Teach Kids to be Safe, Not Scared
As parents, we need to walk a fine line between preparing our children to face dangers safely, and scaring them to death. We must bravely face the issues, interpret them, and then present information to kids in an honest and straightforward way.
Teach kids what is and is not appropriate touch. Then teach them to look someone in the eye and tell them to stop. Make sure they know they have the right to say no. Never foster good manners at the expense of personal safety. Children need to feel secure that if they offend someone, you're not going to get mad. Most child molesters are people very close to the children who initially take advantage of their relationship to the child as well as social standards that aim for politeness and obedience in children.
Teach kids to stick up for themselves in all kinds of situations so that they naturally develop a confidence and respect for themselves.
Make sure kids understand that not only is nobody allowed to look at or touch their private parts, but that they shouldn't ask the child to look at theirs either, or at pictures of private parts.
Teach kids to trust that feeling in the belly that tells them somebody or something is icky.
Safety Rules of Thumb
- Buddies are better - teach kids to be safe together instead of vulnerable alone
- Check with parents before accepting anything or going anywhere
- Find another Mommy - a mother is the safest stranger to approach
- 9-1-1 - all kids should know how to call for help
What If Someone Has a Gun?
Keeping kids safe from violence in school is about two things. First, they need to know other kids and practice kindness. It is isolated children who want to hurt others. Second, they need to be unafraid to tell if they fear a classmate may commit a violent act.
Children who attack other children at school are most likely suicidal as well as homicidal. They have nothing to lose.
Parents need to discuss upsetting events in the media because kids know more than you think. They may not talk to you about it, but you can bet they are aware and that knowledge can cause a lot of stress if not discussed openly. You need to help them put events into perspective. A little honesty goes a long way.
Let kids know how unlikely it is that someone would try to harm them at school, but that anything is possible, and yes, if that were to happen they may get hurt. If you're honest, they'll listen to the rest of what you have to say.