When I was a teen, I would get so annoyed with my parents because it felt like they would hardly let me do anything. Little did I know that they were only trying to keep me safe.
I wasn’t allowed to be out late. I wasn’t allowed to go to parties. I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at any of my friends' houses. I didn’t get it at the moment. It felt like they didn't want me to have fun. Now that I am a little bit older and now that I understand this world a little more clearer, I am so thankful my parents were very watchful of me. The world can be a dangerous place, filled with people who are hurting and in return hurt other people. A lot of bad things go down in secret. Spending the night at a friends house without really knowing what their family is like is risky. You think you know your friend but do you really know their family? This is not to judge people or to treat people differently but to be aware that what happens in our home is not what happens in other people’s homes and what happens in other people’s homes might be something that would never happen in our home. Everyone has a different home life and because of that we should be very aware of where we spend the night. It’s best to have boundaries about where we lay at night just to be safe. Being safe means staying away from possible danger. As a kid I would say “You can’t assume everything and everyone is dangerous”-- and that’s true. You shouldn’t. But being safe means learning more about a situation before you fully give it your trust. We shouldn't just give in to a situation just because it seems like it has good intentions. Be fully informed, be fully safe.
Safety is being away from harm, physical, emotional or mental. Safety is really important because when we aren’t safe, we tend to want to run away or isolate, or work even harder to try and create safe places. Safety in relationships looks like being able to have honest conversations about emotions, feelings, thoughts and ideas. It can also mean that you know the people in your life will not hit, slap,kick or physically hurt you in any way. Safety can also mean that you can think your own thoughts, are encouraged to be your own person and are not controlled or manipulated by someone in your life. Safety also means that you have physical places you can go and be in that you are not in any type of risk of being harmed. An example of safety may be having a classroom to eat lunch in at school because the cafeteria is where you get made fun of or is too loud and you need some quiet in your day. Safety might also be a close relationship with a parent or family member where you know that they will always listen and be there for you and will not cause you any harm. Safety is not just putting up barriers so people can’t hurt us (although we do that when we’ve been hurt). In order to feel safe in our relationships we need to be heard, seen and given space to process what is going on in our lives. An example of safety in my life is my relationship with my husband. He is caring, kind, supportive, listens well to me - even when I’m being ridiculous, he allows me time to process emotions and actually helps me to talk about things that cause me stress. Having people in our lives who listen and help us is so crucial to growing in maturity. Make sure you have at least one person in your life who is your cheerleader, they want the very best for you and create safe space for you to be yourself.
Life can sometimes be difficult and it could throw us curveballs. There is a saying that says; when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Faced with a situation of instability, human beings tend to have the need to feel safe. We all need a home to come to, take off our shoes, make ourselves comfortable, and feel safe. Today, I am going to focus on how to ensure safety for children. When life gets complicated kids tend to notice something is wrong. Although young children may not understand the details of a crisis, they can perceive the feelings of the adults around them. It is important to comfort and reassure young children. Make sure you tell your kids that you love them, and that you will help them and you will take care of them. Explain that they are safe, and that you will keep them safe.
Even the youngest children need to express their feelings and fears. Pay attention to their concerns, their stories. Resist the urge to say, "There is no reason to be afraid." Tell them instead that you at that age also had fears and how you overcame them. Talk to your children, hug them and make them feel cared for.
You might be reading these posts and thinking to yourself, “I don’t need to read about safety, I am already safe!” You might also be thinking about how annoying your parents are when they tell you not to do something that you really want to do. But, have you ever thought that maybe they are just trying to help keep you safe? My parents were very trusting of me in high school and so I was allowed to hang out with friends on Friday nights and did not typically have a curfew, the only thing I had to do was text my mom every couple of hours just to check in. I also had to text her if I was going to be driving anywhere, even if it was just to McDonalds for a midnight snack with my friends. I remember being thankful that I did not have a curfew, but at the same time I was super annoyed that I even had to check in at all. They trusted me, so why should I have to constantly let them know when I was driving, or just simply check in so often?! Lookin back now, I get it. They wanted to keep me safe. It is no secret that in high school we feel pressured to do a lot of things, some good things, but some not so good things and things that could potentially put us in danger. My parents wanted to know where I was so if they needed to come get me, they could. They wanted to know when I was getting behind the wheel of my car because, even though I wasn’t drinking it was a Friday night and others probably were and could possibly be on the roads. I don’t know why I was even annoyed to be honest because it took me less than a minute to shoot a quick, “I am still at Mady’s house,” or, “hey we are going to get food and then going to Kaylee’s.” Literally less than a minute. I get it now. So the next time you are annoyed that a caring adult wants to know where you are or what you are doing, be thankful because they just want you safe.