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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Safety Tip Tuesday: Keep It Real

One of the greatest challenges facing parents and child care takers is developing a way to talk to children about their personal safety… without creating the boogieman in the process. 

It frightens children (and teens) to hear about the horrible things that can happen to them if kidnapped. By the time children are able to read, they have already been exposed to these horror stories via television news programs, Lifetime Network movies and the information superhighway (Internet). So, it is not surprising that children often associate the worst when thinking of these possibilities. 

In an age of social media and never ending news-feeds, we often gravitate towards the extreme when we discover information through these channels. And while the dangers of abduction are real, learning and practicing safety skills can reduce a child’s fear, resulting in a child who can assertively use safety behaviors to deal with dangerous situations.

Parents and child care takers can approach children with the issues of abduction (and abuse) the same way we approach them with issues of fire or earthquake safety. We can assure children that the chances of being kidnapped by a stranger are quite low, and we can teach them some techniques that will keep them safer. By focusing on common-sense abduction prevention strategies, rather than on the horrible things that might happen to them, we increase a child's ability to deal with dangerous situations and reduce their fears. 

Use common-sense with age-appropriateness when discussing these topics. Older children will respect you and the discussion more if you don’t “sugar coat” it or try to “scare them straight.” Remember, real talk for real results. #CQISTT 

Safety Tip Tuesday (#CQISTT) is a weekly post that addresses child safety, ideas, concepts and fundamental approaches that help protect children from kidnapping, abuse and exploitation. Sign-up to follow this blog and receive updates. Written by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International.

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