(StatePoint) Peril can be lurking around every corner, so make sure your children know how to protect themselves from dangerous situations.
These days, keeping kids safe is more complicated than just warning them not to talk to strangers. Criminals can come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it’s someone who you least suspect who can cause the most trouble.
“Many times, a criminal is hiding behind a warm, friendly smile,” says Lis Wiehl, Fox News Analyst and author of the recently released, “Eyes of Justice,” the fourth novel in her Triple Threat series.
Wiehl’s novels are informed by her former work as a federal prosecutor, and her current role as a television journalist covering some of the most heinous crimes. Trained to sniff out the bad guys, she advises all parents to “teach kids about potential dangerous situations and people without frightening them.”
Children and parents should keep several tips in mind to prepare for, and help avoid, dangerous circumstances, stresses Wiehl:
• Use the buddy system. When children are walking home from school or going to the park, they should always have at least one friend with them. There is safety in numbers, as children are much less vulnerable when they are not alone.
• Keep an open dialogue. As a parent, it is important to know about your children’s new friends. Don’t feel like it’s overbearing to have an open, honest conversation about the happenings in your children’s lives.
• Monitor Internet usage. Children can never be sure who they are associating with online. “Predators are always online searching for vulnerable children,” says Wiehl, “You don’t have to spy on them. Just keep an eye out. It’s parenting.”
• Specify safe places. Work with your children to establish “safe havens” for them to go to if they sense trouble while out of the house. These should be places you both are familiar with, like a friend’s house or a community center. Also, discuss with your child secure places to play and safe walking routes.
• Teach your children to trust themselves. More often than not, children can tell when a situation doesn’t feel right. If your children feel uneasy by their surroundings, they should not ignore those feelings. Teach them to be assertive and remove themselves from situations that feel dodgy.
More information on Wiehl’s books can be found online at www.LisWiehlBooks.com.
Remember, while you can’t hide your children from the hazards of the world, you can prepare them to be ready for worst-case scenarios. That could make all the difference in the world.