|From PEACE of Mind |
Just a few of the things we learned are how to talk with our children, using teachable moments and key words that make sense to our children even from a very young age.
For example; instead of telling your child no one but Mommy or Doctor can look at your "private parts" use a strong reference word like "SWIM SUIT AREA". They know where the swim suit area is and it provides for some strict boundaries for them to focus on.
Letting our children say "NO" to any touching they don't want and having the BACKBONE as parents to stand up for our children. Example, when they ask Uncle Sam to stop tickling them until the potty their pants, we need to listen and tell him to stop, that's our job. Uncle Sam means no harm, but it lets our children know if they tell a grown up that they need to stop something, Mom and Dad will step up to the plate and back our kiddos up in this. Let's face it, a little tickle feels good, but when its so intense you wanna pee your pants, that isn't good. Don't make your child hug or kiss someone hello or goodbye if they don't want to. Empower the child to say "NO" and set boundaries for their body.
Listen to the red flags and your gut. Even if it seems small, listen to it. Is a grown up, or even an older child, doing things all the time for a child, buying gifts, offering to babysit, etc? RED FLAG. So what if their are well meaning and the rich old uncle that never had kids, trust your gut.
Model safe behavior. Even we women need to model safe behavior by using a buddy system when we leave or walk. Maybe your "buddy" is your 100 pound lap dog, but call him your buddy and stress that when your child goes somewhere, he or she is with a BUDDY. I was talking with Bear's BFF's mom last night after the seminar and we decided together that we mom's will be our daughter's buddies until they are much older. So while we say use the buddy system, use common sense. Would you really let 2 six year olds walk up the street together, alone?
We also discussed how when its a public event, we need some of the dad's and even mom's wearing orange vests or something that sets them apart, i.e, have them be safety/security for our group. Even at school functions which are open to the public. Sabrina, who gave the talk to our group, shared a scary experience that happened with her family and school, on school property. I wont go into details except to say, be leery. Is there someone hanging around children and they don't belong? Maybe you are unsure if they belong..... ASK IF THEY DO BELONG, show you covet your children, that they are precious and loved more than hurting their feelings. Someone who really has a reason to be there won't take offense and will likely proudly say, "My niece is playing a tree!" COVETED CHILDREN ARE CHILDREN THAT ARE HARD TO LURE, HARD TO GROOM, HARD TO MAKE A STATISTIC..... So maybe you are wrong, better safe than sorry. Our goal as parents is to not let the children we love be that statistic.
Define roles. This was a BIG flag for me. Define what we think each person should be able to do. Does the man who delivers our milk give us candy or tickle us? No, his job, i.e., role, is to deliver our milk. Does the coach who teaches soccer slather sun screen on us or give us rides home? No, his job is to teach us soccer. If mom and dad give him another role, they need to relay the information to all parties that Coach teaches soccer and can put sunscreen on our arms and faces. Instead of the blanket, do what teacher says, give the teacher roles. BOUNDARIES. This is safety for our children, but also safety for our coaches and teachers as well.
GROWN UPS NEVER ASK CHILDREN FOR HELP. If a grown up asks a child for help they need to leave and find a safe or safer person. Who is a safe or safer person? A safe person is someone directly in the care giving circle. A safer person is someone you and your child have predetermined before time, it could be that a cashier at a store is someone they can ask for help from, or a mommy with children, or grandma with children. Children can recognize those things. Make them concrete, definable and practice or test with your children. Safe or safer people will not remove a child from the location they are in if a child is lost, they will stay put with a child until mom or dad can be found, having another grown up go for help. Tell your child, that if you get separated in the store they must find a safer person for help because YOU WILL NEVER LEAVE UNTIL THEY ARE FOUND. Let your child be secure in this knowledge.
This is by no means exhaustive. Its an overview of what we learned in a one night seminar. It was a well spent almost 3 hours of my evening. I encourage you to contact Sabrina or Kim at P.E.A.C.E. of Mind and find information yourself. Their address is P.E.A.C.E. of Mind, PO BOX 3551
Bellevue, WA 98009. Check them out on Facebook as well.
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Remember our greatest job as parents to the most precious person in our life is to protect our children. These just give us more tools to pass on to our children. The goal is to have well equipped tool boxes.