"What we do speaks so loudly to our children that when we try to talk to them they can't hear us."
That was one of several quotes used by Dr. Scott Poland as he hammered home his message to Fulton parents Friday night to stay present as a guiding force in their children's lives.
An expert on school crisis and youth violence, Poland spent Friday afternoon with Fulton Public Schools staff regarding bullying before speaking to parents on similar topics ranging from technology use to bullying. His main argument for parents regarding how to best keep their children safe was to create a supportive environment at home and to know what they are doing as much as possible in order to guide them into making the right decisions.
"You must know what's going on in your child's life. You've got to stay involved," Poland said, a point he repeated several times throughout his hour-long presentation. "Too often, parents want to be their kid's friend," he said. "Your happiness cannot depend on whether your kid likes you right now. Always remember, you are the parent."
Poland started off with recommendations to bring back the family meal, model positive behavior, and create situations where children have the opportunity to talk about what's going on in their lives and in their heads.