The sales are over, the school buses are back on the road, and teachers are settling into their classrooms. Our children are catching up with the friends they have missed over the summer, teachers are getting to know their new students and parents are settling down into the term-time routines. It is a fun time of year with lots going on, so don’t forget some basic safety tips that go along with with the changes. If you have teens, safety is still a concern for them too – in some ways maybe even more so. Here are some tips you should discuss with your teens as school restarts and new responsibilities & expectations enter their lives.
Plan your route and let someone know what it is
Whether your teen is walking, riding with friends, or driving, you should plan a school route with them and tell them never to veer from this route. Travel the route with your teen, discuss any dangers and explain to them that sticking to this route is what will keep them the safest to and from school. This will also help you know as soon as possible, if something has happened to your teen.
Of course this doesn’t apply just to the school route. As your teens gain more freedom it is always good practice to talk with them about:
- Where they are going
- How they are getting there
- Who they will be with
- What time they are leaving
- How they are getting home
- What time they will be home
Yes, even teens (maybe even especially teens) need to know this. Remind them they should never accept rides from people they do not know – no matter what the circumstances and teach them to be cautious of even people they do know. Discuss all the ways in which people are fooled into going with a stranger – “Can you help me load this into my truck?”, “I’ve hurt myself & need help carrying this home” there are many ways to be fooled. Tell them to never go alone with someone and to always trust their instincts.
No texting and driving – period. Make sure you are not distracted by makeup, food, friends, or music- or anything else, for that matter. Obey all of the traffic laws. Pay attention to the road, and never drink and drive. These are all pretty basic rules, but many teens forget them. Discuss all of these with your children and make sure they are confident in their driving abilities and responsibilities before turning them loose on the road.
Parties, Drink & Drugs
Your teen will most likely be invited to a parties. Discuss under-age drinking with them. Don’t just say ‘don’t do it’, explain why. Talk about the ways in which drink affects your judgement and may make you more likely to do something you wouldn’t normally do. The same goes for drugs – discuss the difference between legal and illegal drugs. Talk about how prescription drugs can be very dangerous, if not deadly, when not used correctly and by the person they are for. Much of this comes down to peer pressure and giving your teen enough self confidence to say no & not be worried by what others think.
It is a touchy subject for many, but it needs to be talked about openly. Remember, if you aren’t talking about it with your child doesn’t mean someone else isn’t. Discuss different kinds of sexual acts, the possible consequences of each and why your teen should not be exploring them.
In all subjects try and maintain an open dialogue with your teen. Talk to them and encourage them to talk with you. Make them feel safe coming too you to ask things and to discuss situations they have been in.