Your baby woke up one day transformed as a teenager, and you can hardly believe it. Your teenager is attending more parties or events and has a later curfew-that’s part of growing up, after all-but you worry a bit about your teen late at night. Do you know how to help your child stay safe after dark?
Below are six tips to help you teach your teenager to be security-minded while out. These tips will help ensure that your child is never stranded or alone.
1. Use a Taxi Service
Your child should never be in a situation where he or she feels stranded or is forced to walk home alone. But unfortunately, these situations occur quite frequently. A million things could happen: your child might attend a party with friends, only to find that the designated driver had a drink; the car might have a flat tire; there might be a falling out among friends and your child wants to leave early.
Whatever the case, your teen should understand that there is a way to get home safely: simply call a taxi service. A taxi can pick up your child and safely transport him or her home so that your teen doesn’t have to accept a ride from a stranger or a buzzed driver in order to make it home on time.
Explain to your teen that a taxi service should be used in an emergency, but that your teen shouldn’t hesitate to call the taxi service if there doesn’t seem to be another solution. Using a taxi to get home guarantees your teen’s safety.
2. Bring Your Phone Charger
If you’re the parent of a teenager, there’s one thing you understand very clearly-your teen never leaves the house without his or her cell phone. The thing is practically glued to their hand! Most teens wouldn’t leave the house for a weekend get-together with friends without their phone, but what if the phone dies while they’re away and they don’t have a way to contact you?
If your child is going to a new part of town or is hanging out with new friends, ask your child to stick a phone charger in his or her bag before leaving. In the rare case that your teen’s phone dies, your child can charge up and will still have a way to contact you or call for help in the case of an emergency.
3. Carry Cash
No one should carry anything too valuable with them while traveling or going to a party-thieves know how to spot expensive tech toys or someone carrying a lot of cash. But your child should have a small emergency fund of cash, just in case. A twenty-dollar bill isn’t likely to catch a thief’s eye, but your teen will have a little money to catch a cab, purchase food, or make a payphone call.
You and your teen should decide together how much money your teen should carry and what it should be used for. You might decide to provide the emergency fund yourself, or you might work with your teen to build the emergency fund together. Help your teen feel responsible for the emergency fund and to use it for just that-emergencies.
4. Never Travel Alone
Your teen should understand that he or she should never travel alone. Whether your child is walking, riding a bike, or driving home, he or she should have someone to travel with-just in case. Predators and thieves target young people who are alone.
In fact, any time your child is out after dark, he or she should have a companion. Some teens like to run after dark, but even in your own neighborhood, it’s smart to exercise with someone else.
5. Keep Others Informed
You most likely have rules in your home about how often your teenager needs to check in with you on nights out. Teach your teen that he or
she always needs to communicate with you before going to a new location. You should understand your teen’s plans so that if something goes wrong, you’ll know exactly where to look.
6. Follow Your Instincts
Build a relationship of trust with your teen. This will help your child feel confident if he or she needs to make a judgment call. Your child is smart, and he or she will likely notice if something is wrong. Help your teen understand that it is always a good idea to follow instincts-even if it leads you to do something a bit paranoid at the time.
You should also trust your own instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, communicate with your child and see if you can’t come up with another plan or solution. Your teen’s safety is your first priority, and you should follow your gut instincts when it comes to your children’s security.
Begin today to help your child be more security-minded after dark. Give your child the contact information of your local cab company, develop an emergency cash fund, and take other measures to ensure that your teen is safe while away from home.