Our world is full of dangers. During our entire life we try to avoid them with the help of our life experience or by learning from other people’s mistakes. But we fear for our children most of all. We can’t stay with them all the time and we can’t foresee every dangerous situation. But now it has become an urgent necessity to talk with children about their personal protection in reference to other people. It’s possible to teach your child how to behave if there is a threat of mockery, kidnapping or physical or sexual violation.
We offer you a set of rules for children based on the code for parents of the English All-National Charity Society “Kidscape,” that aims to provide protection for all children. Read it again and again until your child remembers that:
- All people have certain rights that can’t be violated; for instance all people can breathe. Say to your child that nobody can take away his right of safety.
- Your child’s body belongs to him, especially the intimate places, covered by swimsuits.
- Your child can say “No” if somebody tries to inflict pain on him. Most children are used to submitting to adults implicitly.
- It’s OK to ask for help. Youth often run a danger of being mocked, so tell them they must ask their friends for help or they must say “No”. Hooligans and bullies, who like to mock, are just cowards who are afraid of a decisive refusal and adult interference.
- Child’s safety is the most important thing. If there is a real threat of physical violation, children often have no choice but to submit to the demands of a bully. Sometimes children begin fighting to save a certain possession, as they are afraid to come home without this thing and be punished as a result. “My mother will kill me for giving that bully my bicycle, it was very expensive.” But in any case parents should not be angry with them; you want your child to tell you everything. Children can be very reserved and pass over in silence about some frightening things, as they worry about your reaction.
- If a child asks an adult for help, they will always believe him and support him. If you tell him something like “I’ve told you not to do it,” it won’t help the child solve the problem; on the contrary your child will not ask you for help next time. A sensitive, important issue is sexual violation or harassment. Children rarely tell lies about it and if adults don’t believe him or her it can go on for years and cause much suffering and strong feelings of guilt to the child.
- Never keep secrets, even if a child has promised not to tell them to anyone. Seducers convince a child that a kiss or a touch is a “secret,” so it makes a child confused who already knows how to keep secrets.
- Children have a right not to let anybody touch them. Explain to your child that he can or can’t allow anybody to touch or kiss him but nobody can ask a child to keep such a secret. Sometimes children don’t want to be kissed or touched but that must be a kind of choice, not a fear. They shouldn’t be forced to kiss and touch anybody at any price either.
- It’s ALWAYS bad to talk to a stranger. Most adults and teens with good intentions don’t come up to children even if they are alone (with the exception of being upset or lost). Teach your children to ignore such people; children don’t need to be impolite, but they can just pretend they don’t hear and then go or run away quickly. Say to your children that you won’t be angry if they refuse to talk to strangers and that you want to know if somebody is trying to talk to them.
Be careful when discussing all these things with your child. You should agree that there are some situations when a child needs help so he doesn’t think that all strangers are dangerous. You allow him to break all the rules to protect himself. Add that you’ll always support him even if he cries, makes noise and bustles, or tells a lie and kicks others.
Unfortunately, even growing children aren’t immune from danger both in the street and with friends. Coming home late has always been the subject of a hot argument. What time is too late? What time is OK? When is the child to go to bed? It depends on your relations whether you come to a compromise or not, but in any case you need to teach
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