Nowadays, parents must have a couple crucial conversations that may prove to be just as (if not more) awkward than the Birds and the Bees. While many do not realize it, it is paramount to discuss seemingly uncomfortable topics to circumvent being in an unfortunate situation that is unimaginable until you find yourself in it with your child.
The talk that I am referring to generally took place right before we went off to college in my hay day. However, it seems in this millennial age, the talk to should occur just around the when the rite of passage of cell phones occur with a few circumstances and consequences that didn’t exist back then before Google was invented.
Cellphones have proven to be quite dangerous and detrimental to people’s lives. A simple tweet could ruin you. A meme can brand you and scar you. A photo can completely bar you. Perception is reality and in today’s world virtual reality is reality. It is a big responsibility and it is important that children learn this early on because if they don’t they can be charged with crimes they didn’t realize were crimes. Activities such as sexting and trading racy photos can result in charges like possession of child pornography (even if both parties involved are minors). Please click here to find out what you must know about minors sexting, revenge porn, and how to discuss these topics with your children.
It is imperative that adolescents get thoroughly educated on some basic practical skills that keep them safe. The sooner these skills are instilled in them, the better. Two of the most basic cardinal rules when going to parties are:
No one left behind.
No drink unattended.
As simple as these two cardinal rules are, they are often broken yielding some unfortunate and tragic consequences. Naturally, choice of friends and interests play a big part, however, equipping children with the basic expectation that they are responsible for one another and that they need to have each others’ backs is a must. If you a drink goes unattended, get another one. *Go with a stranger or an acquaintance to fetch a drink. If at a bar, take the drink directly from the bartender. These basic rules of engagement circumvent a myriad of scenarios. At which point it may be a good idea to add, always have cab money in case of emergencies and don’t leave the house without your phone being fully charged. What is mentioned here is just a few important bullet points in addition to what we were taught when we were once teenagers – in addition to any and all other safety habits you would like to instill in your age appropriate child.
Aside from the epidemic of cyber-bullying, there are all sorts of dangers lurking on social media like body image complexes, depression and sex trafficking. Yes, sex trafficking. Recruiters have become quite savvy using social media platforms to promote, glamorize, and recruit for prostitution. It’s going on more often then we would like to think. Just one more thing to be aware of, and to have a conversation with your child about; most recruiters aren’t creepy old men, but classmates with nice fancy and shiny things. Please click here for more information on sex trafficking.
In terms of bullying, a good practice is to Google your children every now and then to see their activity. It can give a good glimpse of your child through the eyes of,… well… the world wide web. This practice can reveal whether your child is a bully or bring bullied. It’s important to let your children know the importance of not expressing their anger for another person online and if your child is being bullied – make sure they know they are not alone. If a child feels alone, loses hope and feel despair… nothing good can come from that. Click here for information. Talk to them. Regularly.
Making Out/Getting Intimate
“No means no” is more than just a slogan. The nuances get misread by the inexperienced youth who subscribe to the philosophies of their misguided peers or reference pop culture (which has an extremely skewed view altogether). If your children should take any queues on that topic from any source, it should come from you. So it is imperative to start the conversation and engage them. At any time anyone can change their minds. Anyone can agree to one activity and decline another. If one person is intoxicated, it’s best to wait until they are not. Someone’s behavior or their clothing is not a clear indication of consent. Consent is consent. Click here for some more information for this conversation.