Where’s My Parenting Script?!

Parenting ScriptSummertime is a wonderful time. Weekend getaways, family vacations, cookouts, time at the pool and lots of time spent with good friends. Lately the topics of conversation I find my friends and me discussing is how to address certain safety topics with our children. Maybe it’s because many of us are about to send our children to school for the first time where they will start to have a life a little outside of our control. Teachers and peers will have influence on their lives and they will be shown cultures and ways of life that they might not have seen before. They will start to be invited to friends houses or birthday parties of families I do not know. Will I let her go? What questions do I ask beforehand? Am I allowed to scope out the house? How young is too young for slumber parties?

Yes, I’m excited for her to get a bigger world view and be exposed to cultural differences, but I’m also having to expand my trust circle with people I don’t know. And while I’d like to think “we’ll just address that topic when we come to it,” I feel like there are some topics we need to discuss beforehand, especially when it’s an issue of safety: guns, drugs and alcohol, body safety (“good touch, bad touch”). We have made passing comments at times on these subjects and have talked lots about bodies and body parts but how do I explain it’s not ok for someone to touch her there without making her think someone WILL try to touch her there? I don’t want to scare her. How do I explain if she is at a friends house and sees adults or teens doing drugs she needs to call me ASAP? I don’t even think she understands what cigarettes are!  How do I ask a parent my 20 questions about guns/weapons in their home so I don’t come off sounding offensive or accusatory? I need a script of the exact things to say!

I don’t want to introduce her to scary topics or make her fearful that someone will do harm to her just because she doesn’t know them. Some would say that at four years of age I don’t need to be concerned with these things yet but I would MUCH rather be discussing what to do if you find a gun at a friends house with her NOW than at a hospital. I would MUCH rather be discussing that she’s in charge of who touches her body NOW than after some scary phone call from a principal.

So where’s my script?! I’m gleaning wisdom from other friends on how they’ve approached the topics with their kids. I have friends who are child therapists with a wealth of knowledge and advice. I’m sure the school counselor will also be addressing these topics with the kids but really, it is my job as a parent to guide her and inform her. I WANT to be that person, but I also don’t want to scare her. How much is too much info? As always, my “go to source”…books from the library. I think if I read them beforehand to scan for appropriateness and then we read together as a family, we can discuss and ask questions. Books seem easiest because we already read to her and it seems more informal that sitting down saying “We’ve got some important issues to discuss with you sweetie……” I think there will also be a lot of prayer exercising on my part as well! I may still be unclear of the exact words or script, but I do know it’s too important to not discuss at all.

How do you address these topics with your children or other families? Where did you get your “script” from?

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4 Responses to Where’s My Parenting Script?!

  1. Chellie July 18, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    I read a great blog post once from a girl who talked about how her family doesn’t have “secrets” but they do have “surprises.” It was mostly about teaching your child they can talk to you about anything. Also teaching them if someone does something to them and says not to tell they would understand to tell.
    Also, someone told me, “There’s no rule that you have to let your child go to a sleepover. It’s OK to say no.” I feel like I will do what I can to avoid sleepovers until I know my child is old enough to stand up to or avoid peer pressure. I feel like the gun thing falls in that category too.

    • Katie July 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Good ideas. That sleepover thing is something we still haven’t decided on but for the most part I do think at 4 she is too young for it now, unless we know the family very well!

  2. Maralee Skaggs July 18, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    When your children make friends – you usually make friends with their parents. I would not allow my young children to go to a sleep-over at the house of someone who I am not also friends with at a young age. That said, you still don’t “know” people, and those who work hard to gain your trust can sometimes be the most dangerous. The issues are addressed at school, and I know our Pediatrician also addressed it during exams. He would preface and exam with, “It is ok for me your doctor to check you, or mom and dad to help you with things, but where you undies cover is not for other people”. At school they constantly address situations and circumstances in a child friendly way. Children do process differently what they hear so don’t be surprised what you child takes away from a talk. They may say something shocking to you, if so – call and discuss it with the school so you get the full story before assuming that is what they were taught, kids talk a LOT and don’t always say things correctly or how it was presented. Regarding guns – the NRA has a campaign for kids – tell them, “If you see a gun 1) DON’T touch! 2) LEAVE the area! 3) Tell and adult. My boys were at a friends house whose family we were close too when they walked in and the gun rack was on the floor and all of the guns were laid out (Dad hunted and was cleaning them). They followed the plan, my friend called to tell me about it, and they also told me when they got home about it. Teaching them how to be smart is what it’s all about. Always keep communication open.

    • Katie July 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      These are all great points! Thanks for sharing!

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