How to talk to your children about danger at any age

HOUSTON - Without rules, there is chaos. With rules, you can have rebellion. When it comes to parents trying to warn their kids about danger, it might feel like talking to a wall. However, it is crucial that children not only hear but also understand your message.

Dr. Adiaha Franklin, a developmental specialist at Texas Children's Hospital, says its about finding middle ground.

"Sometimes you do have to have very clear rules of what not to do. If you take something away from children, we need to replace it with something they can do," said Dr. Franklin.

Children as young as kindergarten age can understand right versus wrong. Some of them use their "tattletale" nature to help spot something that is not right.

When it comes to teens, it may be a little harder to get their attention.  Try talking to them in their setting -- the car.

"When you are in the car riding, nobody is making eye contact. Everybody is looking out the window, and you can have wonderful conversations," said Dr. Franklin.

Since they cannot escape, this is a great time to make it clear what is OK and what is not OK. Dr. Franklin says whether it looks like it or not, they are actually listening.

"Parents are the No. 1 source of information for values for safety, so don't stop talking to your teens," said Dr. Franklin.

When it comes to reaching kids, use something they love -- technology.  There are some great websites like, where they can learn about safety in a fun way.

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