When someone misuses their power, kids need to know how to speak up!

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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.

Skill #18: What if Someone Misuses Power? Suppose that an adult says to a child or teen in their care, “I’m in charge here, and you have to do what I say even if you know it’s wrong!” Or, “I’m the adult, you’re the kid, and you have to obey me even if it is against the rules!” We teach children to respect adults in positions of authority, and they also need to know what to say and do if someone starts breaking their safety rules or is harming them. Here’s how to prepare kids to take charge of their safety by setting boundaries and getting help when an adult or bigger kid misuses their power.

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

Young people need to respect and listen to authority, but they also need to set boundaries if someone who is in a position of authority tries to break the Safety Rules.

Say to the child, “Sometimes people break the Safety Rules by using their power in a wrong way.

For example, suppose I am your teacher (if you really are the child’s teacher, you could say you were a coach or another grownup in charge).

Suppose I say, ‘I am the teacher. I am in charge, so you HAVE to do what I say, even though you know it is wrong.’

It is true you need to listen to the adults in your life, but that does not mean they are allowed to break the Safety Rules of your school and family.”

Practice by saying, “I am in charge and you HAVE to let me touch you even though it is breaking the Safety Rules!”

Coach child to, “Stand up, move back, and make a fence with your hands. Say, ‘Stop or I’ll tell.”

Tell the child that, even if this person stops, they still need to get help from another adult because this person you were pretending to be was acting unsafely. Remind young people problems should not have to be secrets, and to keep telling until they get help!

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 18, 2019   |   Last Updated: April 18, 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.