Parents, teachers, and other caregivers need to know that most abuse happens with people children know and trust. Anyone can be a child molester—a neighbor, a relative, a family friend, a youth group leader, a teacher, even another child. The best way to protect your children is to make the time to ask them often, “Is there anything you’ve been wondering or worrying about that you haven’t told me?” and listen to their answers with patience and respect.
Telling children about safety or showing children what to do is not enough.
When we just talk to children about danger, it can actually raise their level of anxiety. Young people learn best by actively participating. Practicing safety skills increases their confidence and competence. It is important to do this in a way that is not scary, but is fun. Your child can learn with you, or in programs such as Kidpower.
Children need to know these Kidpower safety rules:
- My body belongs to me.
- For play, teasing or affection, I decide whether I get touched or not.
- No one should touch me in my private areas (the parts of the body covered by a bathing suit) or ask me to touch them in their private areas. This breaks the safety rules.
- Touch or other behavior for health or safety is not always a choice, but also should never, EVER, have to be kept a secret.
- Anything that bothers me should not have to be kept a secret.
- If I have a problem, I need to tell an adult I trust and keep on telling until I get help.
- It is NEVER too late to get help.
Children need to practice:
- Saying “No” to unwanted or inappropriate behavior using polite clear words, eye contact and assertive body language.
- Persisting even when someone uses bribes, hurt feelings or power to try to pressure them into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Verbal choices for getting out of potentially dangerous situations.
- Getting the attention of busy adults and telling the details about situations that make them confused or uncomfortable.
These are just a few of the safety skills that Kidpower has to offer. For more information, call Kidpower at 520-1311 or contact the Colorado Springs Police Department at 444-7410 or El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at 520-7244.
Copyright ©2012 Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Author and Founder.
All rights reserved. Article posted with permission.
For more information, visit www.kidpower.org.
This article is from Kidpower International’s online library.
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