This is a guest post by Timothy Backes.
Talking with your teen about certain topics can be difficult. However, there are some things that are absolutely vital to communicate with them as soon as possible. You may think that your teen already knows much of what you are planning to tell him or her, but the knowledge that they get from friends and from the Internet is not always reliable and you should make sure that you give them the right information.
In this article, we are going to cover three important safety topics. These are three conversations that you should have with your teen at your earliest opportunity.
Open lines of communication
The first topic you want to approach before anything else is explaining that you always have an open line of communication available for them. Often, teenagers do not believe that they can talk to their parents about the biggest issues in their lives. They believe their parents will not understand or will judge them for the decisions they have made. It is important that you destroy those doubts as quickly as possible and let them know that they can come to you about absolutely anything and you will listen without judgment.
Communication is a vital safety issue both at work and at home. By establishing open lines of communication, you can stay better informed of any safety issues your family members may be facing. You can explain that they do not even have to be seeking your advice. You can be there just to listen. The important thing is that they know that they can come to whether they have questions about drugs or alcohol, sex or any of the other myriad topics that teenagers struggle with.
It is also important to let them know that if they make a mistake, it is not the end of the world and that you can help them deal with the consequences of that mistake. The ability to make safe decisions often comes from lessons learned after making poor ones.
Texting & driving
Texting and driving should be the second item on your list. This is such an important conversation to have as it can literally mean the difference between life and death. In fact, texting is one of the most dangerous things that your teenager can do while driving.
Millions of teenagers die each year for causes directly attributed to using the phone while driving. You have to stress to your teenager how important it is not to use the phone while driving. They shouldn’t check their texts at red lights, they should not listen to their voicemail and they should avoid almost all interaction until they have come to a stop at their destination.
Many teens do not realize how dangerous distracted driving is because they are overconfident in their abilities. Added to that, when they see their parents and role models texting while driving, many incorrectly assume it’s OK for them to do too. That is why parents need to do more than simply discuss the dangers and lead by example as well.
Because bullying can extend to so many other problems that teenagers have, you definitely want to have a conversation with them about this topic. You want to teach them what to do if they are bullied, and also help them realize how awful it is for them to bully others It’s important to keep in mind that not all bullying is physical. Psychological bullying can be just as hurtful as physical bullying.
Having a discussion about bullying with your teen is an important step in ensuring their safety as well as the safety of other students they attend school with.
The bottom line
The bottom line is there are definitely some important conversations you need to have with your teenager. These conversations will make them safer and better prepared when they encounter potentially dangerous situations.
Make no mistake, they are going to encounter them at one point or another. The better prepared you can make them for the feelings, thoughts and decisions they will have to face, the more able they will be to make responsible decisions.