The statistics regarding child abductions have sky rocketed in the last couple of years. And even though no parent wants to think about something like this happening to their child (I don’t know what I would do if it happened to me?) it remains important that we teach our children how to protect themselves.
The fact of the matter is that a lot of the techniques we learned as children are not effective in today’s world. Our children would not get much value from these lessons. We need to look carefully at what we teach our kids. Making sure that they are properly equipped to handle such situations (even though we never want them to be in these situations).
My strongest example of this: As a child I was taught that if someone grabs you, you need to scream and bite and kick – do anything to get away. But I realize now (after reading a great article over at Anxious Toddlers here) that a child screaming and shouting could easy be interpreted as a tantrum and ignored. It’s all about teaching your child what to shout.
Also, most times the abductions occur through someone you (and your kids) know. Yikes!! So we need to make sure that our kids know how to act when approached by anyone. This includes people they know; in other words, teaching stranger danger isn’t effective on its own.
Don’t depend on the schools to teach your kids how to protect themselves. Rather take 30 min, and make sure your child knows what to do if it comes down to it. What have you got to lose? Doing this yourself ensures that you prepare your child as well as you possibly can.
Here are 6 tips on how to best teach your children how to protect themselves:
- Make sure that your kids know who to get in the car with. You need to make sure your children know who will be picking them up; whether it will be you, your partner or a grandparent – make it a habit of telling your child who will be picking them up. Also make sure they know not to go with ANYONE else.
- Your child should know that an adult should not be asking a child for help, but should ask another adult. Teach your child that if an adult asks for help, be it looking for a lost puppy (this one is SUPER important) or directions to a gas station, they should not help them (as horrible as it sounds) and they should point out that the adult should ask another adult for help and then your child must immediately come to you (or whichever adult is with him/her at the time).
- Make sure that your child knows that when someone grabs him/her that they should scream very loudly; but that they should scream “You are not my father/mother. Let me go” or “I don’t know you, let me go”.
- Another important thing to teach your child is that when someone grabs him/her they can for that moment forget all their manners and rules. They should kick, bite and hit as much as they can. It’s important that they have to do this, and whatever else it takes to get away.
- Make sure to teach your child that if they need help, and there is not an officer or store clerk nearby they should RUN to another mother with children. This is the safest option as a last resort.
- Make sure that your child understands that it is not ok to keep secrets. Also that they definitely shouldn’t be keeping secrets from you. This is very important, because a lot of predators gain access by having ‘special secrets’ with children.
It’s never nice to even think about situations like this. However, making sure that your child is properly prepared for any event will make you sleep soundly at night.
If you have anything to add to this list, please let us know in the comments. Share your stories here, and help us all keep our children safe!