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All adults working with or caring for young people can support their safety and well-being with these ten actions:

1. Set a good example. Young people learn more from what we do than from what we say. When you are making it a priority to manage your own emotional triggers, boundaries, act calm and confident, and put safety first, you are teaching powerful, positive lessons.

2. Put emotional and physical safety first in all of your words, actions, and decisions impacting young people – including about where they go, who is with them, and what they are doing, online and in person. Make the Kidpower Protection Promise to young people in your life so you are confident they know about your commitment to put safety first!

3. Stay connected in a warm, authentic way by accepting each as a unique individual, knowing what is happening with them, and staying attuned to how they are feeling. Take advantage of opportunities for ‘micro-connections’ with individual youth. This can be any action that communicates “I see YOU, and I value you just as you are!” – such as a smile with eye contact and a warm greeting that includes their name. This can take just a fraction of a second and can make a lasting, positive impact in your relationship.

4. Be clear about what is and is not safe physically and emotionally – including the types of harm that can be caused by social and relational aggression. Posting Kidpower Boundary & Consent Checklist posters in all of your shared spaces can help you address, resolve, and prevent possible problems early, before they grow.

5. Coach kids to act safely and respectfully towards themselves and others in daily life. Our article Practice as a Management Tool for Unsafe, Disrespectful Behavior includes a variety of examples.

6. Stay aware so you can quickly address problems that might undermine a young person’s well-being. Persist – even in the face of obstacles – until acceptable solutions are found.

7. Intervene powerfully, respectfully, and immediately to stop unsafe or disrespectful behavior. Our free Safety Leadership Initiative interactive resource is a powerful tool for developing strategies on your own or together with your colleagues, class, or group.

8. Develop a community of positive adult relationships as well as peer relationships for young people. Young people, including teens, are safer when they have at least one caring adult involved in their lives – including in their online lives.

9. Show youth that they are valuable, powerful, and capable by giving them experiences to develop these beliefs.

10. Get help when young people or their adults are stuck in destructive behavior or have had traumatic experiences that undermine their joy in life. Kidpower skills are powerful tools in the Mental Health toolbox – and, knowing and modeling how to Get the Right Kind of Help, such as Choosing a Therapist or How to Choose a Good Self-Defense Program, helps everyone be safer!

For more about adult leadership to protect and empower young people, see Kidpower article Worthy of Trust: What Organizations Need to Do to Keep Kids Safe and Kidpower publication Doing Right By Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.

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Published: March 26, 2020   |   Last Updated: January 4, 2024

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.