If you were to ask one hundred parents what their greatest hope is with regard to their children, I’m willing to bet that they would all say they want their children to be happy and safe. Safe kids are happy kids. Smart parents take steps to make sure they do everything in their power to keep their children safe. But as parents, we can do everything “right” and still find that our kids make bad choices or by no fault of their own, find themselves in dangerous situations. And that is why I am writing about the book Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe.
I could give you hundreds of examples of smart parents that did their due diligence, educating their children about good touch and bad touch, listening to the “uh-oh” feeling, internet safety, etc., yet still their children were hurt or even killed. It’s the worst part of being a parent, isn’t it? The reality that something could happen to your child; something violent, horrible and too scary to even think about, let alone discuss, especially with children.
So how do we talk to our kids about safety?
Another parent overheard me talking to my daughter about safety, a quick review, before leaving her at camp for the first time, and she said, “Don’t you think you are scaring her?”
I wanted to kick out her kneecaps and tell her to suck a duck’s dork, but I did not.
Instead I said, “Do you think it would be scarier for her to learn about safety from her mother, who loves her, or to be a vulnerable know nothing, increasing her chances for being kidnapped and locked up for years being sexually molested by a drug addict or raped by a trusted adult who is supposed to keep her safe?”
It was so quiet, you could have heard a mouse fart!
Maybe that was harsh, but life is harsh sometimes, isn’t it? The world is full of wonderful and kind people who would never think to hurt a child, but unfortunately there are people, sick and evil people, who truly are just looking for the opportunity to do unthinkable, terrible things to children. I dislike talking with my children about these things, but it’s necessary. When I speak to them about safety, I do it in a way that speaks to their developmental age and I use language that they can understand.
I’d rather hit myself in the head with a hammer, repeatedly, than continue to address safety with my children, because when I do talk to them about safety, I have to actually acknowledge the reality that something could happen to them, even if they know all the rules and do all the right things. But I know that taking time to discuss these things with them increases their chances of being safe, especially in risky, scary situations where they need to do some quick thinking. If they know what to do, they will do it!
So when I was asked to read and review the new book, Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe, I jumped at the chance to do so, knowing that I would be able to tell you all about it and do a book giveaway. This book is a fantastic resource for professionals and parents. As a professional who has worked with many abused children, I’ve seen what these injuries do to children and families. The memories of my time as a mental health professional, hearing stories and seeing the aftermath of these traumas will haunt me for the rest of my days.
Although the subject matter is difficult, the book itself is an easy read. After an emotional forward by Terry Probyn, the mother of Jaycee Dugard, the authors provide a through chapter with directions on how to use the book. If I could jump up and down and scream and bang trash can lids while running up and down your street screaming, “PLEASE READ THIS BOOK AND USE IT TO TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT SAFETY NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS,” I would. The section in the book called The Safe Kid Kit, is, in my humble yet knowledgeable opinion, pure genius. It is, without question, one of the best resources available for parents and professionals alike, and believe me, I have read and everything I can possibly get my hands on with regard to children and safety. I can't say enough about what a great tool this is for parents who don’t know how to initiate these difficult discussions with their children.
Ever heard the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” TRUTH! I know how hard it is to have difficult conversations with children. Before I had my own wee kids, I spend considerable time with children whose parents didn’t provide them with information, not because they didn’t want to, but because they didn’t even realize they needed to!
Do not let this be you.
I hope you will all engage in a helpful and supportive dialogue about safety with each other by commenting on this blog and on my Facebook and Twitter pages. We can help each other and in doing so, increase the chance that our kids will make safe choices when faced with risky and/or dangerous situations, because trust me – they will. Please share or tweet a link to this blog. I will choose a winner for the giveaway randomly (meaning that I will close my eyes and use my dog’s paw to select the winner). I will also send the winner a copy of my book, because it’s just not right for me to ignore the opportunity for shameless self-promotion and to provide some comic relief for you after reading about a difficult topic.
* I was asked by the publisher if I would give this book a look-see. Aside from being given a book for myself and a book to giveaway, I was not compensated for this post.*