In a book by police Captain Robert L. Snow he states:
"In families with children constantly in trouble with the law, police officers usually find there is seldom any meaningful dialog between parents and children, and just as seldom are there any joint family activities."
Captain Snow goes on to say: "Boredom and a sense of isolation, research shows, are the greatest instigators of delinquency for these children."
It is our duty as parents to not only plan each day for our children with daily chores and responsibilities, but also to sit down with them and have heart to heart discussions concerning what we expect and give them a turn at presenting their views and concerns. Gear your discussions to your child's age and level of understanding.
IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Plan frequent activities and outings with your children, and make time for them. Keep your word.
- Participate in you child's school activities. Stop by their schools and let the teachers know who you are.
- Let you child know to choose decent friends and say no to things that will get them in trouble.
- Don't spare discipline if your child gets into trouble.
- Make sure your children are ready to care for themselves.
- Make your home as secure as possible against intruders.
- Get a Security System as soon as you can.
- Pay special attention to door and window security, if you feel that they are a potential weak spot, do something about it right away.
- Add a sight glass or peephole to exterior doors that cannot be seen-through.
- Add more than one lock to exterior doors, space the locks at least 12 inches apart. This will make the doors more resistant to kick-ins.
- Teach them basic home safety rules.
- Get at least 2 fire extinguishers for your home, and teach them how they are used.
- Get a cell/mobile phone to stay in touch with your children.
- Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and whom they are with.
USE COMMUNITY SUPPORT
- Establish a daily routine where your children check in with you or someone else as soon as they get home.
- A telephone call to the children from you or some other close adult is always reassuring.
- Ask neighbors that you know and trust to help keep an eye on your house and kids while you're away, and promise that you'll do the same for them.
Establish a safe place for your kids. If your children think someone is following them home, they can go to the designated place and be safe instead of inside the house, where they could potentially be trapped.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CHILDREN ARE THEY READY TO BE LEFT ALONE?
CAN YOUR CHILDREN-
1. Be trusted to go straight home after school?
2. Easily use the telephone, locks, and kitchen appliances?
3. Follow rules and instructions well?
4. Handle unexpected situations without panicking?
5. Stay home alone without being afraid?
Talk it over with them, and listen to their worries and ideas. Work out rules on having friends over, household chores, homework, television and games. Remember, staying at home alone can build a child's self-esteem, sense of responsibility, and practical skills, all of which help you in the long run.
TEACH YOUR "HOME ALONE" CHILDREN
1. How to call 9-1-1 or your area's emergency number, or call the operator?
2. How to give directions to your house in case of an emergency?
3. To check in with you or a neighbor immediately after arriving home.
4. How to use the door, windows, locks and the alarm system if you have one?
5. To carry a house key with them in a safe place (inside a shirt pocket or sock)-do not leave it under a mat or on a ledge. You can even use a large safety pin to secure it to you child's clothing in a "secret" spot, like the inside of a shirt or sweater.
6. How to escape the house in case of fire or other emergency, and where they can go for safety.
7. To not go into the house or apartment if things do not look right- a broken window, ripped screen, or opened door, but to find a phone and call police right away.
8. To leave the area and call police if they come home and find a strange car, van or other vehicle parked in the driveway.
9. To let you know about anything that frightens them or makes them feel uncomfortable.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
1. To never accept gifts or rides from people they don't know well. (And you approve of)
2. When cautioning your children about strangers, using the phrase "Don't talk to strangers", is clearly not enough, get specific, and give examples.
3. To never get into a car with a stranger. (Explain to them that you would never send a stranger to pick them up.)
4. Never agree to help a stranger, even if the stranger gets upset.
5. To never let anyone into the home without asking your permission.
6. To never let a caller at the door or on the phone know they are alone.
7. To always tell you, a teacher, or a trusted adult right away if a stranger tries to touch them, offer them a gift, offers them a ride, or makes them feel funny or uncomfortable.
We have to prepare our children and ourselves for life within the boundaries of the present day society. Not only should we participate in our children's day to day lives, we should also get our children involved in their safety and future, let them know that you are there for them and that they are a member of a team called "our family".
Protecting Your Life, Home, and Property.
Captain R.L. Snow
Protect Yourself, Your Family, Your Home
James B. Motley
Secure From Crime
C. Huber / D. Paul