The teenage years are exhilarating yet challenging for parents and teens alike. Many elements are out of your control, but the truth is that there are things you can do to help your teen stay safe through these years. The following is information and tips for keeping your teen safe through common dangers.
- Open Communication: Sometimes this is easier said than done, but establishing open communication with your teen may be the most important thing you do. Allowing your teen the safe space to confide in you without judgment will encourage them to ask for help when needed.
- Online Safety: Online safety cannot be emphasized enough. Avoid sharing personal information online or refusing friend requests from strangers may be a life-saving tip for your teen. It is unrealistic to ask your teen not to use social media to communicate, but discussing the importance of their online reputation is vital.
- Driving: This begins with showing your teens safe driving behavior. Simple tasks related to the vehicle, including buckling the seat belt, following the speed limit, and using turn signals, are easy to demonstrate. Showing your teen what it looks like to put your phone down, avoid distractions, and never drink and drive will let them know that safety is a priority.
- Boundaries: This is not the time to tell them that when you were a kid, you played outside until dark. The world is different. Set boundaries for your teen’s behavior and follow through with the consequences. Monitoring their activities, especially online activities, may seem like a punishment in their eyes, but they will understand.
- Know Their Friends: Get to know their friends and their families. This one act will help you understand the peer group and pressures your teen may face.
- Teach Problem-Solving Skills: Let’s face it, teens face challenging situations that most adults don’t know how to handle. Teaching your teen the ability to problem solve and to ask for help when needed will give them the confidence to navigate the murky waters when necessary.
- Be a Positive Role Model: Teens need role models, especially in the form of caregivers. Practicing the behaviors you are teaching will help solidify the importance and improve their follow-through.
Teens face more challenges today than they ever have. Stay connected, communicate with your teen, educate them, and take precautions to help them stay safe.