Being a parent is a huge responsibility. Children not only need love, they need proper guidance as well. Part of steering a child on the right course, involves teaching him or her to follow safety rules. Some rules are easy to teach, such as “don’t play with fire.” Other rules are more difficult to discuss. These rules may make you uncomfortable, but don’t ignore them. Make it a point to talk to your child about the following issues.
1. Drugs Can Kill, So Don’t Experiment
Tweens are exposed to drugs and alcohol in many different places. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your tween doesn’t need to hear a speech on the hazards of drinking, marijuana, prescription drugs, and the like. I understand you view your child as an innocent. You may also think he or she doesn’t need to know about these things yet, right? Wrong!
Government research shows that a parent needs to discuss these topics with his or her child from an early age. In essence, an open dialogue encourages abstinence, not the opposite. Have this conversation with your tween, not once, but many times. Doing so will help to keep your tween drug and alcohol-free.
2. Risky Behavior Leads to Injury
YouTube showcases videos of darling animals, funny mishaps, and creative monologues. These videos can be quite entertaining; however, the site also has a plethora of less than savory escapades. Tweens may find such videos to be hilarious, and they may also mimic the behavior.
Parents need to be aware tweens will engage in these risky behaviors unless they are warned about the dangers involved. One odious example of risky behavior is lighting farts on fire. (YUCK!) You may not believe me, but people do crazy things, and this is just one of them.
To assist your tween with remaining injury-free, have a talk about the crazy, risky videos on YouTube and similar websites. Don’t judge. Do warn about the dangers of such activities.
3. Early Sexual Experimentation Can be Dangerous
Talking about sex makes many parents uncomfortable. Some do everything they can to avoid the subject altogether. This is a mistake. Tweens need to be able to talk to their parents about the changes their bodies are going through. (After all, puberty is scary). Think of it this way: don’t you prefer your child receive correct information on sexual behavior from you and not from a friend?
The Guttmacher Institute asserts that children who begin to have sex at very young ages are at risk. They state: “…early initiation of sexual intercourse places adolescents, particularly females, at elevated risk of being involved in an unintended pregnancy, of acquiring HIV or another sexually transmitted disease (STD), and of other negative social and psychological outcomes.“
I am sure your goal is for your tween to wait to engage in any kind of sexual activity until he or she is much, much older. One way to prevent this is through an open dialogue between you and your child.