What is Kidpower

Kidpower.org is dedicated to preventing child abuse in all its forms by preparing people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life with training, resources, and skills to prevent and stop bullying, abuse, kidnapping, prejudice, and sexual assault.

The Kidpower.org e-newsletters are full of safety tips and ways to talk to your children in a kid-friendly way to give them the tools to take control of their own safety.

Kidpower launched their Online Learning Center May 16, 2021.

Workshops are also available.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

As part of Kidpower's global efforts to help protect kids from abuse, bullying, and other harmful behavior, each day this month, they will share a time-tested skill from our Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.
Kidpower Safety Tips for Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Other Caregivers

Skill #1: Build confidence by taking in compliments. Today, give at least one kid or a child's adult the gift of a meaningful compliment. Coach them to take your message into their heart. Meaningful compliments focus on actions like caring, trying, working, learning, or helping rather than on physical appearance, strength, or achievements. Taking in kindness helps kids to build confidence and belief in themselves, which is a powerful personal safety tool.Skill #2: Stay Calm to Make Wiser Choices. Both kids and adults can think more clearly and make wiser choices to solve problems if they are calm and in control of their feelings and actions. Practice together how to take a slow breath and get grounded by pressing your palms together or against your legs and your feet against the floor. And remember, kids learn better when their adults stay calm. 

Skill #3: Learn about boundaries to be safe. Understanding about boundaries and consent helps everyone develop better relationships - and helps to protect kids from abuse and bullying. Personal boundaries are like fences or walls between people to help them set limits about what is and is not okay or safe. Teach kids how to identify what their own personal boundaries are and how to notice when they are crossed. Learn more!Skill #4: Speak up to stop problems early. Speaking up right away when someone starts to bother you can stop problems sooner rather than later. Coach a child to practice looking towards your face and saying with a firm, polite voice, "Please stop." Speaking up helps children use their power to take charge of problems instead of just hoping they will go away. Learn more!

Skill #5: Build a visual boundary with "Stop Power." Sometimes words aren't enough. Clear, strong visual boundaries are more likely to be seen and respected when someone doesn't listen at first. Practice how to stand up and use one or both hands, palms facing outwards, to show a "fence" physically. Adding this body language to the words, "I said 'Stop!'" can make a verbal boundary clearer and stronger. Learn more!Skill #6: Get help from adults you trust. Kids are safer when they have trusted adults they believe will listen to them and help solve problems. Parents and other caring adults can help children know they will listen by saying, "No matter how busy or grumpy I am, you and your safety are more important than anything else! I always want to know if you have a safety problem or anything else that is worrying or bothering you." Learn more!

Skill #7: Persist in getting help. Most kids know that sometimes their adults don't listen or understand at first. When kids have safety problems, teach them to interrupt and keep telling until they get the help they need. They might have to ask lots of different people until they find an adult who will listen and do something to solve the problem. Persisting in getting help, even if an adult is busy, distracted, or grumpy at first, is an essential safety skill. Learn more!Skill #8: Your adults cannot read your mind. Tell children, "No matter how good they are at guessing, your adults cannot read your mind." When children (and adults) have a problem, they often wish somebody could read their minds instead of having to try and explain why they're asking for help. Think of a pretend problem a young person can relate to and guide them through a role play. Coach them so they can practice how to tell the whole story and persist in getting help from an adult who doesn't understand. Check out a sample role play conversation on our blog!

Skill #9: The Power of Saying, "No, thanks!" Children and adults alike are often uncomfortable in setting boundaries because they don't want to hurt the feelings of someone important to them. Being prepared to say, "No, thanks!" cheerfully, clearly, and respectfully is useful in lots of situations - from turning down unwanted food from a grandma to stopping a wrestling game that is getting too rough. Check out a sample "No, thanks" conversation on our blog!Skill #10: Touch is NOT Always a Choice!" As adults, we often forget that children are not "little adults" who understand things the way we do. Telling them that they always get to choose about touch becomes untrue when they have to get into a car seat, hold hands to cross the street, or go to the doctor. Kids are safer when they understand what is and is not their choice in different situations - and that any kind of touch or problem is never a secret. We can help them to learn with simple role plays.

Skill #11: It's OK to Say "No" to Unwanted Hugs or Tickling. Because they don't want to upset family or friends, kids too often endure unwanted hugs, kisses, tickling, cheek-pinching, or roughhousing. This is why the Kidpower Consent and Boundaries Safety Checklist is so helpful. The rules are that: touch or play for fun or affection should be: 1) Safe; 2) The choice of each person; 3) Allowed by the adults in charge; and 3) NOT a secret so their adults can know. Here's an easy role play to help children understand.Skill #12: Why Problems Should NOT Be Secrets. Child molesters don't want to get caught, so they try to pick on children who they think won't tell. Kids need to know what to say if someone asks them not to tell. They are safer if they know they can talk to adults they trust about problems, no matter how big, small, silly, or serious those problems might seem. This coaching conversation can help to prepare kids to not keep secrets.

Skill #13: What To Do If Someone Gets Upset. Emotional and peer pressure is a big reason why young people often have a hard time stopping unsafe behavior. When they set a boundary, the other person might get upset and "not like me anymore." Fear of losing a friend or approval can lead to risky activities and other problems. You can teach a child how to navigate this challenge by empowering them with simple techniques and phrases that allow them to take control of such situations. Try this role play.Skill #14: What To Do If An Adult Acts Unsafely. Studies show that most abuse is caused by people kids know. However, it puts upsetting images in a child's mind to say, "By the way, the person most likely to harm you is someone you love and trust." Instead, as soon as a child can understand, teach them why it's important to not keep problems a secret and how to get help. Here's an emotionally safe way to explain to kids about adults with problems.

Skill #15: The Right to Change Your Mind. Often kids and adults get stuck when someone says, "But you said this was okay!" Or even, "But you liked this before." Kids need to know that they have the right to change their minds about doing things that are supposed to be for fun or for showing affection, even when it's somebody they know, such as a family member, friend, or teacher. Use this simple role play to teach kids how to set this kind of boundary in a respectful and effective way.Skill #16: What If Somebody Doesn't Listen? Most people don't like being told what to do - and often have trouble listening when a young person sets a boundary about unwanted or unsafe affection or play. Especially with family members and friends who are important to them, kids might set their boundary once and then feel too uncomfortable to "push the issue" if the other person doesn't stop when asked. We don't have to let this happen! Here's how to prepare a child to persist in setting their boundary if somebody doesn't listen.

Skill #17: How to Resist a Bribe. Sometimes, to show the power of a bribe, we will tell adults in a parents' workshop, "I will give you an expense-paid guilt-free trip to Hawaii for as long as you want, if you will just do something a little bit wrong." Our adult students smile and wonder, "HOW wrong?" We then point out that, for children, a special favor or treat can be just as hard to resist as that trip to Hawaii! What can kids say to protect themselves from an unsafe bribe?Skill #18: What if Someone Misuses Power? Suppose that an adult says to a child or teen in their care, "I'm in charge here, and you have to do what I say even if you know it's wrong!" Or, "I'm the adult, you're the kid, and you have to obey me even if it is against the rules!" We teach children to respect adults in positions of authority, and they also need to know what to say and do if someone starts breaking their safety rules or is harming them. Here's how to prepare kids to take charge of their safety by setting boundaries and getting help when an adult or bigger kid misuses their power.

Skill #19: Talk About "Private Areas" and Safety With Kids. In order to recognize and stop sexual abuse, children need accurate, clear, age-appropriate safety rules about private areas that don't put upsetting images into their minds. "Good touch/bad touch" explanations are confusing to kids because sexual touch might feel good to them at first. Rules like "NEVER let anyone touch your private areas" are inaccurate because an adult might need to touch a child's private areas for health or safety. You can use this practice script to teach even very young children what they need to know.Skill #20: Telling An "Emergency Lie" to Be Safe. We teach children to be honest and keep their promises. Unfortunately, sometimes kids are threatened with harm unless they "promise not to tell" that someone has broken their safety rules. Teach young people that they can break an "unsafe promise" and tell an "emergency lie" IF they are doing it to be safe and are going to get help as soon as they can. Here's how to explain and practice this skill in a way that empowers rather than scares.

Skill #21: TELL Even If The Person Stops. As adults, we need to know that sexual predators sometimes try to "groom" a child by pushing against their boundaries in ways that are uncomfortable but not sexual at first. What kids need to know is that any kind of problem should not be a secret, and that it is important to tell adults they trust any time someone's behavior makes them uncomfortable, even if the person stops. Here's how to help kids practice handling this situation.Skill #22: Let Kids Talk About THEIR Feelings. Kids are safer when they have ongoing and open communications with their adults. The problem is that kids often don't talk with adults about uncomfortable feelings because they don't want a lecture or to get into trouble, especially as they get older. Children need adults who will listen with respect and kindness when they talk about anything that bothers them. Instead of ignoring or minimizing kids' feelings because what they are unhappy about was necessary, adults can be supportive by following this constructiveapproach.

Skill #23: Yelling So People Will Listen and Understand. Knowing not only how to use their voices in a loud, clear, and strong way but what to yell can help kids to escape from a dangerous situation. A loud voice attracts attention to a child in an emergency, and can startle someone who is bothering them. However, developing a strong voice and the confidence to use it doesn't just happen - it takes practice. Teach a child how to use their voice as a powerful safety tool.Skill #24: How to Redirect Unwanted Affection. Sometimes caring family members or family friends love give big hugs, cheek pinches, or sloppy kisses that the kids hate - or that they used to like, but don't as they get older. Well-meaning people may be hurt, surprised, or even angry when they are told to stop. By redirecting unwanted affection, kids can show they care to family and friends, while still setting their boundaries. This fun role-play gives kids practice on how to stop a cheek-pinching older relative.

Skill #25: Make a "Check First" Safety Plan! Do you always know where your kids are? Sadly, young people are most likely to be harmed by someone they know! They are much safer if their adults know where they are, who is with them, and what they are doing. So it's vital that kids know what their plan is and are prepared to "Think and Check First" BEFORE they change the plan. For example, say your child is playing outside your home, and a neighbor invites them in for cookies. What should they do? Teach your child how to Check First with these important steps.Skill #26: Trust that 'Uh-Oh' Feeling. Sometimes called a 'gut' feeling or 'Uh-Oh' feeling, our intuition is the part of us that can warn us ahead of time if something might not be safe, or that "something just doesn't feel right." You can help kids be safe and strong by teaching them to notice, trust, and act on their Uh-Oh Feeling - and to leave and get help when they feel it. Here's how to help a child learn to recognize and trust their intuition.

Skill #27: Feeling Scared or Worried? Leave! Children need to know that if someone or something makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or worried, or gives them the 'Uh Oh' Feeling, their safety plan is to move away and get help as soon as possible - we call this "Walk Away Power." If they can't leave right away, their job is to keep looking for a time when it is safe to leave. Prepare kids to leave a difficult situation and not let worry about upsetting someone stop them. Practice what to when there's a safety problem with these steps.Skill #28: Protect Yourself from Hurtful Teasing. Healthy self-esteem is important to safety. Kids - and adults - who feel good about themselves and have close, positive relationships with others are less likely to become victims of abuse and bullying. At any age, hurting words and mean teasing can stay with us for a long time, eroding our sense of self-worth and confidence. Learning to protect our emotional safety can prevent a lot of misery. Teach kids how to prevent being hurt by words and teasing. 

Skill #29: Let's Be Kind To Ourselves. How often do you say mean things to yourself? Have you eroded your own confidence? Kids and adults can learn to turn negative self-talk into positive messages when they make mistakes, feel embarrassed, or get frustrated learning something new or challenging. Taking charge of one's emotional safety increases one's belief in their power and worth. For children, this helps to protect them from harm. How can you help kids to stop using negative self-talk?Skill #30: Run to Safety to Escape Danger. Empower kids to escape from someone who is threatening them! Research shows that people who intend to hurt others want privacy and control. Staying quiet and going with someone who is acting dangerously gives the aggressor more privacy and more control. Running to safety while yelling can help protect kids from many kinds of harm. Surprisingly, without practice, even kids who run and yell all the time might freeze if they feel scared. Here's how to make it fun for kids to practice escaping from danger.

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