There are so many scary news stories in the press about children being abused and hurt when they are out of the safety of the family home. You can be forgiven for wanting to keep yours with you at all times. The trouble is, kids will need to learn independence and be out of your arms quite frequently. You can’t keep them locked up at home even if you feel that is the only place you can be sure they will be OK. Instead, you will have to trust they are educated and intelligent enough to stay away from trouble and to let you know if they are worried about anything.
Keeping your kids safe is the priority for any parent. As children get older, they develop hobbies, interests and friendships that may see them out of the house and away from you more frequently. You may encourage some hobbies that can be done at home, like learning a musical instrument or collecting Dinky toys. But even these interests will require shopping for supplies and visiting fairs or festivals. Your children will want to meet and share with like-minded people who may be strangers to you. Eventually you are going to have to let them take charge of their lives, and hope for the best.
Hobbies and interests that get kids out of the house are very important. To better protect your kids, you can make sure you know where they are going and meet the people they may be spending time with. Give them a cell phone for them to call you for a ride home, or just for a chat if they are worried about anything. Most importantly, give them a time frame and boundaries. For example, they can hang out at the mall with Dave from 11:00 until 1:00 but then you want them to come find you in your clothes store for a ride home. This gives them the freedom and responsibility to look after themselves, but you know it is limited in its scope for trouble to occur.
Very small children should never be without adult supervision. Make sure you meet and swap contact details with the adult who will take responsibility for your child. If you’re not comfortable with leaving your child, volunteer to help for an hour or so until you feel OK with it. You have every right to feel and behave overprotective as a parent, so long as you are happy to accept that you might need to tone it down a little next time. Your kids may reach an age where they feel so stifled they might act out or be secretive about their actions and location.
Whatever your children are into, whether it is collecting models or sports, show that you are interested by talking to them about it. Support what they do with your time and money. Most importantly, remember it is important to them, and they need the freedom to pursue their hobby, even if it is away from your watchful eye.
Photo Credit: This picture is from Flickr.com