For several years now my wife and I have been big supporters of “Parenting Safe Children”, a workshop taught by Feather Berkower aimed at giving parents the knowledge and tools to help lower the odds of sexual abuse happening to their child. (Once you have 3 daughters you start to worry a little more than you used to!) This post won’t focus on the workshop but on a new tool she just put out to help parents protect their kids. (check out the end to see how you can get the tool free!)
I realize it’s not a fun topic anyone wants to talk about, but this type of abuse exists and avoiding the topic won’t do anything to protect our kids. With the amount of kids we have in Stapleton I figured many of you could benefit from learning about what Feather has to offer.
Feather has been on a mission for years to teach as many parents as possible what they can do to help protect their child and I think she has had a huge impact.
I won’t get into all the details in this post, you’ll need to take Feather’s workshop (here is the workshop schedule) or read her book (here is where you can buy it), but I do want to tell you about the new tool she just came out with to help parents.
The tool is a “Conversation Starter Card” that was created to help you have conversations with caregivers that will be watching your child. One of the main things Feather explains that you can do to protect your child is have a brief conversation with each caregiver that watches your child. In this conversation your goal is to:
1. Invite this person to be part of your prevention team
2. Explain that your child knows the “body safety rules” (you’ll learn how to teach kids they are the “boss of their body” which empowers them against abusers)
3. Let them know that your child is not allowed to keep secrets.
Why do you have this conversation, which is admittedly pretty awkward? Because it protects your kid! 90% of child sexual abuse is committed by someone the child knows and trusts! That means if this is going to happen its not gonna be some shady stranger in a dark alley, it’s going to happen with someone that you hand your child over to willingly. I know that is hard to even think about but by having this awkward conversation with each caregiver you are conveying to them in a non-accusatory way that your child is educated about their body and doesn’t keep secrets. For a potential abuser this tells them that this is not a kid they want to target. (Want an example of a caregiver conversation…here is an example)
Feather knows it’s hard to have this conversation but after years of involvement in this field she knows it is critical so she’s come up with the “Conversation Starter Card”. It’s a small card that explains the Parenting Safe Children program and outlines all the items above that I stated you wanted to convey in that caregiver conversation. It just helps start the conversation and take pressure off you as a parent.
As I’ve gotten some practice having these awkward conversations it’s become easier but now I have a tool to carry with me that makes it even easier.
One thing I’ve noticed is that in Stapleton Feather already has a huge following, so in several of the intitial conversations I’ve had with parents before my daughter’s play dates I’ve found that they already know about Feather and the Parenting Safe Children program. It makes it so easy cause they are already on board.
To support the cause and Feather the Stapleton Scoop will pay for the Conversation Starter Cards packets for the first 10 people that email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just provide your name and address and I’ll have them delivered. You just have to promise you will be willing to have that awkward conversation to protect your kids!