Teachsafety

parent and teach safe kids

Is Your Child a Free Range Child? Were you one?

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Years before she became a celebrated speaker, author Lenore Skenazy learned that I was writing about teaching safety, and actually wrote and called me, or maybe I called her…can’t remember…. She was in a hot debate
As the World’s Worst Mom for letting her son take the New York Subway alone.

Since then I have stayed in communication with her, not always agreeing but totally supportive of the outcome we both believe in, empowered healthy kids, who know how to take care of themselves, given basic safety guidance.

We both believe that it is the parents who have become afraid, and then affected their children with the same fears. It reminds me of the parents of students I had over the years
Who were not allowed to have pets, because they could bite or scratch them.

Things I worry about.
Children sitting in front of a screen, your pick, tv, iPad, computer, video game, etc.
Children not playing in a group, riding bikes, running around with squirt guns, and water balloons, and basically laying outside, until they are really tired.
How many of us played outside? How many obese kids did you know who played outside?

I went to camp for 3 months , a whopping three thousand miles from home, when I was 8,9, 10 and 11. There was some supervision you bet, but I was not under constant surveillance. I learned to swim, ride a horse, raise a calf, feed the cows, new games, adventure, learned to Bail hay, camped and sang around a campfire…made homemade peach ice cream…picked blue berries in the White Mountains…..the best summers of my life.

I was always hungry at supper time , always happily tired at night and skinny as a rail.
I never once felt unsafe or afraid.

Even at home, we always played till dark or until our Mom whistled.

So why am I telling you all this?
I wrote a book to teach children how to be alert to behaviors, what to do if faced with bad behavior and what I had hoped to gain is empowerment for parents as well as children.

I have not seen the study Lenore discusses, with Forty year low in kidnappings,
But safety is so much more than that. It is teaching kids common sense and resourcefulness.
Think about the girl and boyscouts. Don’t they end up earning badges in being resourceful?
Knowing what to do when faced with situations, commonly called, life?

Yes, there will always be bad behavior with humans, from the playground to the grave.
But keeping a child locked up, or in a parade of careful scheduled activities is not the answer.

When you give my book, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?, 20131228-075925.jpgto a teacher, a new parent for a baby shower, to a friend, you are not just hoping to help their children become safe people, but the actual teaching of the kids then allows that parent to allow their child to become “Free Range.”
If parents each felt they have helped to develop a child into an empowered
Human being, you will see more children, emerging from their air conditioned homes,
Asking each other to go and play!

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IF SCHOOL DISCIPLINE IS THE HEADLINE THEN FAMILY DISCIPLINE SHOULD BE THE BY LINE

In my local paper, the headline , Discipline, dropout rate discussed.  The author’s premise is that black boys in  particular, are not able to handle the school discipline policies and hence face a larger proportion of expulsion and dropouts  per capita.  They have gone so far to employ a reach-out program. Let’s discuss this,  teachers have the same standards for all of their students.  However not all of their students have standards that would help them succeed in school. School discipline is not supposed to be the first discipline.  The school standards are based on a teacher getting a child who has a baseline of attributes. What would a kindergarten teacher hope for in a student? He/she would hope they come from a happy, loving family that has instilled self -worth, and  a value system learned early on about how others should have basic respect, sympathy and empathy for a fellow human being. Hope that their parents were role models of  what makes a good person, and a safe and trusted adult. Hope they were fed nutritious foods to grow into a healthy and happy five year old. Hope that  they were taught what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Hope they were read to , so  that the first letters, numbers, words and books they see are in their own homes. It seems to me these are ingredients.  If you give a kindergarten teacher a child with the ingredients listed above they would both have a chance.  The child would have a chance of meeting the standards imposed by the state.  The teacher would have a fighting chance of  producing a first grader who can accomplish a miracle, reading, beginning to write, etc.

The second headline, Black parents say rules could hurt kid’s future.  So the rules are the problem?  Let’s go back to our ingredients list.  You know the old saying about whose problem is it?  Is the child being raised to succeed, or is the school system in charge of parenting also?  As a retired school teacher, I know teachers will be rolling their eyes at that!  For years they believe, they have been role model,, mother , father, counselor, nurse, police, and the complaint department, with  a side of educator included in there somewhere.

In my class one bright and cheery morning one little fourth grade girl ran up to me with a quiet smile and said, ” I had to hide under my bed last night, because Mommy and Daddy were fighting again, but I got my homework done!”

Let’s get back to the ingredients list.  Give the teacher a happy, healthy, well -adjusted, respectful child, and they will give you a good student capable of making the grade, finishing high school and becoming a,productive member of society.

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The Sandusky Trial

Where do you begin? The horror of the children, now grown, retelling of the abuse of their mentor?
How do we begin to make sense of this or make sure we can stop this kind of abuse?

SO MANY CHILDREN ARE WALKING AROUND SHROUDED WITH TERRIBLE SECRETS!

Again, I will tell you that we have public education. That is in itself imperfect, but one of the best
Things I can tell you about it is children go there. They are there on a regular basis with people who in general, care about their well being. They are actually payed to make a concerted effort toward each child, most do it because they love it, and truly care.

So we have the children there, all of them, the abused, the molested, the unwashed, the unfed,
the children of neglectful or ambivalent parents….you see the children every day, but they might
not look in need.

So, if a teacher, talks about the worth of a person, and what good and bad behavior looks a feels like when a child is young. They are talking to two audiences. The ones who look up interestingly at him, never having felt anything but love and kindness, and the others, who also look up interestingly, thinking, he is talking about me, what I’m going through.

I always ask children to listen and no hands up until after the lesson. I explain that I would really like to hear what they have to say, but we will talk afterward. That is because the whole group
Does not need to know what their , Example- mom’s boyfriend, has been doing, etc. But the principal, and parents and authorities might need to know.

So as much as I would like all of the great parents to teach situational to children. I need to get the
public schools to teach this, and every one of their trusted, safe adults need to establish with them that,

THEY ARE SPECIAL, AND CARED FOR AND THEY WILL PROTECT YOU,
NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO HURT YOU, SCARE YOU,THREATEN YOU,TOUCH YOU
WHERE YOUR BATHING SUIT COVERS, OR TAKE YOU AWAY FROM THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND TRUST.

When you read about these young men, most had come from broken homes, foster homes,
uncertain of the support of good and trusted adults.
They were ripe, for the grooming by this monster Sandusky. They had no self worth, and did not have a safety plan, in “their back pocket” as we say, to ward off this behavior, and recognize it for what it was.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF EVERY SCHOOL CHILD TO BE TAUGHT SITUATIONAL SAFETY, TO SAY NO TO ALL BAD BEHAVIOR, AND BAD SITUATIONS, TO SUPPORT THEM IN GOING QUICKLY AND TELLING, TO SAVE FIRST THEMSELVES, AND ANY OTHER CHILDREN WHO COULD BE POTENTIALLY HARMED.

If not my curriculum, then pick one that you feel is best, but do teach them self worth
And how to be safe, for the rest of their lives.

Melinda Reynolds Tripp
Child Advocate and Author of
What Should You Do? Helping Children Protect Themselves in the Twenty- First Century
On Amazon, and through Tate Publishing. 2010 Paperback, E-book, and on Audio download

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