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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our global efforts to help protect kids from abuse, bullying, and other harmful behavior, each day this month, we will share a time-tested skill from our Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

Tell an adult you trust anytime someone’s behavior makes you uncomfortable.

Skill #21: TELL Even If The Person Stops. As adults, we need to know that sexual predators sometimes try to “groom” a child by pushing against their boundaries in ways that are uncomfortable but not sexual at first. What kids need to know is that any kind of problem should not be a secret and that it is important to tell adults they trust any time someone’s behavior makes them uncomfortable, even if the person stops. Here’s how to help kids practice handling this situation.

This full practice is a part of the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

If someone doesn’t listen to a young person’s boundary or does something unsafe, this is a potential problem – and, kids are safest if they are in the habit of talking possible problems over with an adult they trust.

Explain to them, “If someone tries to touch you in a way that is unsafe or doesn’t listen the first time you ask this person to stop, it is important to tell an adult.

Even if the person stops, you can still talk about what happened with an adult you trust. This is especially important if someone has broken the Safety Rules about private areas, bribes, or misusing power.

Remember that problems should not be secrets, even if you really like this person and think they might get upset if you tell.”

To practice, pick an example relevant to the young person and say, “Let’s imagine I’m a new music/sports/art/swim teacher who keeps touching your hands, even though you keep asking me to stop touching you, and instead you just want me to just show you what to do. Suppose, I said, ‘You HAVE to let me touch your hands. I’m the teacher, and I can touch your hands if I want. It’s my job.’”

This is a misuse of power, so coach the child to say, “Stop, or I’ll tell!” and say, “Good!”

Continue: “Pretend this teacher listened to your strong boundary and stopped. That’s good. And, you still need to tell because I broke a Safety Rule by misusing my power. Let’s practice telling.”

Coach the child to get your attention, look at you, and tell the whole story.

Say, “Thank you for telling me. I will help you.”

For older kids and teens, your answer might be, “Thank you for telling me. Let’s talk more and make a plan for what to do.”

Discuss the Kidpower Protection Promise with all of the young people who are important to you.

For a FREE explanation on the simple methods you can use to teach children to use each of these skills, download the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook on our website –this ebook will be FREE of charge in English, Spanish, and Arabic in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Please share this skill with others. Let’s work together to teach young people to take charge of their safety, increase self-confidence, and develop healthy, positive relationships! 

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Published: April 21, 2019   |   Last Updated: April 21, 2019

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.