This week, Imagine Hope is discussing the importance of protecting your children from predators. As we have discussed, in this day and age, it's vital to educate your kids on how to protect themselves. Today, we will finish with a few more ways to do that.
Instruct your kids on the different ways that a predator could approach them, what tactics they might use and go through the different possible scenarios with them. Coach them to learn the best responses. For example, if they are approached by a stranger, what would they say or do? If someone is wanting to be alone with them and ask them to keep secrets or offer gifts, how would they handle this? If someone asks them to get into a car with them, do they know to kick, fight, scratch, scream, run, etc.? What do they need to do if someone (or a situation) makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid?
Teach them if anyone or anything makes them feel "weird", ALWAYS go with your inside feelings and tell mom and dad!
Develop a family code word that ONLY your family members know. This way, your child can confirm whether the person approaching them is really safe.
Of course, these are only a few of the things that you can work with your children to help them know what to do when an unsafe situation is happening. It's important to review these rules consistently-- not just one time. As children develop and grow, their understanding of situations changes, so it's important to keep them educated. Practice these things with them! Many times, just talking about it isn't enough.
Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.