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Kids & Teens Safety

Kids-Teens

Take care of your kids!

 

For Younger Kids

  1. Encourage them to tell you EVERYTHING and to report EVERYTHING to you. Make a game out of it for younger kids to increase the fun and reduce the concern. You MUST know what is going on in their lives in order to properly protect them and keep them safe. 
  2. Instill a "TELL ME FIRST" policy where they MUST tell you before they go anywhere, accept anything, or agree to help anyone - even neighbors, friends, and family members, but most especially strangers. Instill the second part which is, if they can't tell you, they can't go, accept, or agree.
  3. Create and use a SAFEWORD that only the parents and the child know. This MUST be used by anyone who wants to change their normal schedule, take them from school, take them to the mall etc. if they aren't able to "TELL YOU FIRST."  If the person, no matter who they are doesn't have the SAFEWORD, then instill in the child that they need to stay where they are until YOU can say it's ok. 
  4. Encourage your child to be courteous, helpful, and respectful to everyone while using the ‘TELL ME FIRST' and ‘SAFEWORD' rules. Play a game by having friends they don't know try to approach them and reward the child with a treat when they act properly. Be sure not to scold them if they act improperly, simply reinforce the ‘game' rules and have them practice the correct response.
  5. Set ‘PLAY BOUNDARIES' as a defined physical area beyond which they are not allowed i.e. the end of the garden, the neighbors backyard etc.  Never leave your child completely unsupervised - this could mean ensuring that they are playing with at least one other child or that an adult or older child is no more than a shouting distance away at all times.  

For Older Kids

  1. Keep the "TELL ME FIRST" and "SAFEWORD" strategies, but adjust them as the child gets older, perhaps to use a cell phone to contact you. Role-play scenarios where they are ‘forced' to call home by a possible abductor where they use the "SAFEWORD" in what would be a normal call - helping you identify that something is wrong.
  2. Continue to encourage them to tell you EVERYTHING as this remains the best way to identify possible threats or problems. Remember that many sexual assaults are perpetrated by close family members or friends and they will often try to trick the child into feelings of guilt or complicity. Encouraging your child to communicate as honestly and openly as possible can help to identify possible problems quickly.
  3. Use real-life examples of abuse or abductions that are age-appropriate and that your child is aware of as a result of media coverage to discuss and talk openly with them about the potential dangers that are out there. Don't frighten them or encourage paranoia, but offer them some strategies for dealing with a similar situation if it happened to them. Your local police department, martial arts training center, school, or self-defense training organization may be able to give you additional tips on this.
  4. If someone does try to abduct your child, encourage them to "FIGHT AND SHOUT" as much as they can, as long as they can, and as hard as they can at the moment of abduction. Make sure they use words like "I DON'T KNOW YOU", "LEAVE ME ALONE", "YOU'RE HURTING ME", "YOUR NOT MY MOM/DAD" etc. to increase the chances of any potential witness paying more attention to the incident.
  5. If your child is abducted, instill in them the need to survive and that you will ALWAYS be looking for them.  Discuss ways they may leave clues or try to contact you or the police such as using a payphone if they have a chance, leaving a note at a store or with someone else. It's never going to be an easy thing for anyone to go through, and you don't want to create fear and panic in your child, but discussing it may give them one to two techniques that may help them escape if an abduction situation should ever occur.

 

School Bullying

  1. TELL AN ADULT -  If you're being verbally abused for any reason it is important that you tell an adult about it. Let your teacher, school counselor, principal, or parents know. Bullying in any form is unacceptable at school and can lead to more aggressive assaults later. It's the adult’s responsibility to create and provide a safe environment for you.
  2. SEEK YOUR FREINDS SUPPORT - Stay in the company of your friends or ask them to help you to counter or limit the effects of the bully. Most bullies enjoy the power and influence they have over their victims. If you can limit that by having friends stand with you, they may no longer see you as a fun target anymore.
  3. JOIN A CLUB OR GROUP - The more friends you have, the more support you have. Consider joining a school club or group to increase your circle of friends and create a larger base of support to help you counter or limit the effects of the bully.
  4. JOIN OR CREATE A GAY STRAIGHT ALLIANCE (GSA) GROUP OR ANTI-BULLYING CLUB - If your school has an anti-bullying club or a tolerance club, join it and relate your problem to the club members to garner their advice and support. If no such club exists, approach your parents and teachers to create on. If you're part of the solution, you are no longer just a victim.
  5. AVOID THE TROUBLE SPOTS - If possible, avoid the places, situations, or times that the bully likes to engage you. Try walking with friends, taking a different route, or walking with other adults or older students if possible. If this is not possible, tell your teachers or counselors where, when, how the bullying occurs so that they have a better chance of witnessing it themselves and then acting upon it independently.
  6. RISE ABOVE IT - Provided you are not being physically abused, try to rise above the comments actions of the bully. They garner their enjoyment and power from your reaction and discomfort. If you can take that away from them - even if you're only pretending for a while- they may get tired of trying to upset you and look for a new target.
  7. TRY HUMOR TO DEFUSE IT - Sometimes using humor against verbal bullying will defuse it. Never try to abuse the bully back using humor or any other comments, but try to make them laugh with you. Laughter reduces stress and aggression in everyone, including bullies.
  8. KEEP A DIARY - If you're being bullied, keep a diary of what is said, when, where, and by whom. This can help you to keep the incidents accurate and in perspective, and it can also help  you to engage adults, counselors, and principals to assist you in actively resolving the problem.
  9. SUPPORT OTHER VICTIMS - Stand up for anyone else who is a victim of bullying. Stand next to them in silent support, verbally negate the bullies words if you feel safe and comfortable doing so. Tell the bully their action is unacceptable if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
  10. GET TRAINED - Find a local non-profit or martial arts organization that provides self-defense or school bullying defense training. Consider taking martial arts to help develop your self-confidence, self-esteem, and sense of security in the face of a bully.

 

A Few Things Not to Do If You're Being Bullied At School

  • Don't blame yourself - it's NEVER your fault
  • Don't become verbally abusive back
  • NEVER become physical, unless you believe your life or physical safety is in danger
  • NEVER feel as though you’re "grassing" when you report bullying - that threat is just another way the bullies intimidate people
  • NEVER avoid school, clubs, or activities as a result of bullying. Act to resolve it
  • NEVER, EVER consider hurting yourself, or hurting others, as a result of bullying.

Check out the following websites for information and support on bullying, why people bully, how to counter bullying at your school, teacher support materials and so on.  If you know of a link we don't have here, please let us know and we'll be happy to add it.

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