Parents can take many steps to address the many threats to child safety in schools, at home and in the community. Examples of such steps include:
Discuss school’s discipline policy with your child. Show your support for the rules, and help your child understand the reasons for them.
Talk with children early and regularly about gangs, drugs, weapons, school and community safety, violence seen on television, in video games, and in your neighborhood. Help your child understand the consequences of violence.
When you talk with children, BE HONEST
Do NOT assume your child knows even the “basic” facts about safety and other risks.
Teach your child problem solving techniques. Praise your child when he or she follows through
Help your child find ways to show anger without involving verbal or physical aggression.
Help your child understand the value of accepting individual differences.
Note any disturbing behaviors in your child. For example, frequent angry outbursts, excessive fighting and/or bullying of other children, fire setting, problems at school and in the neighborhood, lack of friends, and alcohol or drug use. These can be signs of serious problems. Talk with a trusted professional in your child’s school or in the community.
Keep lines of communication open with your child even when it is tough. Get to know your child’s friends, encourage you child to let you know where they are at and who they are with.
Listen to your child if he or she shares concerns about friends who may be exhibiting troubling behaviors. Share this information with a trusted professional, such as the school psychologist, principal, or teacher.
Be involved in your child’s school life by reviewing homework, talking with teacher(s), and attending school functions such as parent conferences, class programs, open houses, and PTA meetings.
Parents must provide order, structure and consistent discipline. Although you love your child, realize he or she is still a kid and will test the limits. Ask probing questions: Where are you going? Who will be with you? And do some follow-up to verify the answers you get!