The Parenting Edit

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PROTECTIVE BEHAVIOURS IN A NUTSHELL

SO WHAT IS PB?

Protective Behaviours develops personal safety skills that help to keep individuals safe and work towards reducing violence and abuse in the community. The program itself is aimed at effectively educating young children as a child abuse prevention strategy.

Now that's out of the way, there are TWO THEMES that PB covers

  1. WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE AT ALL TIMES
  2. WE CAN TALK WITH SOMEONE ABOUT ANYTHING NO MATTER WHAT IT IS

Under each of these themes are key concepts:

WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE AT ALL TIMES

  • PERSONAL SAFETY - feeling safe, recognising safety, rights and responsibilities, secrets VS surprises, the safety continuum, personal space, body ownership, public and private, saying no
  • EARLY WARNING SIGNS - body signals, specific/internal/physical sensations, feelings and reactions, minimising risks

WE CAN TALK WITH SOMEONE ABOUT ANYTHING NO MATTER WHAT IT IS

NETWORKS - asking for help, relationships, communicating with and supporting others, inviting people to be on your network, persistence

So let's break it down...

THEME ONE

WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE AT ALL TIMES

FEELING SAFE / RECOGNISING SAFETY

  • Talk about feelings - a brilliant resource to purchase is The Feelings Series by Trace Moroney
  • Identify and acknowledge feelings incidentally across the day
  • Identify safe places, people or a time they felt safe
  • Model and support appropriate language and actions of feelings
  • Label behaviours/actions as safe or unsafe👇 AUSLAN signs you can use with your kids!

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • We are born with our Rights, we don't earn them - great book For Every Child by Unicef & We Are All Born Free
  • The right to feel safe is a HUMAN right
  • Human rights cannot be removed
  • Rights may not be respected by they still exist and the person whose right is not being met can take action
  • With rights, comes responsibilities - like looking out for others

SECRETS VS SURPRISES

  • Surprises - are kept for a short time, usually have a happy oucome, everyone eventually is told!
  • Secrets - unsafe, make us feel yucky, someone tells you "don't tell anyone", lasts a long time (sometimes forever), can involve threats
  • Recognise that all secrets can/should be told to a safe adult by creating a culture where secrets aren't kept e.g. discourage statements like "don't tell mum I gave you a lolly"

THE SAFETY CONTINUUM

+ A TIME LIMIT👇
  • Identifying situations where your child sits at each of these stages on the safety continuum (dentist, someones house, a particular activity etc) and identifying the feelings/body signals (discussed below) at each stage
  • Safety = CHOICE + CONTROL

PERSONAL SPACE

  • Understanding personal space and respecting others personal space
  • The Circles Concept (below) which helps children to identify which adults fit in which circle - by the way it is INDIVIDUAL, your child CHOOSES who they put in which circle and this can change as they choose - supporting "from my head to my toes I say what goes, my body belongs to me"
  • 👈 Here's a poster I created a few years ago that outlines what each circle represents - this is a great tool for all children, including those with Special Needs!

Resource above find here

BODY OWNERSHIP / PUBLIC AND PRIVATE

  • Using correct terminology for naming body parts - they aren't dirty words! Remove the stigma, discuss them comfortably with your child so they are comfortable talking to you about anything
  • Children need to be able to communicate openly without being misunderstood or fearful of certain topics
  • Identifying private and public body parts, clothing, behaviours, places
  • The MOUTH is PRIVATE - even though you can see it with your eyes no one should put anything in your mouth unless they are a doctor or dentist taking care of your health and you have a safe adult with you
  • Safe and unsafe touch - this goes for hitting, kicking etc but ALSO someone touching private parts
  • My body belongs to me is a great song by Jayne Heskett 👇

SAYING NO! ASSERTIVENESS!

Practice using these different NO's incidentally and explicitly through role play with your child

  • The Playful No - I feel safe, I am having fun
  • The Polite No - I feel safe and I have been given a choice e.g. would you like broccoli? "no thank you"
  • The Assertive No - I am getting my early warning signs (discussed below), someone has ignored by polite no e.g. your friend is tickling you and it isn't fun anymore
  • The Angry No - You have early warning signs, you feel unsafe, you want it to stop RIGHT NOW e.g. someone has hurt you, or someone is touching close to your private parts
  • The Emergency No - DANGER! I need help NOW! Very unsafe!

NO! GO! TELL!

Say NO, then GO, then TELL someone!

  • Use role play to problem solve different scenarios - use puppets/toys! Role play is an exceptionally powerful tool!

CONSENT

  • Your child has the right to say NO - no to a hug/kiss/cuddle/tickles/rough play. Forcing any kind of touch is not okay. We all have the right as adults, some people we hug, others we don't! It’s your choice, no explanation needed. This is the same for our children.
  • Your child has the right to say NO to ANYONE when it comes to touch - aunty, grandad, mum! Whoever it is, this is not about the adults feelings, this is about ensuring your child’s voice is heard.
  • Your child can change their mind - one day they can say ‘no’, the next ‘yes’. It doesn’t matter, it is their consent to give when they choose.
  • When your child greets their friend, model consent - “let’s ask your friend if they would like a wave, a high-five or a hug today”
  • Consent starts from birth e.g. “I’m just going to change your nappy!” “I'm going to wipe your bottom!” Label body parts anatomically!
  • And yep I’m going there… Be mindful of what is being posted online when it comes to your children and the audience! Even though we wish our world was perfect… there is a dark side to this online thing too!

EARLY WARNING SIGNS

  • These are the PHYSICAL sensations that we feel in our body when we are excited, challenged or feelings unsafe.
  • Early warning signs are different from person to person
  • Early warning signs can be fun and enjoyable if we have control of what is happening (safety = choice + control + a time limit)
  • If we get early warning signs because we are feeling unsafe we need to listen to our body and tell someone
  • Examples of EWS: sweaty, shaky, butterflies in stomach, red cheeks, wide eyes, hair stands on end, fight, flight, freeze, wet pants, wobbly knees, feeling sick

THEME TWO

WE CAN TALK WITH SOMEONE ABOUT ANYTHING NO MATTER WHAT IT IS

(or TELL SOMEONE! for younger children/children with special needs)

NETWORKS

  • This is a network of adults, chosen by the child, who will be able to provide support, assistance and if necessary protection. The people identified by your child should be safe, responsible and trusted. They should be accessible, committed to listening to your child, believing them and taking action.
  • Every child should have a Helping Hand Network - a template attached below
  • Be sure to ASK/NOTIFY the adults on their network - a letter template attached below
  • The networks needs to be updated/checked often - don't assume that someone that is on your child's network from last year is still okay to be on there now!
  • Discuss emergency services and community helpers where your child can seek help from e.g. police, fireman, teacher, a store worker, doctor, calling 000

PERSISTENCE

  • If the first person on my Helping Hand Network isn't able to help me, I ask the next person, then the next person and so on! Persistence is a skill that we need to instil in our kids!
  • Discuss WHY is it important to persist e.g. keep yourself safe and healthy, keep others safe and healthy
  • Role Play different ways of asking for help with different scenarios

So this is Protective Behaviours in a nutshell! Feel free to ask any questions you have!


HOW TO MANAGE A DISCLOSURE👇


Websites to check out - loads of resources on here!


I also highly recommend attending a Protective Behaviours Course!

Contact

Courtney  |  1300 289 875
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