Parenting Matters: Keep children safe with these 10 tips

<p>Russ Wolf, School Resource Unit Supervisor, Naperville Police Department.</p>

Russ Wolf, School Resource Unit Supervisor, Naperville Police Department.

Welcome to the Collaborative Youth Team’s column, “Parenting Matters!” The Collaborative Youth Team is a partnership of 24 youth and family service organizations and agencies that are here to serve you.

Each month, a different partner will offer practical tips for restoring balance within our families and for building resiliency in our youth.

This month’s column is shared by Sgt. Russ Wolf, school resource unit supervisor for the Naperville Police Department.

Parents and guardians are an essential part of preventing youth violence and promoting pro-social behavior. Demonstrating an interest in your children’s lives is one of the most important steps caregivers can take. Open communication between children and parents is essential.

Here are my top 10 action steps that parents or guardians can take with children:

1. Role model appropriate behaviors. Demonstrate healthy ways to express anger and relieve stress. Do not show anger in verbally or physically abusive ways.

2. Establish and consistently enforce household rules and reward positive behavior.

3. Monitor and supervise your children’s whereabouts (where they are, how they can be reached, and how to reach their friends and parents). Encourage and facilitate their association with friends who seem to reinforce good behavior. Make your home a place where children and their well-behaved friends are welcome, comfortable, adequately supervised and safe.

4. Monitor and supervise your children’s use of the Internet.

5. Monitor and supervise your children’s reading material, television, video games and music for inappropriately violent content.

6. Provide a quality after-school environment for children.

7. Get to know your children’s friends and families. Establish a network to exchange information with other parents.

8. Promote a healthy and safe lifestyle by prohibiting the illegal or irresponsible use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in your home.

9. Watch your children carefully for any troubling behaviors. Parents and guardians should learn the warning signs for at-risk children and how to get help from school or community professionals.

10. If needed, attend anger management, parenting skills or conflict resolution classes offered by the school or other organizations.

Remember that, even through the teenage years, parents are the primary influence over their children’s behavior. Parents’ actions and attitudes do make a big difference!

This column is courtesy of KidsMatter, Collaborative Youth Team facilitator. To access the Community Resource Guide and Partner contact information, visit and