Kids need connections
- When children have strong, healthy relationships with nurturing adults, they become safer, stronger and happier.
- Positive adult-child connections are critical to keep children safe and nurture their growth and development.
- When a child feels loved and supported by multiple adults, they learn to value themselves and feel empowered.
- Kids with meaningful connections are more resilient in the face of daily life challenges and even more severe trauma.
What neighbors and community members can do
Take notice when a child or family is struggling. Try to:
- Smile and praise the child or parent – acknowledge that parenting is a tough but rewarding job.
- Offer to listen to a parent or spend time with a child.
- Connect with kids by volunteering.
- Create opportunities in you community for families to build new connections in safe, supportive environments.
What kids and teens can do
- You have the right to feel safe.
- You have the right to be treated with respect.
- Listen to what our body is telling you – if you don’t feel safe, say “no” to anybody if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
- Identify an adult you can talk to and talk to them when you feel hurt, confused or frightened.
- Keep talking until you finds someone who listens to you and helps you.
- If a secret makes you feel good, keep it. If it makes you feel scared or unsure – talk to a trusted adult.
- Stay at least 2 arms lengths away from a stranger. If you feel in danger, run away, yell and tell someone.
- If a friend talks to you about suicide, take it seriously. Get help immediately.
- If someone talks about guns or weapons, talk to an adult right away.
What parents and caregivers can do
- Teach your child the difference between a good and bad secret. (see above)
- Give your child permission to say “no”. Children need to know their right to be safe is more important than obeying adults.
- Teach your child their body is their own. Tell them what parts of the body others should not touch – like those covered by bathing suit. Use proper names for private parts. Teach the boundaries are for everyone – parents, family members, other kids, etc.
- Make a list with your child of safe adults your child can go to for help.
- Encourage your child to be involved in activities that build self-confidence. Ensure these activities have procedure/policies to ensure a child is never alone with just one adult or one other child.
- Teach your child not to give out email or home addresses, phone numbers, or personal information while on the Internet or handheld devices. Monitor the sites and services they use.
- Make sure your child understands that no matter what has happened, they can share with you without fear of being blamed.