Lately the headlines have been filled with violence. There have been school shootings one after the other, children bringing guns to school and street violence with children being the victim and the offender. What can we do? What can we as parents do to prevent one of our children being a headline in the papers?
Many say there is nothing we can do and let their children fall victim to the streets, but I say we need to fight back. We need to fight back and take control of our children. How? By being not only our children's parent, but their confidant, their friend, their number one supporter and the person they can trust.
Now I know being all that is time consuming and many of us already have a hectic schedule. Being a single parent is hard enough. There is bills, school functions and work but sometimes all it takes is something simple. Building a relationship with your children is important and doesn't necessarily have to take anything extra. Here are a few tips:
1. Text your child: It takes only seconds to send your child a smiley face or something simple just to let them know you are there. And it doesn't have to be on a cell phone, many of our kids have tablets there are several free apps that you all can download to chat such as Kik, Text Plus or Group Me. I am sure there are several versions of these, ask your kids. Nine times out of ten they are already using one or all to contact their friends.
2. Plan one-on-one outings: As a mother of four sometimes it's hard to show each of them equal amount of attention in a group setting. So I chose an activity and do a 'Mommy and Me' day. It's just a special activity between me and my child to reassure my love for them. It helps them to realize the bond and gives them an opportunity for them to open up about any topic they feel they need to discuss.
3. Know when to lecture and when to listen: Do you remember when you were a child and you tried to tell your parents and all they heard was another situation to fuss about? Don't be that parent to your kids. Give them an opportunity to tell you whats bothering them. If you lecture them right off the back you will lose any chance of them coming back to talk with you again.
4. Answer ALL their questions: No matter how silly, or how advanced you think the question is, answer it. One way or another your child will find the answer, wouldn't you rather the answer come from you than one of their friends or the internet?
Now I know I am going to hear some slack about whether I am telling you to do what they want. I am in no way shape or form saying that, but what I am saying is help your child grow up in a positive light. Half the children that are the ones picking up guns felt they had no other options. We as parents need to show them their options and show them the right way to handle tough situations.