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What are some practical things parents can do at home to reduce child safety risks?

Parents can take many steps to address the many threats to child safety in schools, at home ,and in the community. Examples of such steps include:

  • Talk with children early and regularly about gangs, drugs, weapons, school and community safety, and related concerns.
  • When you talk with children, BE HONEST!  Violence and related trauma issues are serious, but more damage can be done by minimizing or exaggerating points than by simply providing children with facts and telling the truth.
  • Do NOT assume that your child knows even the “basic” facts about safety and other risks. Kids absorb a lot of information and, unfortunately, much of it is inaccurate or from questionable sources.  Let your child get all of the information – the correct information – from you as the parent.  And give it to them in a non-threatening and non-embarrassing time, place, and manner.  Perhaps then your child will be more willing to come to you with other questions and problems later on!
  • Eliminate access to weapons by youth.
  • Be aware of and do not permit gang identifiers.
  • Provide order, structure, and consistent discipline in the home.
  • Work cooperatively with police and school officials.
  • Seek professional assistance when needed and in a timely manner.  Do NOT wait until a problem gets out of control and then look for professional help
  • Parents must provide order, structure and consistent discipline. Although you love your child, realize that he or she is still a kid and will test the limits. Ask probing questions: Where are you going? Who will be with you? And do some follow-up to verify the answers you get!
  • Inspect your child’s room from time to time. Parents have found gang graffiti on bedroom walls, drug paraphernalia on dresser tops, sexually explicit notes, weapons in book bags leaving the home, graffiti and revealing information on school notebooks, and much, much more once they get up the nerve to start snooping! Unfortunately, some parents falsely believe that they should not- or legally cannot – go into their child’s room. It is your house and your child – check them both and check them regularly! It is not only your right, but your responsibility!!

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