You have the power to protect your child from sexual predators. To do so, you need to prepare your child and teach him or her about safety procedures and self-protect.
Prepare Your Child without Fear
You don’t want to make your child paranoid, but you must prepare him/her. Talk about safety openly and without fear. Go over the dos and don’ts with him/her.
- Never get in a car with a stranger.
- Never go to a second location with someone you don’t know.
- Never let someone swear you to secrecy.
- Stay with a friend.
- Let parents know where you are.
You need to make sure your child understands that he/she is loved, and your child needs to love him/herself.
Set up his/her world for safety
- Never leave your child alone, even for a moment, particularly when he/she is young.
- Have strict procedures on such things as going to and from school and where to go after a dance or sports.
- Your child should know his/her home telephone number, his/her parents’ cell phone numbers, home address and how to call 911.
- Child should never wear clothes displaying his/her name.
- Set up a code word with your child in case of emergency and test it.
- Create a map of your neighborhood so your child knows where to go if he/she is feeling uncomfortable. Point out safe houses, fire stations or a trusted neighbor’s home. Your child should also know where to run or drive in case the situation calls for that action.
Listen and Look
- As parents, you need to be extremely tuned in to what’s taking place in your child’s life. Listen to your child to see if he/she is talking about anyone who doesn’t belong in her/his world.
- Be sure to look and listen to what your child is doing on the Internet. Figure out how to check for access, passwords, and where he/she has been surfing. Predators will try and groom a child over the Internet.
Teach your Child to self-protect
Teach your child to recognize danger: who, what and where.
- Who: Somebody he/she doesn’t know or doesn’t trust asking her/him to do something she/he doesn’t want to do. Strangers are not only the creepy looking men in trench coats, they can be anyone.
- What: Adults do not ask children for help.
- Where: If someone asks your child to go to a second location, which should set bells off for danger.
- The Buddy System: A child should never be alone, even for a minute. He/she should always be with a friend or two, because there is strength in numbers.
- React: Child must also know that it is OK for him/her to say no.
- Communicate: It’s imperative that you establish a line of communication with your kid about anything he/she feels comfortable talking about.
Trust your instincts; if it feels wrong, it probably is wrong. These tips can save your child’s life.
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