Nearly 90 percent of adults say they feel less safe than when they were growing up, even though today’s crime rates are at a level not seen since the early 1960s!
So, if crime rates in the US and the world in general have gone down so dramatically, why do we remain convinced that our kids are in grave peril if we let them out of our sight? I think it’s because the teasers for the evening news assure us that if we don’t watch their programs at 6:00, we’ll miss details of the latest ghastly shooting spree or never learn critical things like the three ways our toaster oven is plotting to murder our entire family while we sleep.
It could also be that we binge-watch too many horrific crime dramas and godawful shows filled with apocalyptic images of wandering dead people who want to eat our brains. (I mean, seriously, who wants to do all that walking?)
We also worry because we’re genetically hardwired to pay more attention to things that appear to pose an imminent threat than to stuff that seems unlikely to happen, say, being killed by a vending machine or a falling coconut (which happens more often than you’d think). Parents are terrified of terrorist attacks and serial killers, when, in fact, their child is far more likely to be killed by a rogue champagne cork. I mean, sure, it could happen, but are you really going to wrap your child in bubble wrap and make him waddle to school like a drunken troll every day?
Bubble Wrap? Hmmm…
Clearly you love and want to protect your child from harm or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. You may worry about her safety and want to arm her with information, but you don’t want to leave her feeling petrified. You may have no idea what to say or how to say it so she’ll actually listen to and apply your cautionary advice.
You may want to wrap your child in a protective bubble and defend her from every harm but doing so could emotionally cripple her and make her more, not less, vulnerable to predators. Teaching your child to fear every stranger and new situation actually inhibits her own intuitive wisdom that tells her when she’s in danger.
Don’t be afraid your sweetums will lose her innocence if you teach her about body safety. Nope; won’t happen. This is a cold, cruel world we live in and your kid knows more than you realize. In fact, she’ll be empowered and far safer when she knows what the dangers are and how to meet them head-on. It’s waaaay better to teach your child about sexual abuse, for example, than to pick up the pieces later because she didn’t know how to protect herself.
And don’t think she’s too young either. The most likely age for a child to be sexually abused is between the ages of 3 and 8. That means you need to begin the body safety conversation as soon as she’s verbal and keep it up until she leaves your care as a young adult.
So parent-up and start having those critical conversations with your child. I show you how in my book Badass Parenting, which will be published in July. Stay tuned…
Be the parent your child deserves!
the Badass Grandma
Author of Badass Parenting: An Irreverent Guide to Raising Safe, Savvy,
Confident Kids (to be released in July 2020)
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In Badass Parenting: An Irreverent Guide to Raising Safe, Savvy, Confident Kids, 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.
“Finally, a book about parenting that doesn’t scare the crap out of you!!!! We live in one of the safest times to be alive, and yet, most of us are terrified. Parents – especially so. It is refreshing to have a book that realistically looks at the real dangers our kids face and help us – (a) not freak out, (b) figure out how to help our kids deal with the risks without traumatizing them, and (c) does so while making us laugh! A trifecta. I honestly wish CJ Scarlet’s book existed when my son was younger. I would have handed it out to every freaked-out parent I met at every mommy and me playdate I went to. Parenting is hard enough; we don’t need to generate extra unnecessary hysteria. This book will help you realistically face the dangers of parenting (real or imagined) with love and humor. Thank you, CJ!” — Jennifer Hancock, author of The Bully Vaccine