Childhood sleep overs are often a part of growing up. As parents we do everything we can to make sure they are safe and make safe choices when they are away from home, but without our support some things aren't as easy for them as they are for adults.

Why they can't always do what we teach them:

We teach our children to stay away from guns. We quiz them and might even roleplay certain situations to make sure that they will do the right thing. Studies have shown, that in the absence of a parent, children presented with a gun from a peer will actually play with the gun.

We teach our children that if they feel funny around an adult they should trust their instincts, avoid them, and call to come home. We also teach them to respect their elders. Calling home because an adult makes them uncomfortable can feel like they are being disrespectful. It can also be scary to explain what is going on over the phone.

We teach them to avoid R rated movies, drugs, and alcohol, but how do they get you to pick them up without sounding like a rat?

A tool you can use to help them:

Choose a question your child can ask. One example is "Is grandpa Tom coming home tonight?" When they are asking this question, they are not lying to anyone. They don't need to explain to anyone that there is no such person as grandpa Tom, but they have just alertered you that they are uncomfortable.

What to do next:

When you hear your child ask you the secret question you respond with a way out. "Actually he's not, but I'm glad you called. I just found out that I have to work early tomorrow. I'm going to have to pick you up early."

Do not ask your child why they used the question until they have been safely picked up. In the case of an older child, you may decide they do not need to explain themselves at all. This way they do not have to choose between getting out of a bad situation or keeping their friend's secret.

This tool will give your child an easy way to do what feels right but it is still a good idea to know your child's friends, meet the adults that are in the home, and ask about gun ownership.

Author's Bio: 

Brenda Trott, M.Ed is a parenting coach who's passion is to encourage and support parents in every area of their lives. Find more information about Brenda at