- GIVE KIDS PERMISSION TO SAY NO TO ADULTS: It is important for children to know that they have ownership of their bodies and minds, so parents, teach and give your children support that they can say no to affection from other adults, even if they are family members. Don’t allow them to have affection forced on them. Do you remember having to kiss people you didn’t want to as a child? Now that you are an adult, how would you feel being made to kiss another person that you didn’t want to? Give your children the same respect you would for yourself and don’t allow any forced affection. This is especially important when you bear in mind that in a majority of cases of abuse, the child knows or is related to the abuser.
- NO SHORTCUTS: If your children are old enough to be walking around alone or in groups then teach them to always take well populated routes, and not to risk taking a shortcut that takes them out of sight of the public. Most self defence/stranger awareness courses teach children to use their voice to get helpful adult attention should a stranger try and grab them, by shouting out “help, stranger”, “stranger danger” and words to that effect. This is the most important part of the defence strategy as an adult is going to be much stronger than a child and so relying just on punching, kicking and striking isn’t the best option. Encouraging children to take the same route home each day will also help friends or parents find them if they are late.
- IMPORTANT INFORMATION: All children should memorize their name, address and phone number. Parent’s names and work numbers are also valuable information to have. This is extremely important in order for kids to be able to tell the police, or other helpful adults how to get in touch with their parents. Make sure that kids know the area code as well, in case they are abducted and are able to escape to call home themselves. Teach specific drills for dialling 999 so that the kids know what to do in case of an emergency at home. Let them know how serious it is, and that it is only for emergencies.
- WHEN LOST: Plan with your children what to do should they get lost. If your child gets lost teach them to stay calm and either goes to a pre-arranged meeting point, or to go to the nearest shop/police station etc. Teach your children to look for people in uniform such as police, security guards, shop workers etc.
- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS: Teach your children that if someone or something is making them feel uncomfortable, that they should trust their instincts and go and find their parents, or a responsible safe adult straight away. If they feel they are being followed, teach them to cross the road safely, or change direction, and use windows and other reflective surfaces to keep an eye on anyone they feel is following them. Teach your children to never speak to strangers, especially passers-by in cards. Remember to teach them that it isn’t RUDE or bad manners to IGNORE a stranger. You don’t want to give a stranger a chance to talk to your child and lower their guard. Better safe than sorry in this case.
- CHECK IT OUT: All parents live busy hectic lives, but please take the time to check out the credentials of those who run your children’s activities. I have been teaching self defence classes for many years and I have yet to have a parent ask me to see any credentials or checks on my criminal record. Please don’t be afraid to ask those looking after your children to see these credentials, we WONT be offended at all.
- CODE WORD: Work out a code word between your children. We might have times when we might not be able to pick them up and need a close friend or relative to pick our children up. In these instances a code word is a great way to make sure that your children know it is safe to go off with this adult. A lot of the time when children are abused or abducted it is done by someone we know, who is able to get them to drop their guard through familiarity. It will also help in the event that the adult uses an excuse such as “your mum/dad is in hospital and can’t pick you up, come with me”. Remember, no code word, then they should stay at school, or with someone they can trust.
- TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO SAFELY USE THE INTERNET:
The internet is a great resource for information for everyone, but it does have its dangers. There are many things online that you would not like your child to see at all. There are plenty of software packages available that would filter out the majority of inappropriate content that can be found. The internet also opens up another potential danger area for children. There is now a growing trend for adults to “Groom” children over the internet. Grooming consists of an adult pretending to be of a similar age, and have similar tastes to a child in order to get their confidence. After gaining trust, these people arrange to meet the child at a specific place. It is important that you teach your children never to give out their address, passwords or too much personal information online.
- NO PERSONALIZED CLOTHING: Our names are very powerful to us. If someone we don’t know uses our name it can help disarm us and make us drop our guard. How many of you have been approached by someone you don’t recognise and then feel obligated to carry on talking even though you don’t remember them? If your children have their name on their clothes on somewhere easy to see it gives a stranger an easy way of finding out their name. Similarly all it would take is for a stranger to hang around a park listening to your child play sports to quickly find out their name as kids will shout out at each other for the ball etc… Do not teach them to say “I can’t talk to strangers”; teach them not to speak to strangers. Do not allow them to get caught up in a web of conversation.
- GOOD TOUCH – BAD TOUCH: This is a sensitive subject to discuss, but it gets very easy with repetition. If a child gets used to talking about this, it will then be much easier to report if it ever does occur. Identify that a good touch is a hug, a kiss on the cheek, a pat on the back or shaking hands. “Doesn’t it make you feel good when Mum gives you a hug or a kiss”? That feeling is called “good touch”. “Bad Touch” is if anyone touches their private areas where their “bathing suit covers”. Bad touch is also feeling that the touch is “creepy”. Let them know if it happens that it isn’t their fault and they should tell the teacher, Mum or Dad, or any other adult that they trust. Overcome the stigma of talking about this subject. Let the children know that they can tell Mum, Dad or teacher if someone is “bad touching” them. Believe them and investigate.
I hope you find these tips usefull. If your interested in Choi Kwang Do classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self-confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age. We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.
If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://www.ChoiKwangDo.com where you can find the nearest location to you. Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.
Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.