One word. One simple word. I swear to God if I’d known it was okay to say no to anyone who was trying to harm me, most of my childhood molestations and teen assaults would never have occurred. But I didn’t know because my parents didn’t know to teach me that. Instead, I learned to make nice, to make everyone around me feel comfortable, even if it meant I felt uncomfortable.

This is probably the easiest lesson you’ll ever teach your child because she’s a master at saying “No!” loud and often. Every parent dreads running in the “no” wall with their child, but if you teach her when and how to say it, you’re giving her the most important tool to keep predators at bay.

When to Say No

At this age, your darling will say “no” whenever and wherever she wants. The trick is to teach her when it’s most important to say it. Try this: “I want you to know that if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or scared or yucky inside, you should yell “No!” and run away from them. Then you should tell me or another safe person right away. Even if it’s somebody you like or love, like Grandpa or your teacher or your babysitter, you can always tell them no if they do something that makes you feel bad inside.”

(Of course, the person may not stop just because your child tells them to. I cover how to teach your child to physically defend herself in my book, Badass Parenting. )

How to Say No

There’s a mnemonic device you can use to help your child remember what to do in a sketchy situation. Have her practice thinking, “No! Go! Tell!” Explain that this means she should yell “No! Don’t touch me!” then run away from that person, and then tell somebody what happened. (Reassure her that if she isn’t able to say no and leave right away, it’s not her fault; it’s the other person’s fault for being inappropriate.)

Teach her how to say no in a way that will ensure she’ll be taken seriously by the offender. Say: “There’s a good way to say no and a not-so-good way to say no. You want to make sure the other person understands that you mean no. You show people you mean no by the way you hold your body and the way you talk. You stand tall, look the person in the eyes and say “No!” in a firm, clear voice.”

Show her what this looks like and have her practice it until she says it loudly and with conviction.

Teaching your child to say no, especially to adults, when she feels uncomfortable or threatened is one of the most important things you can to protect her from predators.

Be the parent your child deserves!


the Badass Grandma

About Badass Parenting

In Badass Parenting: Prepare Your Kids to Deal with Danger without Scaring the Hell out of Them, danger expert CJ Scarlet helps parents teach their children how to avoid and handle themselves in scary situations ranging from bullying and digital dangers to sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and kidnapping.

After reading this book, you’ll feel more knowledgeable and confident in your ability to talk candidly with your child at her age and maturity level without scaring her to death. It’s time to ditch the worry and get some sleep!

Edgy, funny, and irreverent, this unputdownable book (with TONS of downloadable bonus content!) is the new bible for parents looking to raise safe, savvy, confident kids.

“Badass Parenting is like a triple-dark chocolate cheesecake, with a layer of mousse in the middle (hint: the mousse is CJ Scarlet’s humor and style – which helps lighten up the cheesecake!). You will love this book!”

Karen Christie, Mom & Grandma

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