Ensuring the safety of your child is one of the
most difficult but important aspects of parenting.
It would be nice if we could train and arm our
children with some pepper spray or a stun gun
and feel safe sending them out into the world,
but we all know that is not the case.
Children are inherently trusting or easily convinced
that something would be okay, even if at first it
appears not. The old “man in a van with candy”
scenario isn’t too far of a stretch.
What are the most important things parents
should tell children about safety?
1. Always check first with a parent, guardian, or
trusted adult before going anywhere, accepting
anything, or getting into a car with anyone.
2. Do not go out alone. Always take a friend with
when going places or playing outside.
3. Say no if someone tries to touch you, or treats
you in a way that makes you feel scared,
uncomfortable, or confused. Get out of the situation
as quickly as possible.
4. Tell a parent, guardian, or trusted adult if you
feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
5. There will always be someone to help you, and
you have the right to be safe.
What should a parent know when talking to a
child about safety?
1. Don’t forget your older children. Children aged
11 to 17 are equally at risk to victimization. At the
same time you are giving your older children more
freedom, make sure they understand important
safety rules as well, online as well as offline in the
2. Speak to your children in manner that is calm
and non-threatening. Children do not need to be
frightened to get the point across. In fact, fear can
thwart the safety message, because fear can be
paralyzing to a child.
3. Speak openly. Children will be less likely to
come to you about issues enshrouded in secrecy.
If they feel that you are comfortable discussing the
subject at hand, they may be more forthcoming.
4. Do not teach “stranger danger.” Children do not
have the same understanding of “strangers” as
adults; the concept is difficult for them to grasp.
Based on what we know about those who harm
children, people known to children and/or their
families actually present greater danger to children
than do “strangers.” It is much more beneficial to
children to help them build the confidence and
self-esteem they need to stay as safe as possible
in any potentially dangerous situation they encounter
rather than teaching them to be “on the look out”
for a particular type of person.
5. Practice what you preach. You may think your
children understand your message, but until they
can incorporate it into their daily lives, it may not
be clearly understood. Find opportunities to practice
“what if” scenarios. If an incident occurs in your
community and your child asks you about it, speak
frankly but with reassurance. Explain to your children
that you want to discuss the safety rules with them,
so that they will know what to do if they are ever
confronted with a difficult situation.
6. Teach your children that safety is more
important than manners. In other words, it is more
important for children to get themselves out of a
threatening situation than it is to be polite. They also
need to know that it is okay to tell you what happened,
and they won’t be tattletales.
7. Make sure your child knows how to dial 911 and
ask for help. This is a skill that can be taught at a
relative early age. Make sure they know how, when
and why this is necessary.
One self defense product on the market that may actually
have some merit as a viable tool for a child would be a
personal alarm. As long as the child is mature enough to
realize that it is not a toy to be sounded for fun, personal
alarms are electronic devices that emit an extremely loud
The loud sound may draw much needed attention to the
situation and increases the risk of getting caught to the
assailant. The assailant would not like drawing attention
to himself and may flee the immediate area. Nothing is
foolproof, but every little bit helps. Hopefully your child
is armed with enough knowledge and tools to prevent
or escape any unfortunate situation that arises.
As your child grows up and goes away to college, you
may wish to consider some more functional and
powerful self defense options.
It would be nice to believe that nothing will happen to
you, but the reality of it is that an ounce of protection
could be worth more than a pound of cure. What is Worth
Protection to you? Your belongings? Your family? Your
Yours in safety,
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