Crimes against children are every parent's worst nightmare. Protecting our children is every parent's first duty. This information is to help us protect our children better.
Stephanie Mann, author of 'Neighborhood Watch', dedicates a specific part of that book to the safety of children. She explains why it is important to lay a solid foundation within the child themselves and to teach children that they are valuable, teach them self worth and self esteem. Children with strong self esteem are less likely to become victims. A predator prefers dealing with a shy, timid child who lacks confidence.
We should teach children how predators behave so they will recognize the hazards before they encounter them. Tell kids what predators do to entice them. Teach them to report these behaviors to a trusted adult. Yesteryear, children were taught to obey their elders. Today that is not safe. Children should never obey someone because they are older or adult. Instead they should assess their own emotions. If a child feels fear or danger when someone approaches, it is important that they pay attention to their instincts. It could save their life. Tell your child if it feels bad, scary or creepy; get away as fast as possible.
I will include a list of helpful suggestions kids should be taught. Don?t allow your child to become an easy victim. Predators hunt for easy victims. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends these street smart safety tips for kids:
You should not get into a car or go anywhere with any person unless your parents have told you that it is OK.
If someone follows you on foot or in a car, stay away from them. You don't need to go near the car to talk to people inside.
Grown ups and other older people who need help should not be asking children for help. They should be asking older people.
No one should be asking you for directions or to look for a 'lost puppy' or telling you that your mother or father is in trouble and they will take you to them.
If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away from them and scream, "This stranger is trying to take me!"
You should try to use the 'Buddy System' and never go places alone.
Always ask your parents permission to leave the yard or play are or to go to someone's home.
Never hitchhike or try to get a ride home with anyone unless your parents have told you it is OK to ride with them.
No one should ask you to keep a special secret. If they do, tell your parents or teacher.
If someone wants to take your picture, tell them NO and tell your parents or teacher
No one should touch you on parts of your body covered by a bathing suit, nor should you touch anyone in those areas. Your body is special and private.
You have a right to say NO to someone who tries to take you, touch you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way.
Wiser children are safer children. Teach them as soon as they are old enough to learn.
In today's society where both parents work, it is wise to form alliances with other parents in the neighborhood. Just as a neighbor is usually the first to see an intruder, it is often a neighbor who first notices something unusual about the where about or behavior of your child. Form alliances with neighbors you can rely on and trust. Share what you have learned. Share your concerns and responsibilities for child safety. Together we can protect our children. Together we can make a difference.