Adolescents do better in all areas if they feel safe and secure in their homes, schools, and neighbourhoods. It is also vitally important that they be well-informed about safety now that they are becoming more independent. Here are some ways you can help create a safe and secure environment for your adolescent, but remember, you’re not alone – seek help from professionals, police, and other caring adults in your community when you have a safety concern.
- First and foremost, create a loving, violence-free home. If there is ever a time when you feel angry or upset enough to become physically or emotionally violent with your teen, remove yourself from the situation immediately. Leave the room. You may want to call a trusted friend or counselor, go for a walk, or visit a neighbour. The important thing is that you physically leave your teen for however long it takes to cool down.
- If you think your child’s safety or the safety of someone else is endangered, or if your child is engaging in risky behaviour of any kind, don’t wait. Act now. Intervene, and enlist others’ help to do so. If necessary, seek professional support.
- Bullying threats that mention weapons or explosives must be taken seriously and reported to police.
- Talk openly and honestly with your child about drugs and alcohol, especially in relation to driving. Encourage them to ask questions.
- Talk to your child about the relationship between driving and emotions, and let them know that driving while distracted, angry, or sad can be as dangerous as driving impaired.
RECOMMENDED READING: Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things by Kelly Curtis and Helping Teens Handle Tough Experiences: Strategies to Foster Resilience by Jill R. Nelson and Sarah Kjos
Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.