The Priority of Communication for Keeping Kids SafeSep 26, 2021
These are the two priorities of personal protection, but certainly they overlap in all areas of their life. These are kind of no brainers, but I want to explain to you where they play a critical role in personal protection and keeping your children safe throughout their life.
I feel this is one of the most important topics to understand. We can go in a lot of different directions, whether it be through techniques, teaching kids how to get out of body holds and arm grabs or hair grabs, or if someone grabs them and pulls them, what do they need to do?
...But that only addresses what we call the point of no return. That one area doesn't address the whole escalation phase of the de-escalation phase. This is critical to understand.
That is the one point that almost all self-defense programs are built on, but really have the smallest amount to do with the whole life cycle of violence or personal protection and keeping a child safe.
Then there's that period of being able to identify risks, being able to identify problems before they grow to a point of losing complete control. Let's offer some examples,
How do our children do that?
How are they able to recognize patterns and situations or anxieties as they begin to build? Then after something goes past that point of control, whether it be a fight, whether they are witness to something traumatic? Then what?
How do they have agency over themselves to be able to lessen the mental burden that they've been exposed to?
It's extremely important that you, as a dad, understand there are two priorities that you as a father have to impart on your children to
- Help them to become hardened
- Help them to be able to manage trauma
- To be able to manage conflict and situations in that escalation phase
- To be able to have that agency that I just spoke about after a situation occurs
The first is self-esteem.
They must have a feeling within them that they matter, that they count and that nobody can mess with that, or talk down to that. You can't break that apart.
The second is going to be self-confidence.
This is built on self-esteem. This is that, as you know, when I want to do something, I'm going to give it my best. I'm going to go all in. I'm confident that I'll be able to push through this obstacle. I'm confident that I can manage this situation. I'm confident that I can recognize these problems before they occur and when they do occur, I will make sure that they don't spin out of control.
The third one is going to be self-awareness.
And a lot of times people mistake selfishness, "You're being selfish." or "You're being self-centered."
When actually what's going on there is they are being aware and have created boundaries that you probably shouldn't be crossing.
Having boundaries is extremely important and having a sense of self awareness where they are right now, where they're going, what they're doing, what they're planning on, making sure that if someone can't impose their will on them because they have those boundaries.
- Self self-awareness
Self-awareness goes into physicality, especially when we discuss personal protection. There is a saying that 'your track and field skills are going to save you a lot faster than any black belt'. Your ability to run, your ability to move, your ability to not look like an easy target is vital to all spectrums of safety and survival.
When I say physicality, meaning you're not slouching forward, you're not looking down at the ground, you're not walking around and visibly looking like an easy target. That is self-awareness and that physicality is upright.
That's also built on confidence too, isn't it? Looking straight ahead, possibly walking around with, you know, a a strong smile, having some command presence when you shake someone's hand, maybe you've got a good strong grip.
The second priority is going to be communication.
Your ability to both communicate in the moment, communicate in the moment of escalation, be able to communicate and manage a situation that's spun out of control, whether it's they are involved in that, whether it's some type of violent altercation or whether it's something of like social exclusion.
Being able to recognize communication in the escalation phase communication and where it plays in that point of no return - where everything has gone out of control - then also also in the de-escalation phase, will help them to be able to manage those situations.
Asking our five year old son to communicate in a situation is going to be a lot
Giving your kids clear direction on how to communicate isn't as important as you giving them permission to communicate. Share with them, show them, give them permission to do this.
You need to make sure that you as their father, give them permission to communicate in that moment, go through role, play with them, have them speak with command presence, have them speak, have them articulate clearly to you what their intentions are, how they feel, how they feel uncomfortable, how to back off. How to step away.
One other area of communication that can become pretty complex is proper articulation.
Teaching a child how to articulate in that post-conflict area after a situation has happened can make a difference between a case closed scenario or years of litigation. If they have to talk to the police, a guidance counselor or school principal, how to articulate a situation after it's happened properly is critical.
Post conflict comes with a massive chemical dump, depending on the severity of the situation ... but you must recognize that there is going to be a whole emotional dump that's going to happen.
Most likely to a child who has just an experienced situation like a fight or some type of high risk altercation or some situation.
Your willingness to role play today with you children, is going to help them to go through that situation much, much easier.
I would encourage you to go through some articulation exercises with your child, explain the situation to them that just happened, then have them explain it back to you and how they were involved.
What are they saying?
What words are they choosing this way?
If you go through this with them, you're creating imprints that will help coach them along a situation when it if it does happen in their life. Those imprints that you've created in these conversations will serve them and they'll be able to use as reference points when they're completely in a state of confusion or in a state of trauma in that moment.
Don't ignore building a solid communication priority with your children. Their ability to communicate, whether it's in conflict, in that crisis period or it's in post-conflict ... their ability to articulate and communicate that stands on where they are in their sense of self, their self esteem, their confidence in their self-awareness that is going to very much guide their ability to communicate and the strength of their communication in that moment.
I can promise you that if you're reading this right now, then you're already someone who has these priorities in place for your children.
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