Children need to be allowed private conversations with their friends. They need enough freedom to be themselves without feeling like every word will be weighed up and analyzed by you.
2. Teach them to tell the truth
Children love and trust you implicitly so don’t ever break that trust by lying to them. Even a white lie is a form of lying that breaks trust.
They need to have a sense of right and wrong and if you teach this value at a young age it won’t be so difficult to expect that of them when they are older.
Without realizing it many parents teach their children to lie by their reaction to receiving the truth – they punish them or get angry at them without thanking them for owning up and actually having the guts to tell the truth.
3. Keep them safe
From keeping them safe in the car to keeping them safe from pedophiles on the internet, it’s a tough job so it’s important to be clear about what you accept and see as safe.
With the heart-stopping worry of the baby and toddler years safely negotiated, you now face new and different responsibilities for keeping your kids safe. You can’t keep your kids wrapped in cotton wool forever, so it’s important to teach them vital safety information.
4. Remember the Internet needs your attention
If your child is not “online” already, he or she may soon be joining the 10 million children who are using the Internet.
It’s not all bad but it just needs your attention. Just as you would not allow your child to wander alone into unknown territory, you also wouldn’t want him or her to interact on the Internet without some parental guidance and supervision.
Spend time online with your child as your involvement is the best insurance you can have of your child’s safety and keep yourself informed about the parental control tools that can help you keep your child safe online.
Explain to your child that they shouldn’t give out personal information to people they meet on the internet and stress that although they may think of them as friends, there’s a risk and they should never post a photograph of themselves.
5. Know where they are
Start out by gently allowing them greater freedoms – staying over at friend’s houses, going shopping in a mall or going to the films alone with friends, but do insist that they call if there are any changes.
Realistically it’s not possible to watch over your kids all day, every day. Pre-teens and teenage children need to see their friends and spend time away from you – it’s healthy, and self-sufficient activities are essential to growth and sense of identity, but your most important job is to keep your children safe without arousing too much tension and fear in them.
Give your child more opportunities to meet friends at home or in places where you can go along and enjoy an activity too, such as a park or bowling alley and make sure you talk to your children about personal safety.
Don’t forget to laugh a lot!
“Using this reading program, my son’s reading skills have been raised to a level well beyond his grade. I cannot credit the Reading Kingdom enough for raising my son’s self-esteem and guiding him on a path to achieving his full potential.” — V.W. Shiah, M.D. and parent