As a child with parents who travelled frequently for work, child safety was taught to me at a very young age. ‘No adult apart from our nanny was allowed in our home in my parents’ absence.’ This was one of the main rules my parents taught me. As a precocious stubborn 8 year old, I saw it as my duty to properly follow ‘the rules’. One day when a close friend of my parents came home while they were both away, I said hello and then told him that I could not let him in the house as ‘the rules’ did not allow it. And that he could return when my parents were home.
Now taking orders from an 8 year old is strange for most adults. And while my parents’ friend was amused by my strict reaction, he understood that these rules were necessary for the safety of me and my younger brother.
Are you worried that enforcing the ‘5 alerts’, ‘circle of love’ and ‘caretaker’s list’ may hurt or upset your family and friends? This is a valid fear. Showing children affection is natural, and you do not want to upset those close to you. But this should not come in the way of a child learning boundaries when it comes to his body. Just as my parents’ rules made it clear to me as a child that I was in control of my body, so do the ‘5 alerts’, ‘circle of love’, and ‘caretakers list’ help empower a child to have control over his body.
Child safety lessons become even more important over the holidays. The holiday season means your child comes in contact with more people. And he may even be unsupervised for longer periods of time over the holidays. The holidays make it the perfect time to follow the child safety rules and to tell your friends and family about them as well.
For those worried about offending their family and friends by ensuring the child safety rules, it is important to realise that those close to you will understand the need for having these boundaries. Further, having conversations about child safety with others in your social circles can help them learn about these rules and follow them with other children they come in contact with.
It takes everyone’s support to help ensure child safety. Let this holiday season be the time you and those close to you commit to being child safety champions, and keep children all over the world safe from abuse.