According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 700,000 students ages 12 to 18 are physically attacked at school every year. If that isn’t scary enough, studies estimate that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college.
Start with Self Defense.
It can’t hurt to consider self-defense classes offered through the local police department or a local karate or Tae Kwon Do studio, says Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D., executive director of National Behavioral Intervention Team Association.
Self-defense programs like IMPACT and RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) teach the importance of being aware of your surroundings and using all your resources (yelling “No!” or kicking and punching) to deter or stop an attacker.
- Talk About It.
Self defense classes are only part of the solution, says Van Brunt. It’s important for adults to proactively talk to their teenagers, not only about how to protect themselves in dangerous situations but also how to avoid those situations in the first place. Talk with them about being safe. Do not be afraid of it.
You want to have the conversation before the problem occurs, for example—if you’re a police officer or firefighter, you don’t want to train at the moment when you’re responding to a bank robbery or putting out a fire
Put Safety First (And Mean It).
It’s important to let teens know that their safety comes before worrying about whether there will be a punishment, according to Pastyrnak. For example, don’t condone drinking, but do offer to provide a lecture-free ride home if your teenager needs it. (Save the discussion for later.) If you keep open communication and keep judgment to a minimum, kids are more likely to seek you out.
Knowing that your kids will likely find themselves in an unsafe position, it’s important to have conversations about potential risky situations as well. Pay attention to your environment. Know what’s around and how it affects the decisions that you make