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Role Playing Helps Children Stay Safe
Everyone is well versed in being present and aware of their surroundings when they leave a safe place. Look around, and pay attention to what is happening in front, next to, behind and further up the street. Being distracted by texting or looking into our purses fumbling for our keys is no longer acceptable. Parents teach children how to observe what is happening in their surroundings. Regardless of where you are with your kids, it is unsafe to use or allow our electronic media and cell phones to distract us from being present in the situation.
At an early age, educate children what he or she should do if they feel unsafe or uncertain about someone or something in their environment. Talk about it, demonstrate it, and role-play it. Children have a sixth sense or intuition that alerts them when something is not right. Yet, that same intuition tends to dissipate as we grow into teenagers and young adults.
Teens will often write off that silent internal warning system that raises the tiny hairs on the back of our neck when there is danger lurking. Moreover, that little internal voice which tries to warn us “something is not right” is ignored because teens tend to feel they are invincible and immortal.
On the other hand, children especially, need the opportunity to talk, act, or role-play situations they may face. This helps them know what is appropriate or inappropriate as a response. For instance, have you told your child that if someone tries to grab him or her to drop “everything” and run like the wind to a safe person or place. Why do I ask this question?
Think about what you tell your child about his or her backpack, school supplies, school or dress clothes, schoolbooks or computer. Come on almost every parent has said, “If you lose it or if you break it, I will not be happy and you will not get another one.” Yet, when it comes down to a child running from a child predator for his or her dear life a heavy backpack may be the difference between life and death.
In this situation, do the material items really matter? Of course not, a parent is not going to care about a lost backpack or broken computer as long as his or her child is safe. How horrible to live with the knowledge that he or she did not escape safely and now you are dealing with a parent’s worst nightmare a missing child, or a child who has been abducted.
Teach children to run like the wind and to immediately drop anything that is weighing them down. Tell them that in this case they will never get into trouble. Children are our most valuable resource. They are what keeps us going, and life without them is not one many parents wish to experience. After all material items can be replaced. A child can NEVER be replaced.
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