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A recent Kidpower success story was from the parents of a six-year-old boy. As the adults were busy chatting, the kids were playing in another room. After quietly telling his cousins to stop tickling him and being ignored, their young son suddenly stood up and yelled loudly enough to be heard all over the house, “STOP! I DONT’ LIKE THIS GAME!”

His parents quickly stepped in and explained that games need to be fun for everyone.

Kids and adults alike benefit from being able to speak up instead of suffering through intrusive games, conversations, affection, and other pressures that often become issues during the holidays.  Last month, I was interviewed on the morning radio show with WBEZ 91.5, the NPR station for Chicago, for a segment on “Should We Force Kids to Show Affection?”  One of the callers told a poignant story about how being forced to hug and kiss relatives made it harder for her to set healthy boundaries for herself well into her adult life.

We had an excellent discussion about how to handle different issues during our Turning Problems Into Practices Conference call a couple of weeks ago. Some of the topics covered included:

1. How to include a child with special needs in family activities.
2. How to interrupt and redirect a conversation that is embarrassing or upsetting.
3. How to be proactive in preventing problems when families have different routines and different needs.
4. How to support a younger child in being able to set boundaries.

Here is the recording:

Healthy boundaries can help all of us to have more fun and fewer problems with people – during the holidays and all year long!

Sharing knowledge and skills about when to speak up and how to speak up is important.  Here are some resources that can help:

Touch in Healthy Relationships

What Kinds of Secrets Are Okay for Children to Keep – And What Kinds Are Not?

Five Communication Strategies I Already Know – But Forget to Use

The Art of Giving Thanks: Generous Gratitude

Holiday Family Safety Plan for Going Out in Public

Holiday Power: Taking Charge of Emotional Safety During the Holidays

Holiday Boundaries: Protecting Children’s Emotional Safety and Helping Others Do the Same

Advocating With Family Members for Your Kids

Kidpower Safety Plans for Children With Disabilities

How to Make Family Gatherings Great Instead of Awful

No Forced Kisses for Your Kids: A Holiday Safety Tip for Families

Seven Emotional Safety Techniques

Grandparenting: Supporting Strong Family Relationships – 7 Ground Rules From Kidpower

I want to thank everyone who has made a year end donation to Kidpower. With your help, we are bringing greater safety and confidence to people of all ages and abilities all over the world. And there’s still time for those who wish to contribute to have your year-end gift doubled by one of our generous supporters.


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Published: December 22, 2015   |   Last Updated: December 22, 2015

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.