Parents act to protect kids from street attacks

Enrolling children in self defence classes, warning them about the dangers of alcohol, drawing up a list of no-go zones and even taking them to meet victims of violence are just some of the strategies parents are using to protect them from increasingly vicious street attacks.

The New Year's Eve bashing which left Thornleigh teenager Daniel Christie fighting for his life has spurred parents to become even more vigilant about the safety of their children.

The campaign director of advocacy group The Parenthood, Felicity Moore, said it was impossible for parents to protect their children at all times.

''Parents can only do so much,'' she said. ''We aren't there with them when they go out into the world on their own and we can only hope that our community leaders can find a way to put a stop to this kind of underground culture.''

But parents are also taking matters into their own hands, turning to preventive measures such as educating children about how to respond if confronted.

''Parents are worried by the increasing number of incidences of this type of violence - young men being king hit while on a night out with friends in unprovoked attacks,'' Ms Moore said. ''Many parents are now looking into ways they can 'future-proof' their kids, including enrolling their sons and daughters into self-defence classes.''

She said one father took his teenage sons to a rehabilitation unit to see the impact of violence first hand while many parents have started to educate their children about the dangers of alcohol from a young age. Child and adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, the father of two sons, said parents should still allow their children freedom but set firm boundaries.

''I tell my own sons to avoid places that are known trouble spots and I specify the areas which they should steer clear of,'' he said.

''I know this sounds pathetically obvious, but don't draw attention to yourself, be mindful of what you wear, and that goes for boys as well as girls. Blend in with the crowd.''

He said parents should advise their children not to make eye contact with strangers and avoid confrontation.

Family psychologist Michael Hawton said parents needed to speak frankly with their children about the potential for violence and what is driving it.

''Rather than being over-protective, I think parents and we as a society have to confront it and look at what is making young men behave this way,'' he said.

Anxious parents are seeking to 'future proof' their children against violence.

Anxious parents are seeking to 'future proof' their children against violence.


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