As a parent, your child’s safety is your No. 1 concern. From the moment your son or daughter home, you are worried about all the ways he or she could possibly be harmed. By the time your baby is a teenager you’re probably no longer checking to make sure he or she is breathing while they sleep, but now you have a whole other host of worries.
You can never guard against every possible danger, but one thing you can control is how safe they feel at home. A teenager who feels secure in his or her own house is more likely to feel safe and confident in other aspects of his or her life. Here are several ideas for making your home a safe place for your teen.
Make Your Home Physically Safe
Physical safety is the foundation of a sense of well-being, so make home security a family priority. Talk to your kids about the steps you’ve taken to secure your house from intruders and listen to any concerns they might have.
- If you don’t already have an alarm system with outdoor security cameras, look into having one installed and then teach your teen how to use it. Lorex offers a range of security systems, with infrared night vision and motion detecting options.
- Establish a safety routine every time anyone in the family leaves the house that includes steps like always locking doors and windows, closing and locking the garage door, and turning on your alarm system.
- Together, choose a neighbor’s home as a “safe house” where your teenager can go for help. Make sure the neighbor is someone everyone feels comfortable with and is generally home during the hours you are away.
- Be sure your WiFi is password protected and that your smart devices have updated protections. In teaching your kids about online safety, caution them to never post your address, announce vacations or post about expensive possessions.
- If your teen seems particularly worried about home safety, contact your local police department to see if they offer home inspections. Some departments will send an officer out to walk through your home and recommend ways to amp up security. This may help point out anything you’ve missed and at the same time allay your child’s fears.
Make Your Home Emotionally Safe
Sometimes safety is less about the physical environment and more about the emotional landscape. The teenage years are emotionally turbulent for every kid. While teens are now more aware of the world around them, they don’t necessarily have the tools to process scary or confusing events. You can help them navigate these years by making your home a place where they feel safe to express themselves, ask questions and talk about the things that cause them stress.
- At a baseline, your home should be free from physical violence. This includes sibling bullying. While some sibling jealousy and rivalry is normal, establish firm rules and consequences for bullying behavior of any kind.
- Make your home a shame-free environment where feelings and opinions are acknowledged. Kids who are worried about being criticized or shamed will quit communicating.
- Treat your teenager with respect and expect the same in return.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Answer tough questions honestly but let your kids know that you are there to help and support them no matter what. Listen to their fears and concerns and ask questions about the root causes.