All parents worry about keeping their kids safe, especially parents of children with special needs. The holiday season brings crowds of strangers…would your child know what to do if he, or she was approached by a stranger? Would they recognize suspicious adult behavior? Check out the following tips from parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba. She considers them essential in teaching all children about safety with strangers:
- Give your children permission to say ‘No’: Studies show that children under the age of nine years of age rarely say ‘No’ to a sex offender; primarily, because they have been taught to be obey adults and be polite to strangers. Give your children permission say ‘No’, if anyone tries to touch them in inappropriate ways, or makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid. Be sure to tell them they will not get into trouble.
- Establish a family secret code: Choose a something memorable like ‘Asparagus’ or ‘Brussel Sprouts’. Give the the code word to all of your family members and all trusted individuals who are responsible for your kids in your absence. Tell your children never to leave with anyone who does not know the secret code. Create a text message code for children with cell phones…only to be used when there is an emergency, or if the child is in danger. A California teen was recently approached by a stranger, who did not know family’s secret code saving the teen from abduction.
- Teach your children drop everything, yell loudly, and run: Teach your child that if he, or she is ever in danger and needs to get away quickly…they should immediately drop whatever they are carrying, yell loudly and run as fast as they can. If possible, he, or she should run to an adult (ideally a woman with children) while screaming, ‘No, No. No. Help me. This is not my Dad’. If he, or she is grabbed, they should grab onto anything…such as bicycle handles, or car doors…while yelling loudly, and kicking an abductor.
For more information check out Dr. Michele Borba…an educational psychologist, parenting expert and Today show contributor…or follow her on Twitter.
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