In an ideal world, your children would never have to interact with police officers. Your kids would always be safe and nothing traumatic or illegal would ever take place around them. But sadly, this isn’t the world we live in. Because of this, it’s important that you take the time to teach your kids how and why they should interact or respond to police if they ever find themselves being approached or near them.
To help you with conveying these ideas to your child or teenager, here are three things you should teach your kids about interacting with police officers.
Teach Respect By Example
The main job of a police officer is to protect and serve the community they work in. Under these guidelines, there should be no reason to be afraid of a police officer. However, many adults and children get very nervous around police officers, which can make for some scary or uncomfortable situations.
To combat this, Lucy Taylor, a contributor to Today.com, recommends that the first thing you should teach your kids about interacting with police is to show them respect. If you respect them, they should show you the same respect.
For many kids, simply telling them this information isn’t enough; you have to show them through your own example. Even if you’re getting stopped for a traffic ticket, try to remain courteous both when they police officer is there and once the traffic stop is over. If you’re able to show police officers respect when you see or interact with them, this will rub off on your kids as well.
Try Your Best To Remain Calm
Another key aspect to having a positive interaction with a police officer is to remain calm. The job of a police officer is not an easy one. And when the people the officers are interacting with are jumpy or nervous, it can make the officer more nervous as well.
Some things you can teach your kids about remaining calm when around police officers, according to PBS.org, are to avoid getting into arguments with police officers, keeping their hands in plain sight, not running away from the police, and not acting threatening with their words or body language.
Always Ask For Your Parent And A Lawyer
While interacting with a police officer can be brief and innocent, if your children are ever being questioned by police, it can be helpful for them to know what to say and what not to say.
According to Arionne Nettles and Monica Eng, contributors to NPR.org, aside from giving a police officer their name, you should teach your kid or teen to ask for their parent and a lawyer before answering any other questions. This can help to protect your child from saying the wrong thing and getting into trouble.
If you’re worried about your kids interacting with police officers, consider using the tips mentioned above to teach them how to do so safely.