The news is scary. It’s real. When I was little and saw something on tv that frightened me, my parents told me “Don’t worry. It’s just TV. It’s not real.” I knew then not to worry – my world was safe. Now I’m an adult and I know that it’s pretty much all real. It’s terrifying. Don’t believe me? Watch an hour of the news. If your local news doesn’t do it, tune in to the national news.
The main worry on my mind today – like most days – is our kids. We always wonder if we’ve told them enough. Did we warn them of dangers? Did we mention everything we should? Do we really have to tell them some of this stuff?
Did we tell them exactly what to do and are they doing it? There’s not always much you can do about that last one, but here’s a few things that you can tell them that might ease a little worry over today’s headlines.
10 Things I Need to Tell My Kids
First of all, what in the world is going on with Tide pods. . . . and what else should I have told my children that I thought they had the sense to already know or that I couldn’t possibly foresee. . .
1. Don’t eat detergent. I can’t believe I even have to say this.
It’s all over the news. Who knew about these challenges? Kids are becoming sick – even dying – from it. The challenge and seemingly fun dare can kill you. What in the world are they thinking? Keep that thing out of your mouth! In fact, if it’s not food, don’t put it in your mouth at all. And furthermore, if you’re doing something just for the “views”. . . . DON’T. Honestly.
2. Don’t throw away your change.
In other words, don’t discard money. Another head-scratcher. My friend tells me that local cashiers at the grocery see it every day. Since everyone is using debit and credit cards – or PayPal and Venmo – money doesn’t seem to mean anything unless it’s in bill form. Kids tell cashiers to “keep the change – I’ll just throw it away anyway”.
I’m dumbfounded. Put the change in your pocket or purse. . . . keep it in a bottle. My son recently cashed in his change jar and got $180. Yes, it’s real money. Hang onto it. Gees.
You know – the card with the direct link to your checking account? Also real money. Always use a credit card for online purchases. Your obligations to fraudulent use vary by state, but it’s easier everywhere to dispute a credit card charge. It’s also easier to have your credit card charges in question than your cash unavailable because some crook accessed it first.
4. If the railroad track gate is down, don’t go around it.
Ever. Two people died in our area doing this in the past ten days. Two! In separate incidents. Please. Just. Wait.
5. If you need to go to the doctor, go to the doctor.
Please. Parents are not the only ones who can make appointments. And once you’re 18, we really can’t even talk to a doctor about you without your permission. We are always here if you need us. Feel free to ask for advice. Then make the appointment yourself. (And remember that an annual checkup is always a good idea!)
6. Avoid putting yourself in the middle of a known bad situation.
If you think you probably shouldn’t be there. . . leave. A freshman girl is now on probation at college because she walked into a dorm room where everyone was smoking weed and sat down instead of leaving. When they got busted by the RA, she got busted, too. Remember that guilty-by-association warning you heard your parents say? So true. Don’t be afraid to walk away from trouble.
7. Do keep some cash on you.
Credit card machines go down. Stuff happens. An entire stretch of credit card access recently went down close to our home. The only way to buy gas? Yup, cash. Imagine that. Even those coins that you tossed would have worked. If you can’t keep a small amount of cash, keep a reserve bill in your purse or wallet – at least a twenty. Don’t spent it unless it’s an emergency. It’s your safety net. Your mother will sleep better because of it.
8. Don’t walk home alone at night.
This is not just a girl thing so everyone needs to listen. Guys are victims too – of all kinds of crimes. I know you think you’re big and strong, and maybe you are. However, you are not the invincible character you imagine. There are some bad people out there and I don’t want them to ever meet you. Be careful please. Don’t ever take sketchy shortcuts. Take an Uber or taxi if there’s any question. Speaking of this. . .
9. Have a plan. This is not a big deal.
How can you leave your house without knowing this? It’s just two steps. 1. How are you getting there? 2. How are you getting back home? It doesn’t matter if it’s a party, a school or work event – it’s anything! If you don’t have the Uber app installed and ready, do that, too. A safety net when your plans fail you. You’re going to need a few of those. Call it adulting – call it being responsible – call it allowing your parents to sleep at night. Plan ahead.
Parents worry about their children when they don’t hear from them. It is NOT a no-news-is-good-news scenario. And don’t tell us not to worry – it doesn’t work like that. Humor us. It doesn’t take much. We are happy with a text, a call or even seeing an insta-pic or Facebook post. You really want to make our day? Call us and talk for a while. We love it that you have your wings, but we miss your daily presence in our home. If you really want to send us over the edge of happy, end the call with a quick “Love You!”
You can’t imagine it now, but one day you will miss someone worrying about you. It’s true. You will miss our telling you stuff, sending you informative texts and tagging you online. You may have people in your life who care about you deeply, but no one ever worries about you like a parent worries about a child. You won’t “get” this until you have children. Then you will become us. (A whole ‘nother kind of scary!)
You will understand why we bugged you about this stuff and tried to warn you of every possible danger in the world. It’s really very simple. It’s what these “things” are all about. Reminding you about the little things that we hope you already know. Keeping you safe. Giving you all the information we can so you make smart decisions. Hoping you will use your head to make smart decisions.
We can’t help ourselves so you might as well get used to it (if you haven’t already). It’s not stopping. In fact, the reason we do it is the beauty among the worry. It’s because we love you. Now go call your mom.
Photo Credit: DaytripperUniversity