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*** Monthly Feature Column ***
Building Assets in your Kids
by Kelly Curtis, M.S. from Pass the Torch
Have you seen my book yet?
With warmer weather and longer days, come family fun and play, but also more opportunity for bumps and bruises, bike crashes and road worries. I devote an entire chapter of my book to the topic of safety, because empowerment is such a key component.
Research shows that the more Developmental Assets children have, the more likely they’ll resist risky behaviors in the future. And “safety” is one of the characteristics of healthy, caring, resilient kids. It falls within the Empowerment category and is defined for young children as: Parents, caregivers, teachers, neighbors and the community take action to ensure children’s health and safety.
May is National Youth Traffic Safety month, and although this may seem like a topic that only applies to parents of teens, it’s really not. Adults can more directly promote safety in younger children, than they can teenagers. Our challenge as parents is to establish safe habits with young children, while laying the groundwork for them to take ownership for their own safety as they grow.
Probably the most powerful way to encourage children to internalize values about safety is to model them yourself. It’s easy to forget, but we’ve already begun to teach our kids to drive, when they’re still in a car seat. My husband and I need to remind ourselves about this consistently. Here are a few questions we ask:
• Do I wear my helmet when I take the kids for a spin on the bikes?
• Do I look both ways before I cross the street?
• Do I wear my own seat belt when I get behind the wheel?
• Do I observe the speed limit?
• Do I pull over the car before taking a cell phone call?
The list can go on and on, but the concept remains the same. Our kids learn far more from what we show them, than from what we tell them.
What safety goals will you commit to model this month?
Thanks for joining in to build assets in your kids! I look forward to seeing you again next month for Positively Speaking.
Kelly Curtis is a Wisconsin school counselor and author of Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things. To read more about Kelly, please visit her Weblog, Pass the Torch.
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