Jun 12 2015
Last Sunday’s Dateline episode was a huge eye-opener for many parents. (If you missed it, click the Dateline link here.) Below is a checklist for parents to review with their kids. It’s not about being a helicopter parent, it’s about teaching them how to handle certain situations and how to be independent. You wouldn’t drop a kid in the deep end of the pool and tell ‘em to swim… unless you’ve really taught them how to first AND you know they’re ready.
What Every Kid Should Know…
A 12-Point Checklist for Parents & Kids To Review
Teaching kids “safe-smarts” doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming for parents. For everyone…Put out a vibe that says you’re not an easy target. DISTRACTION means “easy target” to a perpetrator. Whether you live in Smalltown, USA or a big urban city, every kid should know the following:
1. No headphones in your ears, no talking on the phone or texting. A perpetrator has the upper hand if he can take you by surprise.
2. Do a visual inventory & stay ALERT. Are there risky spots along your route: alleys, doorways, parking lots, empty lots or deserted buildings? If so, avoid whenever possible or be extra attentive if you must take that route.
3. Don’t be too polite, especially to someone you don’t know. You don’t have to “help” anyone who approaches you needing assistance (directions, carrying packages, looking for lost pets, etc.). It’s OK to say “Sorry, can’t help you today.” Asking a kid for help is one of the oldest tricks in the book!!
4. Disengage… “cut the conversation” and MOVE ON. The longer you keep talking to someone who’s trying to get you to do something, the more likely they’ll eventually be able to talk you into it, which means: #5 below!
5. Know You’re Exit Strategy and GET OUT OF THE “Danger-Zone” immediately. Remove yourself from the perpetrator’s easy access. Change direction, cross the street, go into a nearby store or business.
6. Have established “Safe-Stops” along the way where you can go quickly if you’re getting an “uh-oh” feeling from anyone. (Especially for kids who walk home from school everyday!)
7. Stay Out in the Open. No shortcuts through secluded areas where you cannot be seen.
8. Go “Bananas”! If you’re grabbed or accosted, start yelling…. “Help, Call 911, This is not my parent.” Drop your belongings, run, kick. Do whatever you need to do to call attention to yourself.
9. Don’t Obey The Perpetrator! If someone says “don’t run/don’t yell” – you should RUN AND YELL. That perp. is actually telling you that if you RUN and YELL, chances are he’ll have to stop trying to victimize you.
10. Never, ever get into a vehicle with someone you don’t know, or even with someone you know, unless you’ve gotten permission ahead of time from your parent. Sometimes a perp. is a stranger, but sometimes it can even be someone known to the family. A kid’s response should simply be: “Sorry, not allowed”.
11. Have a “FAMILY CODE WORD”. If anyone (even someone you know) tells you they were sent to pick you up, ask for the CODE WORD. If that person doesn’t know it, it means they’re lying. Get away quickly.
12. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. That “Uh-Oh Feeling” is the best barometer for letting you know something’s not right. Don’t ignore it!