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While we as parents should be talking with our kids often about stranger-danger, it’s a subject that is often overlooked or dismissed as scary or as a difficult conversation to have.
Many parents rely on the school system to help educate their kids about imminent danger, both online and offline. Professionals encourage parents to keep the lines of communication open and talk with their children often about the dangers of befriending new people in-person and online.
This article provides tips on how to get this most important conversation started. Don’t stop there. Make it a topic of conversation often. Don’t think kids will know it all the first time the subject of stranger danger comes up.
Let’s start with the beginning.
Know what the schools are teaching your child about sex, human trafficking, cyber security, human trafficking, abuse, self defense and more. Be aware what they are teaching, at what age, and what might be missing from this line up.
If you know your child has sex ed for a semester, lean in on that and have your own talk with your child. If the school is offering a self-defense class during PE, aks your child to demonstrate some moves and ask them when they should use self defense. Build upon what your child already knows about stranger danger and online danger to star the conversation.
Don’t go into too many details when talking about difficult subject. Be clear, honest and get to the point quickly.
At the same time, use easy to understand words and a vocabulary that matches their age. Don’t use hard to understand words unless you are willing to repeat yourself over and over. Explain things in simple ways.
Take time to listen: Once you’ve explained something about stranger-danger or cyber security, stop to listen. Ask the kids if they have any questions!
Talking about stranger danger and online predators is not a one-and-done conversation! Use news stories are a catalyst to bring it back up and to continue the conversation. Let your children read news stories that talk about cyber security, human trafficking, especially if the cases are about kids meeting strangers online. Talk about what went wrong.
Use real life examples to talk to kids about what can go wrong. Being abducted, opening the door for strangers, meeting someone online who is not who they say they are. Trusting strangers. Don’t ever lay the blame with the kids: always make sure your child knows to come to you with concerns for themselves or a friend.
It’s easy to say “do this, do that”, but be sure to emphasize what NOT to do! Especially if you talk about using technology to keep kids safe: talk about using security cameras, an alarm system and the importance of phone tracking and being in touch with family members at all times.
No matter what stories you read online about kids being kidnaped, hurt or deceived, don’t judge them in front of your child. Your child needs to know they can come to you even if they’ve made a mistake!
Last but not least – always, always, always keep your door open for follow up questions! Kids are curious and might need clarification. Stranger danger and the danger online predators pose won’t disappear just because you’ve mentioned them to your child. As your child grows into their teenage years, continue education them about these topics.
Arm your child with knowledge, confidence and self-defense tactics!
Heather of Strand Security teaches self-defense classes to kids, teens and adults on the Grand Strand. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details, and check out Myrtle Beach Self Defense today!
One of the most frequently asked questions about our Myrtle beach Self Defense classes is
“Can I bring my daughter/son?”
The answer is a definite yes! We encourage participation of children and teenagers in our self defense classes. We understand that one of the biggest fears a parent has is the personal safety and overall wellbeing of their child. We understand, because we are parents ourselves.
Therefore, our self defense classes welcome young children and teenagers alike, to come train alongside their parent.
There are some easy answers to this question “Why do children need to know self defense?”
Safety, awareness, power and much, much more; a list with the reasons why all of our children, male and female, need to know how to defend themselves (against a bully at school or in case of an attempted kidnapping) goes on and on.
It is by no means a complete list, but a great start to understand how self defense can help your child in childhood and beyond! (think college, and work environment!)
There is no ‘right’ age and no ‘wrong’ age for children to learn self defense, but we recommend starting the process early! In our Myrtle Beach Self Defense Classes we’ve had girls as young a 6 years old join the class. Often, preteens and teenager join us – and not all girls either. We feel anytime a child asks is a good time to teach them self defense, as well as anytime you feel your child could use a dose of self confidence.
When the children are very young, simple tricks and useful language are taught. Even a six year old can yell, scream, pull hair, bite, kick and punch and adult!
When teenagers come in to our self defense classes, they are often more reserved and need to be encouraged to be more vocal. They are taught to yell and draw attention to the situation before it escalates. With the older teens we also go over rape defense, knife safety, gun safety and pepper spray usage – because why have it not be able to use it?
Private classes or group self defense classes and martial arts classes are great ways to teach children self defense.
Children (and adults) learn by repetition, so we encourage children to get on the mat and learn self defense moves. We also demonstrate how to escape, how to attack, how to defend and much, much more. We purposely don’t always match people up according to size, because often those who attack you will be bigger, stronger, larger, taller. That type of intimidation needs to be removed – a child needs to have the confidence to know s/he can do something to get out of a dangerous or hairy situation, even if the attacker is larger or taller.
We recommend repeating self defense classes at a minimum twice per year, if the child is not enrolled in a martial art program, but ideally s/he would take a monthly class to be able to keep practicing and learning these self defense moves!
Check out our Facebook Page Myrtle Beach Self Defense and ‘like’ us to stay informed of new classes.