What Every Child Should Know to Feel Safe

The basics

Students who do not know this information are at a disadvantage by not being able to communicate this information and by feeling insecure. The insecurity will be observable in the student's mannerisms and their behaviors.

Stay with the crowd. There is safety in numbers. Like animals, molesters prey on the lonely isolated withdrawn child.

Children want security. Giving them ways to cope gives them a feeling of security which gives them power.

Teach children it is all right to say no even to adults. The idea that children should do what adults say is not always in the best interest of children. Child molesters will not mess with the hard to get along with child. The child which always does what he/she is told can be a victim of a lure. Encourage kids to be affectionate but don't force them to give kisses to Aunt ... or Uncle ... or .... This sends the message that forced contact is acceptable.

Teach children that if they are approached by a person they do not know, don't go with them. Unless, you develop, teach, and use a code word, then teach children not to go with another person unless they use their code word.

Is "Don't know don't go." The same thing as, "Don't talk to strangers."
Be careful with clichés. Children may be afraid and not approach the very person that can help them. The store clerk and a uniformed person would be a wise choice to approach for help, however if they literally apply the cliché, they are not.

Communicate to children with many examples of what if?

Don't stop if the first answer is correct.

Teachers can do this in class and use role play. Parents also need to do this when they take their children to public places. A good rule is unknown people that the child approaches are usually safer than unknown people that approach them. Teachers and parents can add a variety of other generalizations to this. Store clerks, uniforms, peoples homes with children's toys...

Don't send children into public with personalized stuff. When a person knows a child's name the child gets a safe feeling. It isn't until children get older that they begin to wonder, how does that person know my name?

Don't dress children rich.

Teach children how to walk home. Safe places. Places to run to. Places to avoid. Alternate routes.

Teach children how to run and run fast. How to scream and scream loud. Yell fire!

Teach children to trust their instinct. If it looks bad, act like it.

Teach children how to meet new people only in public places, preferably with adult supervision. Stay alert and trust your gut feelings. Talk to your care givers if anything seems unusual.

Teach children to lock doors, stay away from unpopulated areas, tell parents where they are going and be truthful for your safety. Believe it or not these things are not done in most crimes, even in large metropolitan areas. A study in St. Louis showed that in more than 90% of the crime cases one or more basic crime proofing strategies were violated. Criminals know that if they check enough houses, cars, or talk to enough loners they will find a victim.

Encourage affection don't force it. Do you want a hug today? Teach children that they have their private space. Teach good touches and bad touches. The underwear zone.

Latchkey children must be mature enough to handle the situation. Parents must establish rules and guidelines with the child and make sure the child understands the rational and consequences for each rule. The child must know how to handle threats and fear. Parents can support the child by providing security devices on doors, telephone numbers for emergencies, and telephone numbers for students to call to talk to someone.

Dating, stay in public for at least the first four dates, stay sober, communicate your sexual boundaries, and check on your date ahead of time. These four guidelines will virtually eliminate the risk of rape.

Reference: J. L. Simmons, 76 Ways to Protect Your Child From Crime.

Teach children self defense.

Reference : Oprah. Video tape available. Aired 1993

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes