All children should have a variety of options available to them if faced with a threading situation. The following list should be reviewed by parents and then, when opportunity arise, discussed with each child.
- Run Away From Danger. Run to school, to a neighbor’s, to a store, or home. Run to the nearest safe place. (Parents should help children determine all safe locations along regular routes each child travels.) Yell loudly and don’t stop yelling until you are safe. This strategy requires practice since children often learn that yelling is not ok. In order to use a yell in a dangerous situation, adults and children alike must practice.
- Yell Loudly and Don’t Stop Yelling Until You’re Safe. This strategy requires practice since children learn that yelling is not okay most of the time. In order to use a yell in a dangerous situation, adults and children alike must practice.
- Define Safe And Unsafe Secrets. Surprise parties and gifts are safe secrets; they don’t make a child feel afraid. Safe secrets eventually are told to someone. Unsafe secrets often make children feel scared and uncomfortable. Children need to be told that unsafe secrets should never be kept.
- Brainstorm The Names Of Safe Adults With Your Child. Safe adults are adults who will listen, believe the child, and will help. Remember that children need more then mom and dad. Teachers, Grandma or Grandpa, a friend’s mom, a neighbor; all of these people might be safe adults to your child.
- Give Your Children Permission To Say No. Many children believe that saying no to an adult is wrong and that they will be punished. However, children need to understand and be given permission to say no to any adult who frightens them with requests or demands. We encourage our children to say no to drugs, and we need to support them in saying no to adults who may exploit them.
- Whenever You Have A Problem, No Matter How Scary Or Embarrassing, I Will Listen, Believe You, And Help. This is perhaps one of the most important since children often think that no one will believe them. They also believe that they will get in trouble, or that they will get the person who is hurting them in trouble. Parents need to let their children know that they want to protect them from harm. Make sure they know that if they have a problem, no matter how scary or embarrassing, you will listen, believe and help.