When children reach the age where they are allowed to spend time outside of the home without supervision, they should be taught about the rules and expectations that come with that freedom. Trespassing takes different forms and can have serious consequences. Talking to children about trespassing may not seem as important as discussing issues related to drug or alcohol use, but it should still be addressed.
1. Explain the Dangers
Areas are often off-limits for a reason. Condemned buildings or crumbling roads can collapse without warning. If anyone is in the area, they can be seriously injured. Those areas can be difficult to access, and trespassers may need to climb through broken windows or under fences to access the spaces. This can lead to cuts or abrasions that seem minor but may become infected. In less extreme cases, children may play on someone’s lawn or poke around their parent’s or sibling’s bedrooms, souring relationships with neighbors or family members.
2. Describe the Consequences
Besides being injured while trespassing, children may face legal trouble for their actions. Depending on the circumstances, older children may end up needing to obtain York County bail bonds, facing a judge and paying fines or fees. If children damage private property while trespassing, the damage will need to be repaired. They may also experience a loss of trust from family members, friends and other people in the community.
3. Find the Right Time
Trying to talk to children about serious issues should be done when everyone involved is calm and relaxed. Sitting them down when they are in the middle of a stressful homework assignment or dealing with something disappointing that happened earlier in the day can lead to frustration. If necessary, go for a walk together or go to a coffee shop or other quiet place for the conversation.
4. Discuss Peer Pressure
Even if children tend to make good decisions when they are alone, they may find themselves tempted to succumb to peer pressure. The urge to fit into a group is natural, and forming healthy relationships with friends is a vital part of growing up. However, it is important to learn how to refuse to go along with the group when bad decisions are being made. Talk about strategies for resisting peer pressure and practice scenarios together to boost children’s confidence.
Helping children understand how to navigate difficult situations is not always easy, but watching them apply those lessons as they mature can make the effort worthwhile. Keeping the lines of communication open and turning everyday events into teaching opportunities can help children learn to make good decisions.