As a parent, the biggest job you have is to keep your kid physically safe. Emotional security is critical as well, but on the hierarchy of needs, it’s a bit below making sure your child isn’t going to be harmed by any outside people or forces. Nothing is as scary for a parent as the possibility that their child may be in danger. As your kid grows up, it’s a challenge to keep him or her safe while also giving the chances to spread those proverbial wings.
When they’re playing sports
There’s so much discussion about the safety of sports these days. The biggest spotlight is shining on football, as more and more critics are wondering if it’s even possible to play the game at any level without risking permanent and severe brain damage. More and more football players of the past and present are saying they’ll do everything they can to discourage their sons from playing the sport. At the same time, though, football is the most popular sport in America, even with declining viewership numbers. It’s natural for your kid to see Tom Brady or Matt Ryan on TV and decide he or she wants to be like that. Do everything you can to direct their attention to other sports, though. Every sport carries some risk of injury, but baseball and softball seem to be a lot less dangerous than football and even hockey. Instead of throwing a football around the yard, purchase a product like Worth slowpitch softball bats and throw a softball around the yard. It’s a lot easier for kids to watch their head when playing softball then it is to simply never get tackled in football. Not everyone takes to sports like baseball and softball immediately; it’s not always as viscerally appealing as something like football. But that’s OK. Even if your kid never joins the softball team (or any team), playing a little backyard ball is still a great way to bond.
When they’re learning to drive
Many parents watch their kids grow up and dread two things: the moment when their kid is old enough to start dating, and the moment when their kid is old enough to learn how to drive. Both feel like highly fraught enterprises, although for very different reasons. It may be best for your child to learn how to drive from a driver’s ed instructor, ideally one who teaches at your high school. If that’s not possible, you may have to give your child private lessons. It can be hard to teach your own kid something like driving, so remember to be patient but firm. If he or she messes up, point it out, but remember you’re a driving instructor, not a drill instructor.
Once your kid gets license, it will be up to you to decide if to share one of the family cars or get his or her own personal vehicle. If you choose the latter, go to the dealership and ask about cars that are especially good for new drivers. Every dealership from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Fairbanks, Alaska, hears from anxious parents wondering how they can ensure their teenager stays safe on the road. Nothing will ever ease your mind completely, but making sure your child is driving the right car will help considerably.