Child Safety: Confidence Is The Key!

When you empower your child, you will truly teach them to make choices for themselves. When they can make good choices for themselves they will be able to assess situations around them and respond in an appropriate manner. They will be able to make THE RIGHT choice when faced with a dangerous situation, when approached by a bully or inappropriate adult or when grabbed or surprised by an extreme predator. Very simply, it is all about teaching your child to make good choices, the best choices, for themselves. Yes, they will truly be able to keep themselves safe for a lifetime. In its simplest form, empowerment means your child feels like they have a measure of control over their life. They feel they can make their own decisions, good decisions. Most kids don't feel this ability. Because they feel powerless, kids will engage in a struggle with their parents to get some control of their lives. In doing so it usually comes across as conflict:

No! I don't want to go!
I don't like that!
I'm not eating that!
Stop it!
I don't want to!
Leave me alone!

How to empower your child depends on their age. For children ages 4 to 7, give them alternatives to situations in their lives, let them make some of their own choices. For example, instead of serving them broccoli, ask them to choose between carrots, peas or broccoli or another vegetable as you prepare it. Let them choose the socks they want to wear. Letting them pick a favorite t–shirt can bolster their self–image. Give in to their cries of, “I can do it! I want to do it!” Kids around 8 to 13 years old crave parental trust. Knowing Mom or Dad trusts them is a powerful confidence booster for kids this age. Empowering your elementary age child means when they do something, you “let go” and trust them to do it. At this age confidence building centers primarily around the issue of trust and you as a parent have to lead the way by example.

When your child reaches high school age, most of your parental work is in place or done. It is simply a time to “guide” your child and confidence boosting comes in the form of respect. Most teenagers need to know their parents respect them. With kids at this age it is very challenging for any parent but demonstrating respect for your child's choices for themselves, even if you don't always agree with them, is critical for their self image.

These are pretty simple examples, but this is about as easy as it gets in empowering your child. Giving your child choices, trust and respect is crucial in their development. It is crucial in their ability to keep themselves safe against all kinds of dangers.

All this being said, will your child always make good choices for themselves?    No!

That is where you, Mom and Dad, come into the picture. You, as a mentor to your child, can guide them through the array of choices they will face. You can guide them and teach them about learning to make good choices and their benefits.

And safety? Well, confident kids are not messed with by bullies at school. Confident kids know when that when confronted by an inappropriate request they can to say “NO!” Confident teenagers don't always bow to peer pressure. Confident adults do not get intimidated by the nasty co–worker in the office. It's called “safety for a lifetime.”

–Preston Jones and Joyce Jackson

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