc. Make sure to talk about ways to stay safe, like not texting while driving, being aware of their surroundings at all times, making wise decisions about who they hang out with, and saying no to peer pressure. Assure them that you are there for them and want the best for them.
Being a parent surely comes with challenges, but with the right guidance, you can set your children up for a successful, safe, and fulfilling life. Read Wellspring's Blog for more preventative parenting tips on how to ensure your child is equipped to handle the challenges of growing up.