Clark Atlanta Student Alexis Crawford‘s death is heartbreaking. She was killed by her best friend/roommate and her boyfriend. Many parents have shared sentiments of teaching their kids not to trust anyone. However, I feel that is vague and undefined. Instead of teaching our babies, “trust no one,” we should teach them:

Pay attention to how your friends treats others

Do they steal? Have a lack of integrity? Do they lie? Are they manipulative to others? How far will they go to not look bad in the public eye? Are they unaffected when they hurt others? These actions may seem harmless when it’s not being done to you, but the tables will eventually turn. We need to teach our kids how to be of good character and what to look for in others.

Pay attention to the company your friends keep

Alexis’s roommate (Jordyn Jones), who was involved in killing her, had a boyfriend (Barron Brantley) who had several prior arrests and charges. Obviously Barron wasn’t trust worthy or a person of good character and if Jordyn was with him that means to a certain degree she accepted his behavior.

Pay attention to how they support you in time of trouble

Days before Alexis was killed, she filed a sexual assault report against Jordyn’s boyfriend. Apparently, the three of them were at the house drinking together… The boyfriend made a move on Alexis, and when she objected, he claimed he thought it was Jordyn… Alexis eventually goes to her room, Barron follows. Jordyn goes and locks herself in the restroom. Allegedly Jordyn later found Barron in Alexis’s room with his shirt off where he claimed he didn’t have sex with her. After the incident, Alexis and Jordyn stopped talking and later got into a physical fight. Jordyn clearly did not support Alexis neither was she loyal to the friendship.

Ask your child/siblings, “How are you doing emotionally?”

It’s not a guarantee your kid will open up, but it’s a better opener to discuss pressing issues outside of “how is your day going,” where most people give a generic response. After the night of drinking, Alexis filed a sexual assault charge against Barron and reported to friends she was afraid to sleep in her bed. According to news sources, none of her family seemed to have known.

It shouldn’t be about never trusting anyone. It should be about learning what it means to have good character, asserting boundaries, and trusting your intuition.