You see it on the news…a botched child abduction in a Wal-Mart…your skin crawls and you think to yourself: “Would my kid(s) know what to do if somebody tried that?” The plain truth is that your kids will most likely NOT know what to do if you don’t talk to them about it and teach them frequently. You don’t have to make it scary or weird, just be matter of fact..kids appreciate honesty and can sniff out BS quicker than you think..atleast mine can. To get a quick snapshot of the situation, in 2011, there were over 58,000 kids abducted by “non-family” members, of these 58,000 only 115 were what the FBI called “sterotypical” kidnappings and/or abductions. So in the big scheme of things, despite what the media scares people to think, abductions are a rare event, but as in all things, “We hope for the best but ALWAYS prepare for the WORST.”
Here is a quick outline you can use to cover the Basics:
- Practice Avoidance and Deterrence
To put it simply, avoid bad places and bad people. Never leave your children alone in a public place, not even for 10 seconds. Never leave your child alone in a car while you run in to do an errand. Be smart. Think security before convenience. Predators look for people who are distracted with daily life for the advantage. Most non-family abductions occur in public places; there is a reason for this! The majority of abductions that occur in the home are family or acquaintance connected..the reason is simple: You are less distracted at home than in public. Your child must know the rules when out in public..when driving down the road, before you get to that store or the mall, go over the ground rules with your child, remind them and drill on these rules frequently.
The short list would include:
- Know mommy and daddy’s names and contact info
- Stay close all the time, do not wander
- If we get seperated, have a clear plan of action..my kids have cell phones and have the needed phone numbers plugged in, if your kids are too small, ensure they know to find a police officer and tell them they are lost.
- The Yell, Run and Fight Plan outlined below.
Tell them to go nuts..scream “HELP!!!” at the top of their lungs, make them understand the attacker does not want attention brought to him, so that must be their goal. If in a store, tell them to knock items off the shelves by any means they can..make people turn their heads. Understand that this is what saved the little girl in the Georgia Wal-Mart: she made too much of a fuss and the pervert beat feet out of there!
Escape..Run away!! Go where the attacker is not. Fortunately, since this is an inate reaction in most human beings when threatened this is not a hard skill to drill on with kids. One thing to teach them is if they are walking and say a car pulls up beside them and the stranger engages them in any way, simply turn around and go the opposite direction..this forces the attacker to turn around and it changes their game plan..this puts the ball in your childs favor and also draws more attention to the attacker and their vehicle, going back to the first fundamental.
If they have done the first two basics and the attacker is still persistent and somehow lays hand on them, now it is time to get nasty. Make them understand it is NEVER OK for any person to lay hands on them. You must also make them understand that they must never stop trying to do the first two basics: their goal is to get somebody to help them by drawing attention to the situation and keep trying to escape. The MO in most abductions is the attacker will try to get the child in a vehicle and out of the public eye as quickly as possible. Typically the vehicle is the type that they can load another person into easily (ie a van or large truck). Make the child understand a few things: (1) Try to stay attached to an object, like a bicycle, if the attacker grabs them. Whatever they can grab..grab it. The attacker will think twice about taking a child attached to something..once again; it interrupts their plan. (2) If the child can stop the vehicle, they can stop the crime. Teaching them to rip out electrical wires under the steering wheel or dash can interrupt the electrical and fuse systems, helping to immobilize the vehicle. In the event the child is put into the trunk, you need to teach kids where the emergency trunk release is located in most vehicles. Also, how to rip out the brake and signal light wiring, causing a huge red flag to draw attention to the vehicle. Remember to keep making noise…draw attention!!
It will always be up to the parent how they want to teach actual self-defense methods. Most folks will choose karate, tae-kwon-do, judo, etc and that is OK to an extent, but I would add the caveat to ensure that the instructor teaches real world fighting and not just “point” scoring for tournaments. Your time and your kids can be spent much more productively. My personal choice is a tailored set of combatives that are simple and easy to remember. Techniques such as the face smash, nut kick and ear slap will yield much more effective results than over complicated katas that sound cool but cannot be replicated on command with street simple effectiveness. You must remember your child will be outmatched in every way in an abduction scenario..sheer brutality will be their only advantage. Of course, when training, safety is paramount..NEVER over do any physical training with young children..their joints, ligaments and bones are still growing and irreparable damage can be done if not careful. Take frequent breaks and make it Fun!!