As humans, we all experience a myriad of emotions throughout our lives, both the good and the bad. One of the not-so-great emotions is terror, which can be evoked through various stimuli such as horror movies and TV shows. For me, this fear often manifests itself as recurring nightmares about my wife or kids being in some sort of mortal danger.
In these dreams, they are always completely unaware of the perilous situation looming ahead of them, while I’m left with the burden of guiding them to safety. Frustratingly, they often become argumentative and refuse to follow my instructions. Which in turn, escalates the danger of the fictitious situation and invariably leads to them being caught up in the perilous event at hand. Their stubbornness leads to them being harmed by the serial killer, a monstrous creature, or even a runaway train.
The specific threats of the scenario are irrelevant; what’s crucial is that their failure to heed my warnings consistently endangers their lives and leaves me feeling desperate and helpless. Then I wake up, with my family safe and sound but thoughts continue to race through my head for the next couple of hours keeping me up – “What if that was real? Would they listen to me?”
When faced with a critical situation, your children must understand that it is not the time to assert their independence. While even the most well-behaved children may resort to temper tantrums or disobey instructional commands in inconvenient times, in life-threatening situations, the consequences can be disastrous.
Therefore, it is important to teach your children how to behave in stressful circumstances. One of the easiest solutions is to pick up and carry a child and evacuate the area. But what if you have more than one child, or if your children are pitching fits? This absolutely may hinder your ability to exit quickly. Teaching your children how to control their reactions and follow instructions will ultimately keep everyone safer in severe situations.
Easier said than done, right?
This is not a drill...
Parents and guardians can take precautions to help their children remain safe during emergencies. One helpful technique is to create a system of “emergency words.” This consists of a very short phrase that will only be used during a true emergency when the child’s life is in danger. The phrase must be easy for the child to recognize and understand, and effectively communicates that they must cease all non-essential activity and follow your instructions precisely.
An integral part of the emergency words concept is learning to use “compliance” or “command” voice. This combination of tone, emphasis, and facial expressions is used only when your child’s safety is at risk, emphasizing your expectation of immediate attention. To ensure proper response in an emergency, your family needs to become familiar with this voice and the use of physical expressions as non-verbal communication. This will assist your children in identifying the severity of the situation and reacting promptly when you issue an emergency word or directive.
Children must be aware of the gravity of using emergency words, and the potential consequences. As a parent, reassuring them that they will be protected from any perceived danger is crucial. However, this protection is only possible if they follow the instructions given to them. Emergency words should be carefully chosen to avoid public misunderstanding and not be commonly used in everyday conversations.
It’s recommended that you inform your kids that emergency words can either be whispered or yelled, and they should respond promptly and appropriately in any situation. By doing so, you’ll have effectively taught your children the importance of emergency preparedness, and have provided them with the necessary tools to stay safe in times of danger.
To be clear, we are talking about a sudden, imminent threat that must be evacuated immediately. Sometimes quickly and quietly, such as a burglar has entered the home and you need to escape out the back. Or if there is an active shooter in a public place and you need to escape to safety, not continue to browse Build-A-Bear. Fire drills or hurricane evacs are similar, but significantly different and also need to be addressed separately.
This is a drill...
As a responsible caregiver, you understand the importance of ensuring that your children are well-prepared for emergencies. You may have already established emergency words that your kids should be familiar with, but it is not enough to expect them to remember what to do a year or two later. You need to take training to the next level by conducting drills every few months so that the kids can learn to recognize and respond appropriately.
But be careful, drills should be taken seriously and not be turned into games. You need to make sure that the kids understand that emergencies are serious business and they need to take them seriously. As you conduct these drills, you can combine them with fire drills if your children are old enough to understand the parallels. Practice makes perfect, and the more drills you conduct, the better the children will get and the more they will get used to the idea of following your instructions, even if they are scared, hungry, or tired.
Only in Emergencies!
I have 4 children, so I understand that dealing with children in social gatherings can be quite challenging for parents. Controlling children can be overwhelming, especially when your kids throw tantrums or misbehave. It might be tempting to use the emergency words “just this once” to get your children to behave during such moments.
However, it is crucial to understand that these words are only for real emergencies. Misusing them as a manipulation tactic can cause your children not to listen to you when you genuinely need them to. Therefore, it is important to be careful and reserve your emergency words for critical situations only. By doing this, your kids will learn to understand the real meaning of these words and respond accordingly to them.
Remember, values such as honesty and integrity should be instilled in your children from an early age, and using manipulating words can disrupt this process.
Self-Defense Tools for Children
As parents, nothing is more important than the safety of our children. We want to ensure that they are always protected from harm and danger. However, we cannot always be there to shield them from every possible threat they may encounter. This is where personal safety alarms come in handy.
With the rise of predators and bullies in society, it is important for us to equip our children with the necessary tools to stay safe. Personal safety alarms are small, portable devices that can fit in your child’s pocket or backpack. When triggered, they produce an ear-piercing sound that grabs attention from anyone nearby. This can potentially scare off an attacker or signal for help, keeping your child out of harm’s way.
A personal alarm is an affordable, reliable and easy-to-use self-defense tool that every child should have. It is also important to note that when shopping for a personal alarm for your child, look for one with a high-decibel sound and easy activation mechanism. Additionally, one that comes with a flashlight function can aid in guiding them in the dark and providing visibility to potential attackers.
Personal alarms are an essential tool in protecting your child from danger, as long as they are instructed on how and when to use them. It is our duty to equip our children with the best protection possible so they can grow up to be safe, confident and successful individuals. As long as they are treated like self-defense tools, and not noisemaker toys, you are good to go.
Pepper Spray for Teens?
When considering whether a teenager should be allowed to carry pepper spray, it’s crucial to factor in a variety of variables. These may include the adolescent’s level of responsibility and maturity, as well as their surroundings and the laws in their particular region. For instance, many states have regulations on pepper spray usage, and a few might mandate a minimum age limit. However, even if a teenager is legally authorized to carry pepper spray, they must know how to use it properly and responsibly.
Parents should foster open and candid discussions with their teens about the potential risks and benefits of carrying pepper spray. It’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before deciding if your teen should carry pepper spray. Ultimately, it’s up to the parents to make an informed call about whether their teen is ready to take on this responsibility. Again, pepper spray is a disruptive self-defense tool much like personal alarms, not a toy that can be bragged about and brandished in jest among friends. Or used against a teacher that took their phone for cheating during class. Being mindful of all these concerns can help come to a wise decision regarding pepper spray for your teenager.
As far as I’m concerned, a mature 15-year-old girl that fights off a sexual assault with a shot of pepper spray is worth it every day of the week.
After Action Report
It is essential to be prepared for any emergency that may arise, especially when it comes to the safety of your children. Using emergency words in such situations becomes a crucial aspect of communication. Sometimes, danger may not be immediately obvious to your youngsters, and in such cases, it is necessary to calmly make them aware of the potential threat. In doing so, your children will understand the gravity of the situation and how important it is to react promptly and decisively.
It is also important to reassure them that they made the right choice by following your instructions and that their response was brave. By keeping your children under control during an incident, you are playing a significant role in ensuring everyone’s safety. Learning the correct way to use emergency words can help you avoid turning a fearful situation into a dreadful reality, and that is something every parent would want for their children.
As always, be safe and be prepared.