As I’m putting ink to paper this week to write my column, I’m having great difficulty blocking out the news of another tragedy where senseless killings were carried out in Isla Vista, California. Another 20-something male decided to end his life, and took six innocent young people with him.
What makes this incident more difficult for me is the fear I feel for my 16-year-old who is starting to date. She is going to meet young men and develop relationships. But what if she rebuffs a young man who feels like the California killer did, alienated and rejected to the point where he decides that death is the appropriate punishment.
Domestic violence, bullying, and teen dating violence are very serious issues that too many people feel too apprehensive and uncomfortable talking about. But how can we stop these incidents? We certainly can’t know or make accusations about someone else’s mental stability, and we certainly can’t lock up our teens and young adults to keep them from meeting the wrong people.
What we can do to minimize the chances of our teenagers getting into relationships with those who are emotionally unbalanced, is to take necessary measures to strengthen our sons’ and daughters’ intuitions. We can help them realize that the initial feelings they get when they have an experience are both real and valid. We can help them understand that those initial responses – whether they are good or bad – are telling them something about the situation they are in.
Here are 6 things you can begin doing immediately to help your child discover, recognize, listen to, and trust his or her own intuitive feelings and inner wisdom:
Share Experiences From Your Own Life. Create comfortable conversations with your child so you can share experiences where you listened and followed your own intuition and strong feelings to a good outcome.
Help Them Learn How to Trust Their Own Intuition. Talk openly about intuition – what it is, what it feels like, and how to respond to it. Invite them to come up with examples of times when they’ve experienced their own intuition.
Respectful Treatment by Others. Be a good role model on how to treat others, and set clear guidelines for your children on how they should expect others to treat them.
We Tell Others How to Treat Us. Share with your children that how we act around others, how we dress, and even how we talk can set precedence for how others will treat us.
Create More Silence. Create moments of peacefulness for you and your child. Ban media devices from their bedrooms and minimize unnecessary noise from televisions and radios.
Prayer, Meditation, or Just Moments of Silence. Promote prayer or meditation with your family, or simply create moments of silence. Teach them how to find and listen to the peacefulness within.
Once our children ‘spread their wings’ toward adulthood, we can’t very well control who they interact with, or especially, who they choose to date and invite into their lives. The power we possess is with what we choose to do now while we still have them at home with us. Don’t let the fear of the unknown for your child’s future paralyze you. Let it sharpen your parenting knowledge so you can do what’s best now to better prepare them for what lies ahead.