As parents, we do all that we can to protect and create a nurturing environment for our children. From teaching them how to be responsible to simple roadside manners, we make sure that they are armed with everything they need to feel safe and secure in life. But have you and your child established a safe word yet?
What is a safe word?
Sometimes, children find themselves in situations where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and they have no means of safely getting out of that situation without drawing attention to themself. A safe word is an encrypted word or phrase that only you and your child will understand when danger arises (no matter if they are in your presence or not).
This word or phrase should be short, simple, and easy to remember.
Teach them the power of the word
Sit your child down and explain the importance of a safe word. Depending on your child’s age, you can go into detail on when they should and shouldn’t use the word (we’ll touch on that a little more in a second). Make sure your child understands that this word is powerful.
So they will know that matter what type of situation they are in, if they feel unsafe, or uncomfortable and can’t find a safe way to get out of a situation, the safe word is there to save them.
The most important thing to instill in their mind is that whenever the safe word is said, they can count on you to be there to rescue them.
When they should use it
There are times when this word should and should not be used, so make sure you make it clear to your child when to use it. Here are some examples of when they should and shouldn’t use it:
- If they feel unsafe at a party, friends house or family members house
- If they are in a situation where there are illegal activities going on like underage drinking or drug use
- If someone is making them feel uncomfortable by inappropriate touching or gestures
- If someone is threatening to hurt them or threatening that they will hurt someone they love if they tell what’s going on
- If they want to get out of school early
- If they want to leave their friends house because it’s boring
- If they want to test out the safe word to see if it works
How to come up with a safe word
The beauty of the safe word is that you can create your own unique word or phrase that fits for your family. Try to think of a word or phrase that would stand out in the midst of a hectic day or if you’re in the middle of doing something.
For example, the word can be something simple like them saying your first name- it’s simple, easy to remember, and will catch your attention! They can text or call you saying, “Hey Ludy, what’re we having for dinner.”
Or you can use a phrase. Something like, “Hey mom, just checking to see if Aunt Judy called yet” when in fact, you guys don’t have an aunt Judy in your family. Think of anything easy to remember and not so obvious that someone knows that something is up.
No matter what word or phrase you come up with, just make sure that you and your child know it by heart in case an unforeseen circumstance arises.
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