Too often we hear stories about children who have suffered at the hands of predators. While these stories can be scary, they also prompt us to prioritize our children’s safety. Here are some ways you can help your child stay safe.
1. Talk with them about it
Having an open conversation with your child doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. For example, explain to your child that they have the right to say no to someone. Don’t just emphasize stranger danger — most cases of child abuse involve relations or close friends of the victim. Teach your child some basic safety guidelines, such as using a buddy system, telling a parent where they are at all times, and having a plan of action for threatening situations. Make sure they know how to call your phone number, or 911.
2. Teach them self-protection
Even at a very young age, you can teach your child verbal defense strategies and awareness of their boundaries. Before learning how to physically defend themselves, kids should know how to be aware of their surroundings. Don’t just assume your child will automatically sense danger. You can also teach your child to defend themselves physically. Enroll them in a self-defense or martial arts class. A little bit of confidence in their self-defense abilities can go a long way.
3. Take preventative steps
When you are out with your child, be aware of where they are at all times, and keep a watchful eye on them even if they are nearby. If someone seems suspicious, intervene and remove your child from that area. Also, keep communication open with your child and help them understand the danger of keeping unsafe secrets from you. Above all, make sure you know what someone is doing with your kids, whether it’s a close relative, a pastor, or a friend.
You are your child’s first line of defense in many situations. So help them be prepared!