The Missing Girls and DC, Six Tips For Parents To Make Their Child Safer

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I have heard a lot about the missing girls in the DC area. The Washington DC police department is saying that there is not an actual increase in the numbers of missing girls, but that through the police’s use of social media, especially through tweets they brought more awareness to the issue of missing young women. The numbers fluctuate with the last being 25 teens in the last month. I have also read that the D.C. Mayor has created a task force and other initiative to find the missing girls. I will have to applaud social media and the outcry of others for bringing more awareness to this issue. As I ponder over this issue there are some questions that come up for me, such as:

If these young girls are runaways, what is happening in their home environments?

Where are these young women’s parents in all of this?

Are we as the public being told the truth, it seems it may be more to the story?

I don’t believe they are all runaways, but what is happening to our young girls?

Either way this is an alarming story, and has shed light on the issue of missing children. My children are all grown, but my heart strings are  pulled for these young women and their families. Obviously, as I look at this situation, I see that the most vulnerable, are those that don’t seem to have family connections, or their parents may not know their whereabouts. Then there are those of lower economic groups, and certainly young women of color. While there is a lot of social issues attached to either of those thoughts. It all boils down to, how can we as parents, keep our children safe? I don’t have all the answers, but listed below are a few common sense approaches, I always used with my girls, who all have grown up to be awesome young women. In their teenage years we had our share of disagreements, and struggles, as any honest parent of teenagers will admit, but I think these ground rules helped me.

1. Know where your children are- Keep up with there schedules, there friends, and their friends families. Make an effort to meet their friends and the families of their friends. Do not let your children spend the night with any and everybody. Remember you are the parent, and ultimately you are responsible for their safety.

2. Keep up with their internet activity- You pay the bills, so you can check their phones, computers, etc whenever you like. Put any safeware protection etc, block certain things, and do what you need to do, to ensure your child’s safety.

3. Drive your children where they need to go, or make sure they are with other responsible adults that you absolutely trust. There are to many, unattended children on the bus etc. I know that there are times when you may work, or some parents do not have a car, this can be difficult. However, if they must travel on public transportation, try to get them in large groups. Ensure your child has a cell phone to be able to contact you, especially in emergencies if needed.

4. Create a safe and loving home enviroment, where your children feel loved and safe. Even if there are disagreements in the home, if children feel safe and loved they will come home. Be the person your children come to, for support, wisdom, and love.

5. Make sure, that even when they travel in groups to the mall etc, that you pick them up and drop them off. Make sure you arrive and pick them up promptly, at the agreed upon spot. If they are late, find out what is going on, investigate, get out of the car, and look for them.

6. In the unfortunate incident, that your child comes up missing, contact the police, neighbors, and friends. Form search parties, talk, use social media, posters,  use whatever or whomever you need to get the message out. Ask for help from others in searching for your child.

7. It takes a village to raise a child, we are all members of the village. Know your neighbors, ask for help and help them by reporting anything or anyone that is suspect. Protect all the children in your neighborhood, by looking or checking on them. If you see children in your neighborhood out playing, even if they are not your children, check on them periodically. Start neighbor hood watch programs. But enlist the help of your neighbors that you trust, and know. We are each other’s keeper. It is not about being nosy, it is about keeping our children safe.

These are just a few items. I thought of , do you have others, add them to the comment section.

Maintaining Joy, Finding Those Moments of Joy Throughout Your Day

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Joy, “A feeling of great pleasure and success” this is the dictionary meaning. I believe throughout the day we can experience pockets of joy. Brief moments in our lives that bring us great pleasure. Joy, and the experience of sheer joy is sometimes a choice, and other times, these blissful moments just unfold. I suggest looking for these moments, as if you were going on a treasure hunt. This makes you excited, and able to savor and carve out these precious moments everyday. We have these moments in our lives everyday, we often just let them slip by without noticing them. It’s the moment of enjoying the smell of coffee in the morning hours, a quiet moment by yourself snuggling up to a fire and reading a great book. It maybe snuggling in your lovers arms, and feeling the warmth of your love. It could be making a snowman with your six year old and enjoying life through the eyes of a six year old. All are these moments are pockets of joy ,that often become treasured memories of a life time.

I say treasure these moments, look for them, and don’t let them slip by. Often we are too busy with mundane task, and we let these valuable moments pass us by. Take the time to stop, recognize, and enjoy these pockets of blissful joy in your life.  Here are some tips to find pockets of joy everyday:

1. On those very busy days with deadlines, and task coming to you from every direction. Stop for a moment breathe, take a coffee or tea break for 10 minutes, smell the coffee, feel the warmth of the hot brew in your hands, find a spot where you can look out a window, and daydream for 10 minutes. Claim those 10 minutes as yours, and enjoy!

2.On those very busy days when you are trying to complete chores around the house, and your children are laughing at something else in the other room. Take a moment to enjoy their laughter, find out what is so funny, the best times are created when you take the time to join them. Before you know it, you have created another pocket of joy, simply by capturing the moment.

3. Your on one side of the couch, your husband or significant other is on the other side, and you are  looking at a movie. Slide up close and capture the moment to plant a big kiss or just snuggle. Both of you will find joy knowing that you have each other, and its’s a moment to say I love you without words.

4. If your parents are still living, which is a blessing in its self, send them a silly picture of you or you and your family, and follow it with a call telling them you were thinking of them.

5. Make a date for lunch, brunch, or just coffe with a dear friend to catch up or share memories, laugh and enjoy.

These are just a few, that came to me, be creative, capture, savor, and find your own pockets of joy. Take the time to savor each of those moments, by using all your senses to truly find joy in everyday life. Finding joy in your life, is the definition of success.