India is no country to raise daughters. I know about this. I am also a father of soon-to-be five-year-old twin daughters. Just like other parents, we are very protective of our children. We want to keep them safe from every danger.
At home, our daughters continue to be in their comfort place, filled with love, joy and happiness. We know that they are going to face the harsh reality of this world fairly soon. Rather, they have already started facing in several instances. There will also be occasions where they are alone out there and they have to learn to take care of themselves.
Self-defence for kids is important. It is not about hitting back. They are too young for this and this is not the purpose anyway.
Self-defence for kids is being aware of their surroundings. It is about having the confidence and the capability to grasp what is right and what is wrong. And, if it is wrong, how to deal with it at their age of 5 years.
Identify Unwanted Touch and Abuse
Some people have a habit of touching kids – mostly cheeks, sometimes back, nose, hair and at times, other body parts as well. This is completely uncalled for and unwanted all the times. This is no way to show one’s affection for a child of any age.
Our daughters are going to be five years, and even now, outright strangers feel that they can show their friendliness by touching them. We are telling our daughters to leave the company of these people. And if it gets repeated, immediately reach out to us.
Our daughters know their body parts and their functions. We are also teaching them about their private body parts and that should not be touched by anyone, even by the family members and their friends. If somebody touches, tell them not to do it and inform it to us right away.
Strangers and their offerings
Of course, not all strangers are bad. Most of them are good. Now, how to differentiate between a good stranger and a bad stranger, when many strangers have a habit of giving food items – mostly chocolates and sweets to children. I do not know.
As a result, we are teaching our daughters not to take any stuff from strangers. This looks impolite and rude to many people. But, I know that it is required in a country like ours for ensuring the safety of the children.
Our daughters do not go to any formal environment. Their visits to parks and their playing with children in the neighbourhood have been enough to get them introduced to being bullied.
They are waiting for their turn and somebody will push them out of the queue. They are making their sandcastle and somebody will stamp and run all over it. There are few kids in the parks for whom pushing, shoving, poking, kicking are also the means of playing with other children.
We are teaching our daughters to stay away from these children as a first measure. If these acts get repeated, we have told our kids to tell the child, who is doing it, not to do it again.
We have not yet reached the third stage of provocation.
Snaps and Videos
There are utter strangers in the parks, public places, public modes of transport and they start clicking snaps of our children. Few of them even want to take a selfie with them.
I do not get this at all. What is it that leads a person to photograph a child that s/he does not know? We have politely told them not to take snaps of our daughters. Though, we have not been forceful enough to check their devices and delete our snaps.
We are telling our daughters not to allow any strangers to take their snaps and videos. It is absurd to teach such a thing, but I have seen it happen several times that it cannot be called an unusual occurrence.
Mobile Number and Address
This is the basic point to be taught to a kid in self-defence. No parent would ever want to lose a child. But, things happen, at times.
To better prepare kids for such unforeseen events, we have told our daughters to reach out to police. And if police are not there, tell the strangers around to call their parents. They have memorized our address and the mobile number.
The above is what has come to our minds for teaching self-defence to our soon-to-be five-year-old twin daughters. It revolves around understanding their surrounding and keeping themselves safe and protected. It is, of course, age-appropriate and the list will keep growing with their age.
What else would you suggest for teaching self-defence to children?