Teaching your children about safety is very important because crime will not be going away anytime soon and your child will face many different kinds of potential crime throughout his or her life.
When your child asks you, “Mom, what does a bad guy look like?”, try to establish the context of the question. Ask the child why he/she asked the question. Once you understand the context, it is a lot easier to frame your answer accordingly.
Remember the joke about the little girl who asked her mom, “Mom, where do I come from?” And her mom launched into all the facts about the birds and the bees. When she had finished her explanation the puzzled little girls said “Oh, because Sarah comes from Benoni”. Mom’s explanation in this case was totally out of context.
Ask your child to draw a “bad guy”. This gives them time to think about it and the resulting drawing provides you with mutual context for your explanation. Ask the child why they drew their particular bad guy. Their explanation with help you to understand what type of crime or criminal is bothering them; it may be something they heard at school or on the news.
Explain that bad guys don’t look any different to other people – they wear the same clothes, they drive the same cars, etc. In fact a “bad guy” could also be a female. Teach your child that it’s not about what a person looks like or how they dress, it is about their intention. Your child should be encouraged to trust their gut feelings or “Spidey senses” and if they feel that something is not right they should immediately tell you or another adult that they trust. Give them specific things that they can do in situations of discomfort or threat and have them practice these responses with you.
Teaching your child about safety should be something you plan. Do it often, the same way you provide guidance on homework and study techniques. Talking to your child about safety throughout their formative years will also provide them with a solid trust in your guidance when they become teenagers and you will be more believable when you need to start warning them of the dangers of going out.
Teaching your child to stay safe is the best way to empower them and prevent them from being fearful.
At Advanced Conflict Training, we guarantee that we will forever change the way you see your safety.
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