As a parent, you face an endless list of worries. When your children are babies, you may worry about whether they’re eating or sleeping enough, and whether they’re hitting their developmental milestones on schedule. As they get older, you have to help ensure that they learn social and interpersonal skills, including how to share and get along with their peers. One aspect of parenting no mom or dad wants to think about, but has to talk to their children about, is how to help them avoid becoming the victim of violence or abuse. Fortunately, teaching your children some simple self-defense techniques can help them stay safe, and help you do the same.
The statistics are sobering. About one-third of kids will be physically assaulted during any given year, and about half will be assaulted while they are children. About one-quarter experience some kind of maltreatment during their childhoods. Of course, you can’t protect your children from every possible danger, but you can help equip them to be able to respond to potential dangers by teaching them self-defense techniques. In fact, knowing these techniques can help you respond to a threat as well and reduce your risk of becoming the victim of an assault or a crime.
Self-defense starts with being aware of your environment and any potential dangers. Pay attention to what’s happening around you, keep your head up and senses engaged. Don’t walk around looking down at your phone; instead, look at people around you and make eye contact so the person knows that you saw him or her. When driving at night, park in well-lit, populated areas and look around to see if anyone’s around your car before you get out or back in the vehicle. Trust your gut — if something feels wrong to you, respect that. Try not to put yourself in a vulnerable position.
Teach your kids to do the same thing when they are out without you. If they feel uneasy about being with someone or going somewhere, even an adult they know well, they should listen to their gut. If someone tries to abduct them, teach them to yell “You’re not my daddy!” or “You’re not my mommy!” repeatedly and loudly, to get peoples’ attention. Show them simple self-defense moves, such as making fists and punching as hard as they can repetitively. Aim for the nose or eyes, if possible. Another effective move is to stomp on an attacker’s foot, using your heel, which can cause a lot of pain. Throwing something at the attacker’s face can provide a distraction that you can use to get away. In addition to these techniques, you can hold keys in your hand and use them to jab at the attacker’s eyes or face. For more information on how to protect yourself and your child, check out this infographic created by a private security contractor.