Stranger danger isn’t enough. In fact, a child is more likely to be in danger from a family friend or someone that you both know fairly well.
Here are three rules for keeping your kids safe.
Rule #1: Adults and children do not keep secrets-none at all.
Abuse thrives in secrecy by the very nature of it. Abusers don’t want others to know what they are doing because there’s a high likelihood that they would be forced to cease the abuse. Abusers often use threats, coercion, shame, and fear to intimidate the victim into silence.
Let’s look at it this way-say a child is physically beaten by dad and has a broken arm. Dad tells the child to say that he fell off the monkey bars and threatens that if the child tells the truth, then dad will hurt little sister. This abuser has now placed the burden of the abuse on the child and has placed fear in the child.
Rule #2: ______ and _______ are always safe people to tell.
Work with your children on identifying at least two people in their lives who are always safe people to tell things. Now, this could be mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, a teacher, or even uncle Joe or aunt Jane.
The point is that we want children to identify two safe people in their lives that they can go to with any problems that they may be struggling with. We like to think that children know they can tell us anything, but until we vocalize that reality and repeat it to them often, they may not feel they can talk to us when the time comes. Abuse thrives on secrets, and we want children to know who their safe people are.
Rule #3: Always stay with three people.
Most abuse occurs in one-on-one situations-one child to one adult. When we think of our churches and sports teams and other groups, we think of trustworthy people, but sexual predators gravitate to these types of organizations because of the access they allow to children.
Let’s think about it. We drop our kid off at church, scouts, or soccer. Life gets hectic, and a youth leader, coach, etc., volunteers to bring them home. The bigger picture here is that we are granting permission for our child to be alone in a car unsupervised with someone we may not know. We may have unknowingly put our child in a dangerous position.
We want to avoid exposing our children to these sorts of situations. So we set the rule of two adults and one child or two children and one adult at all times. Prevention is everything.
Want to get involved with spreading the word? Please contact us, and we can get you more information about an upcoming tour. You can also read more about how we can help you and others through our community education.