As parents of three wonderful children, our number one concern is for the safety and well being of our kids. Speaking as a concerned, protective, and hands on father - my biggest fear is to not know where my children are.
Please take a moment and look at the pictures of these missing children.
We have a 16 year old son, an 11 year old daughter, and a 6 year old daughter. Our 16 year old and 11 year old both have cell phones and as a family we are in constant communication (voice calls and text messaging). Our kids know the rule - never ignore an incoming phone call or text message from a family member, and to always let us know where they are at all times. Our 6 year old daughter is never out of our sight, except when she is in school.
As concerned parents, we educate our children on safety and do our best to get the point across that there are bad people out there that would do them harm if given the opportunity. We are honest with them and tell them that many children who are taken from their families and go missing are harmed, raped, and even killed.
(Parents - be honest with your kids. Simply saying, "Don't talk to strangers." is not enough.)
I've have regular conversations with each of my children letting them know to come to me right away - no matter what - if anyone ever touches them in an inappropriate manner, hurts them or ever threatens to hurt them or tells them that they will hurt the family if they "tell on them". My kids know that I'm "Super Dad" and that I will protect them and the family from harm - no matter what the threat or who the threat comes from. It is my confidence and their confidence in me that empowers my children to know that they are safe, and to feel safe knowing that I have their back - no matter what.
Having two daughters, I know how important it is for them to have a strong and loving fatherly figure. By being there for them and giving them attention, my girls won't feel the need to try and get the attention of some loser males out there.
(It is my belief that the majority of women that are abused by boyfriends or spouses - lacked a positive loving father figure while growing up .)
My daughters are always hugging and kissing me, and I always stop what I'm doing to hug and kiss them back. My daughters also hug and kiss their older brother on a regular basis, and I tell my son to accept their sisterly love and not to push them away.
I've made it clear to my son that both he and I must give our girls the respect, attention, and love they need and treat them like princesses - so that they will have high expectations when it comes to their future relationships.... and not end up choosing a loser for a boyfriend or marrying an abusive man.
Parents, hug your kids - just because. You don't need a reason. Do it - just because.
My wife and I hug our kids frequently. We even hug our big 16 year old son who stands 5ft 10in, weighs 220, and has 17 inch biceps. I see him when he comes home from school, ask him how his day at school was, and give him a big hug at the same time.
All three of our kids think nothing of it to just walk up to me or sit next to me if I'm working on my computer and give me a hug and say, "Love you."
Kids learn by example. They see my wife and I hugging throughout the day, and they each get hugs from my wife and I throughout the day... so they reciprocate and pass out hugs to the family - just because.
(My 6 year old daughter just came up to me while I was making this post, sat next to me on the couch, and hugged me for a couple of minutes.)
As a Dad... tell you what... there's nothing better than when your kids hug you - just because they want to.
(Gotta go... my 6 year old just came back to hug me some more.)