Keeping Adolescents Safe During the Teen Years

When we think of safety and children, young children come to mind. But teens also face dangers as they become increasingly independent.

Keeping our kids safe during the teen years is an important issue. This is a phase when youth may experiment in many types of risky behavior, from speeding cars, to drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, all too often the results are tragic. One way of ensuring their safety is by setting a few ground rules so that as parents we know where they are and whom they are with says Dr. Miriam Kaufman, pediatrician and author of Helping Your Teen Overcome Depression. “I think it’s very reasonable in a family to have an expectation, a clear expectation that if the teenager is going to be out after a certain period of time, that they will call home and tell you. And I think that before the situation happens, you set out what the consequences will be for not making that phone call home.”

As any parent of an adolescent can tell you, teenagers can find themselves in trouble situations such as being out on a bad date, or stuck with a drunk driver and have no way to get home safely. There can be bullying problems with groups of other young people, so they need to know that they can call on their parents no matter what the circumstances or the time of day (or night!). If they’ve done something wrong, experts suggest waiting until the next morning to discuss it, when cooler heads will prevail.
It’s also recommended that teens be encouraged to have a a trusted adult they can turn to or talk to for those times when they don’t want to share something with Mom or Dad.  It could be an aunt, uncle, or parent of a friend.

Finally, since so many teen deaths and injuries are directly attributed to drinking and driving, Kaufman says “the one non-negotiable thing is that they do not get into a car with someone who has been drinking, and who is then going to be the driver. I think that’s really the key thing. You have to think about ‘what can kill your kid?’ and try to avoid that if you can.”

Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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