Safety: How to Keep Our Kids Safe from Predators
Did you know there are simple ways to keep our children safe? No one really wants to think about child predators. It’s a yucky topic and we sure as heck don’t want to frighten our kids with scary stories or creepy examples. So what will help?
- Understanding the realities about child predators
- Empowering our kids with safety tips in a non-fearful way
How to Keep Your Kids Safe
Here are some tips to keep your kids out of dangerous situations:
- 90 % of sexual abuse happens by someone the child knows, not by a stranger.
Does that mean we should suspect everyone who interacts with our kids? Absolutely not. Most adults are safe and don’t want to harm children. But there are red flags when someone is a “tricky person” and may be unsafe around our kids.
Most Common Red Flags:
- Someone who continually suggests “alone time” with your child, uses lots of flattery, affection, or attention to catch you off guard.
- Someone who insists on always being physical (too much hugging, tickling, touching) especially when the child says “Stop” or is visibly uncomfortable.
- Someone who is all too eager to “help out” with your parental duties, i.e., suggesting they’ll: babysit for free, take your child on special outings that exclude you, especially overnight.
- Someone who gives “special gifts/treats” to your child and tells them it’s a secret.
- Someone preoccupied with one child.
- Someone with no age-appropriate friendships, preferring to spend all their free time with younger kids.
- Someone who just seems “too good to be true.”
DO’s & DON’T’s
If you notice a Red Flag or your child tells you about one:
DO: Listen to your instinct – it’s the clearest indicator when something isn’t quite right.
DON’T: Minimize it or try to talk your child out of it.
DO: Take action. It may mean confronting the person who is blurring boundaries, or maybe finding a new coach. Or paying closer attention to certain relationships and ensuring that person does not have alone time with your child.
Use common sense!
- Grandma wants to take your child overnight to Disneyland as a birthday treat – fine!
- Your soccer coach suggests the same thing – No thanks!
TOP 5 TIPS FOR KIDS:
- You’re the BOSS of your BODY. You have the right to say NO to any kind of touch, no matter who it comes from.
- Private Parts are Private! Use anatomically correct words for body parts. Teach children that no one should try to play a “private parts” game with them.
- NO Secrets. If anyone says they have a special secret you can’t tell your parents, it’s not OK. Especially if it makes you feel weird or yucky.
- It’s Always OK to Tell: I’ll Believe You. It’s not your fault if someone else tries to break the rules or gives you an “uh-oh” feeling. You won’t get in trouble for telling.
- The Affection Rule: You can decide how to express affection. If you don’t want to hug or kiss someone, that’s ok. You can high-five, wave goodbye, or use your words if you want to.
What steps have you taken with your kids to keep them safe from potential predators?
Pattie Fitzgerald is the founder of Safely Ever After, Inc. and is recognized as a leading expert in the field of child safety and sexual abuse prevention education. She is a children’s author, and is certified as a Child Safety Educator and Child Visitation Monitor. A former preschool teacher, Pattie blends her expertise as an educator, and more importantly as a MOM, to teach families the most effective safety strategies WITHOUT using fear tactics. Admired for her positive approach and child-friendly concepts, Pattie’s unique brand of “Safe-Smart curriculum” is used in schools throughout southern California. As a highly respected keynote speaker, Pattie brings compassion and common sense parenting skills to her audiences as she addresses the difficult topic of sexual abuse prevention. She is the author of “No Trespassing…This is MY Body!” which has earned strong praise from parents, educators, and pediatricians across the country. Pattie has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN Headline News, CNBC, and MSNBC, as well as countless Los Angeles television news and radio programs. For more information, please visit: www.safelyeverafter.com