8 Lessons You Need To Teach Your Kids To Keep Them Safe
It is Question and Answer LIVE and today’s question was: How do I keep my teenage daughter safe now that she is independent? Answer: 8 Lessons You Need To Teach Your Kids To Keep Them Safe
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Transcript for 8 Lessons You Need To Teach Your Kids To Keep Them Safe:
Today we will talk about children’s physical safety. Don’t miss this Q and A Live video. I will be giving you 8 Must-Have-Lessons you need to do with your child today, whether you have an 8-year-old or an 18-year-old- it doesn’t matter.
Hi, My name is Kristina, founder of The Impactful Parent, and I come here every Thursday to answer one of your questions LIVE. If you have a question for me next week, you can directly message me on social media or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions are kept anonymous.
Okay, let’s talk about our question today: How Do I Keep My Teenage Girl Safe now that she is an independent young person doing her own things?
I know that letting your teen become more independent is scary. The best way to combat your fears and keep your child safe is to teach them how to stay safe. Today I will give you my 8 MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY LESSONS YOU NEED TO TEACH YOUR CHILD. And yes- teach them these 8 lessons at ANY age. You should practice and talk about these safety tips at least once a year, like a fire drill. Repeating this conversation once a year is super impactful! It will allow your child to grow with the lesson, understand it in new ways. As they grow, the lessons become ingrained in their brain. The more the lessons are revisited, your chances increase that your child will do the right thing if presented in a situation where they need to call on their skills.
Lesson 1: Teach your child to be aware of their surroundings. Now, more than ever, kids are distracted from the world because they stare at a screen. Parents will teach their children to put down the phone when they drive, but many forget to teach their children to put down the phone when they walk. Walking with your head looking down and distracted by a screen makes your child an easy target for profiling, mugging, kidnapping, and other offenses. Teach your child to walk with their head up. Walk with confidence and direction. When you walk with purpose and aware of your surroundings, you minimize your appeal to be threatened. Plus, don’t just talk about walking with purpose and the phone put away, but also have your child physically practice it. Muscle memory is sometimes what people have to rely on when in a tense and unfamiliar situation. Creating all the lessons today into muscle memory by repeatedly acting out scenarios is, hands down, the most effective way to teach your child these lessons. They will remember them and use them in times of need.
I make Lesson 1 a game with my kids. I may go to the park and have them close their eyes and tell me what is around them? What do they remember seeing? Practice being observant of your surroundings.
Lesson 2: Teach your child to move out of reach. I highly suggest putting your children into some sort of martial art or self-defense classes if possible. However, if you can’t enroll your child in that kind of extracurricular activity, at the very least, teach your child HOW to move out of reach of someone trying to grab them. Whether you roleplay an aggressive boyfriend/girlfriend, a stranger is trying to give your kids candy, or just play that good old “Try-and-slap-my-hands-on-top-of-your-hands” game, teach your child HOW to move away from people with intention. Teach them how to step back also. Have them use more than just their upper body to shy away. Teach your child how to step away and run too.
Lesson 3: Staying out of reach. Just like lesson 2, kids need to practice staying out of reach. Teach your child how to keep moving with intentionality and confidence. Roleplay being a kidnapper. Or, for older children, roleplay a pushy boyfriend/girlfriend that won’t take no for an answer. Either way, practice CONTINUOUSLY moving away. This brings me to lesson 4.
Lesson 4 is: Teach your child to say NO, and STOP. Have your child practice holding their ground. Have them practice saying no and moving away. Teach your child how to remove someone’s hand off their body and step away. Lesson 4 is more than just learning how to say NO and STOP; but it also includes teaching your child the body language they need to accompany those words. No one will listen to your child if they only learn how to say no weakly. Kids need to practice standing tall, standing confident, saying no with conviction, and make eye contact with their perpetrators.
Lesson 5: Teach your child how to set boundaries for their physical and mental wellbeing. Teach your child that boundaries are important. We can’t be happy when we spread ourselves too thin, are trying to please everybody, and are worried about what others will think of us. With younger kids, practice saying, “Please stop” to peers and adults. Practice holding boundaries when someone is insisting and won’t take no for an answer. Teach your child how to turn down invitations politely and with assertion. For older kids, practice saying, “Stop or I’ll leave.” From an early age, praise your child for setting boundaries on their physical space and with their mental wellbeing.
Lesson 6: Teach your child to always announce where they are AND get permission before they change their plan about going anywhere with anyone. Even when my children were little and left the room, I had them get in the habit of always telling me where they were. Yes, it is a little weird to announce if you are leaving the room to go to the bathroom, but in my household- that is what we do because we always tell someone where we are. As a young children, I made it a habit to announce their whereabouts that as my teenagers grew, it felt weird to them to hide their plans from me. Even if you have an older child, teach them to announce where they are and always check in before changing their plans.
Lesson 7: Teach your child to always have a Plan B. For young children, this is going to be a discussion with you, the parent. What will you do if you get lost? What will you do if you’re waiting for me? What will you do if you don’t make the team? Teaching your child to have a Plan B is reassuring to the child and creates security. It shows them that things won’t always work out the way we wanted, but that’s okay because they have a plan B. I find that children who have a plan B are more confident and less traumatized when things don’t go as planned. For teenagers, Plan B is even more important. Teach your child to have a Plan B every time they go to a party. Every time they feel peer pressure, and always create a safe way “out” when they find they are in a bad situation.
Lesson 8: Teach your child to fight, scream, kick, and go crazy if someone is threatening them. This is a big one. Most kids get suppressed by adults who are up to no good because the adult says that they will “Tell on them” or “Hurt their family.” Kids will suppress other kids because they make threats like, “If you don’t do what I want, then next time is going to be worse.” It doesn’t really matter what kind of threat your child may receive; they need to know that the right course of action is to make a commotion and tell a trusted adult. Do NOT hide and give the perpetrator more power. It is scary for any child to be threatened, but the threats are worse when your child doesn’t know what to do and feels helpless to help themselves. Teach your child to take back their power by making a commotion.