It’s a Dangerous World for Kids and Teens
We live in an era where children of all ages face unique dangers from so many directions. As parents, we struggle to keep up with the changing times and technologies. Our worst fear is that our child would be abused or traumatized. The fear can control us or paralyze us, leading us to raise fearful or naïve children.
The book outlines critical principles for protecting our children of all ages. I appreciate that it is realistic about the risks; it’s neither naïve nor fear-mongering. After reading it, I feel more equipped and prepared than paranoid or fearful. The statistics are alarming, but Lowe focuses on equipping our kids with wisdom and discernment. For example, she says that “Stranger Danger” is not a helpful phrase. She notes that most abuse occurs from people you know. There are times where our kids may need help from a stranger, and some strangers are good. Instead of instilling fear, she coaches us on how to teach kids what kind of stranger to approach and how to approach them by discerning behavior.
Practical Help: “Practice Makes Permanent”
The book is incredibly practical. She discusses some issues that I have barely thought about for different stages of parenting. How do you address sexting and pornography? What questions should you ask a babysitter? What are common characteristics of groomers? How do we train kids to be wise with technology? What about social media? Do you have a “safe word” as a family, so that your child/teen can alert you to danger without putting themselves in more danger? What should you do if a child gets lost? How should you handle sleepovers? What about dating? As my high school football coach always said, “Proper preparation leads to success.”
Above all, how do we discuss all of these topics with our kids in age-appropriate ways, to equip them to discern good from evil? I love the book’s key phrase “Practice makes permanent,” which points us to role-playing awkward situations with our kids so that they are ready for it to happen in real life.
Trust in God
Throughout the book, Lowe encourages us to employ all of the right tactics, but ultimately to trust in God. She anchors her advice in biblical wisdom. Our kids need a vibrant relationship with God, and we should pray that God would grant them discernment and moral fortitude for the situations they will face. Pray and be smart. Our greatest tool against fear is to remember who God is and all that Jesus has done for us.
Fellow parents, I encourage you to get Safe Guards by Julie Lowe and read it, so that you can wisely shield your home and equip your kids, without falling into paranoia.