Are you and your children having conversations about the things in life that really matter?
Children need to believe that rules and boundaries exist because their lives are important; because they are precious and loved. And most importantly because their personal liberty is a product of honoring the correct boundaries.
The correct boundaries reflect God’s love which respects the individual and holds the individual accountable. God has given us the ability to defend our borders.
This is challenging to do in a world where everyone seems to be equipped with a smart phone or a mobile device. Children clamor for the digital connectivity and are very intuitive at very early ages. Access to the network and applications can easily seduce kids into believing they do not require guidance or the voice of a parent’s wisdom.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Soft answers come from home when the family culture expresses values and facilitates meaningful conversations about the boundaries for a secure life.
The family exists to keep one another secure with borders (physical, emotional and spiritual) that protect us from harm. A universal family value is safety. And yet safety is under-rated and digital natives are conditioned to be very trusting of what the see and experience in the network. So the most important thing we can do is engage children in understanding their role in their own security.
The conversation about boundaries for personal security should be about off and on line concerns. To talk about the ways in which we establish borders and why start with the three realms of security:
- Locking the front door
- A door for the bathroom (privacy)
- Boundaries for how far kids can travel and when to be home
- Alarms for cars, and locking car doors, and storing valuables in the trunk
- Parental controls to avoid access to unwanted websites
- Internet security software to guard against malware
The realm of hearts and minds (God’s love)
- Because you were born, your life matters
- You are a child of God born to love and be loved
- Know your own borders. What is acceptable and not. Know when to say “no” to friends.
- Know how to avoid and escape dangerous people and situations
The realm of hearts and minds is probably the most difficult and neglected. It is rather straightforward to lock the doors and windows and alarm the house and car; setting up parental controls is also pretty simple compared to addressing hearts and minds.
Does relating inherent authority to maintain the borders for your personal security require more time and attention than our modern lifestyles allow?
I recently had the opportunity to talk with safety expert, Tracy Vega, of Simple Self Defense for Women who offers some great tips to begin conversations about protecting our own personal borders. These tips apply to adults as well as kids. The more you can engage children in protecting “borders” as an “everyone thing” rather than “you do it” thing, the better. In this way, everyone can become more confident and reinforce good decisions.
Safety Tips for Kids at Home
- Do you have a home phone number? Do the kids know what it is including the area code? They should also know your cell phone number & a back up number (maybe work).
- If you have caller ID at home instruct them to look at it before they answer the phone & only answer if it’s on the “allowed” list.
- When is it okay to answer the door? It’s better for the kids to ignore the doorbell if they are home alone.
- Do not publish your child’s name for everyone to see. Instead use a sticker or a picture of their favorite pet or cartoon character.
- Instead of talking to your children about stranger danger, create a safe list. Keep it short with 5-8 people. Make it fun for the kids and keep it simple.
Travel Safety Tips
If someone is nearby when you are entering your hotel room, let them pass before you enter. A bad person could easily push you into your hotel and attack you in a private location.
- Verify anyone knocking on your door claiming to be affiliated with the hotel. If you didn’t call for a maintenance issue or housekeeping don’t allow them in. Contact the front desk.
- Keep your distance (personal space) from anyone entering your room such as room service or housekeeping. Keep conversations to the situation at hand, don’t make it personal. It divulges unnecessary information about you.
- If you wear a name badge for business, take it off when you leave the office. Don’t advertise who you are to a potential bad guy.
Joanna Jullien is an author and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM, Tuesdays.
For more about relating inherent authority to your children, go to The Authority In Me now available on Kindle.
To receive Banana Moments updates contact Joanna at Jullien@surewest.net or Like Banana Moments.
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