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Child Safety Alert: Strangers!Lesson Number 1:
When You Teach Your Kids to Cross the Street, Teach Them to Only Look in One Direction!
Does this sound preposterous? Why would anyone do such a thing? Looking one way only eliminates half the danger!
If this was your reaction after reading Lesson #1 (above) then you would be correct; it is preposterous. Unfortunately, this is the equivalent of how the majority of people teach their children about the dangers of strangers.
We all teach our kids about the dangers related strangers. We teach them the following:
1) Stay way from strangers
2) Don’t talk to strangers
3) Don’t take anything from strangers
4) Don’t go anywhere with strangers
5) Don’t get too close to a stranger; etc.
Why do we do this? Because we all acknowledge that one of the most horrifying experiences any parent could possibly have to deal with would be the kidnapping or loss of a child AND…because the danger of someone taking or hurting your child is very real! Real enough that everyone acknowledges it and finds it a critical part of the training we give our children as they grow. And the fact that we do this is absolutely great.
So what is my problem?
Teaching your kids the above, and only the above, is like teaching them to cross the street after looking in only one direction! Yet this is the way the huge majority of parents train their kids about strangers.
Let me tell you a story:
There was a young girl playing on a playground in broad daylight (I don’t recall where this was). This girl, on this day, did not violate any of the things that she was taught about strangers – she didn’t approach a stranger; she didn’t talk to a stranger; she didn’t take anything from a stranger; and she did go anywhere with a stranger (at least not voluntarily). On this day, however, a stranger decided that he was simply going to take this little girl by way of force. As a result he approached her, grabbed her and began to run away with her.
Now in many circumstances, and by the way most kids are taught about strangers, this had potential to turn into this girls, and her family’s, worst nightmare!
However, in this case, this little girl was not going to have any part of becoming a victim. She kicked, poked, scratched, bit, pulled hair, screamed, etc. She created chaos for this abductor. She changed his position in this fight from offensive to defensive, and, as a result, she won! He let her go and he ran away.
So why did this happen?
It’s really simple:
This girl’s parents went one major step further than most when they taught her about the dangers of strangers – they considered the “what if my child is abducted by force” question. They taught their children that this could happen and exactly what to do if it did. If you are a parent that has taught your child about the complete danger of strangers then you should be commended. You are, unfortunately however, in the huge minority.
Why do we not teach our kids about this critical additional danger? Most will say that its because they don’t want their children to walk around fearful; or they don’t want to teach their kids to be violent. Thankfully this particulars child’s parents didn’t think this way because they may never have seen her again!
And think about this:
This child was not fearful; nor was she violent.
We get this mentality with schools when we talk with them about training the children in the skills to actually defend themselves ONLY IF REQUIRED TO DO SO during an incident of violence (Active Shooter). The response is typically “oh no we cant teach our kids things that might elevate their risk of, or put them in danger”. Well guess what? In a situation like this – THEY ARE ALREADY IN DANGER! Training them to do something to save their own lives, IF NECESSARY, doesn’t create the danger. We all have “safety toolboxes” and these toolboxes must be filled with as many tools (options) as possible. Coddling children in the areas or reality and safety can be extremely detrimental to their safety. They must know that there is danger out there and survival and defensive training should be very high on their developmental training curriculum.
Again, Not teaching your children about the reality that they could be taken by force and what to do if they are is like Teaching them to cross the street and only doing so after looking in only one direction. There is not a parent ever that would have done this.
Talk to your kids about ALL aspects of stranger danger AND have a curriculum that will seriously teach them about the realities of violence and the practical and effective means to combat it – both mental and physical. Remember, it is critical that your children understand the realities of the dangers that they will face in this world! And don’t forget drugs!!!!!!
Published Aug 27, 2015
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