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The Great Thing About Dads

Teaching Your Kids About Safety

by Pattie Fitzgerald

With so much focus on Moms and their natural, protective instinct to keep their offspring safe, it’s easy to forget just how important Dads figure into the picture. And important they are…

Last month, at a children’s workshop I was presenting, I asked the kids to name some of the important qualities they felt a good Dad should have. Almost every one of them said things like “a good Dad makes you feel safe,” “a good Dad can protect his children from getting hurt”, “a good Dad knows how to keep the bad guys away.” (Of course, my favorite response was “A good Dad always listens to the Mom” – but that’s another column!)

Children like to be able to look up to their dads for that “safe, strong” comfort feeling. They want to see their Dads as “the hero”, ready to step in and save the day. That’s why I’m always so pleased to see fathers participating in one of my workshops. It’s a great way to show your children you’re there for them, that you value them, and that you want to help keep them safe.

Another great thing about Dads is their style of communication – which is often much different than Mom’s. As a Mom myself, I know that sometimes when I talk to my 8 year old, “my message” goes in one ear and out the other, or she reacts in a “yes Mother, you’ve said this before” fashion. And yet, when her Dad is communicating the same message, she’s a rapt listener. Checking with some of my Mom friends, they share similar stories. (Thank goodness or my Mommy-ego would really be bruised!)

So how does Dad fit into the picture when it comes to teaching the kids important safety skills? Sometimes it’s as simple as just being a different voice, other than Mom’s. And sometimes Dad simply brings a different element into the conversation when he’s trying to get his point across – whether it’s a different sense of humor, understanding, or point of view.

A good Dad does make a child feel safe and protected, and a good Dad understands the importance of teaching his child valuable skills so they feel confident and secure as they grow and mature. Fathers can contribute so much to their children’s lives, by taking the time to share their wisdom and knowledge.

The mission this month is for Dads to take time with their kids and go over the safety rules in your own inimitable style. Let them see the hero you are. Happy Father’s Day!

Child Safety Tips that Dads Can Teach Their Children:

1) I am special and I have the right to be safe.

2) I know my name, address, and phone number and my parents’ names, too.

3) My bathing suit areas are private.

4) I don’t always have to be polite – especially if someone makes me feel yucky or uncomfortable.

5) I don’t keep secrets that make me feel bad.

6) I never go anywhere with someone I don’t know.

7) I always CHECK FIRST with my parents or grown up in charge, before I go anywhere or accept any gifts from anyone – even from people I know.

For more information, or to book your own workshop, call 310-203-1330.

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