5 Steps to Arming Your Child With Street Smarts
By Robin Sax
1. Teach young children your cell phone number to the tune of a song.
A 2-year old can sing 26 letters in a row, so she can probably master ten digits.
2. Make sure young children know the real anatomical names of their body parts.
Even if you use a nickname sometimes. The reason for this is that a child babbling in the backseat of a car that her best friend’s 14-year old brother put his cell phone up to her “nu-nu” might not get your attention. I can bet as soon as she says the word “vagina” your ears will prick up.
3. Instill in your child a sense that her body is her own.
They can say, “Don’t touch me there” or “I don’t like that.”
4. Make a plan for getting lost or separated.
Young children should be coached to look for another mommy to ask for help. (A mommy is a woman who has a child with her.) Older children should find a helping person such as a security guard or someone in a uniform, and big kids can navigate to a pre-discussed meeting place.
5. Ask your child to tell you if someone asks them to keep a secret.
Explain to older kids that responsible adults do not ask kids to keep secrets for them. Assure them that they will not get in trouble for telling another adult’s secret to Mom or Dad.
Robin Sax is a District Attorney who specializes in sex crimes against children. Her new book Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Keep Kids Safe answers the 100 most asked questions about this topic, including how to talk about it with children. It is available on Amazon.com.