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Question #2:  How do I teach my child to say "no" but still be respectful?  

Were you taught that it was OK to say "no" to your parents? Do your kids say “no” to you? Times have changed. Haven’t they? Would you agree that kids need to know that it’s OK to refuse unwanted touches and inappropriate sexual behavior from anyone, including people they know and respect? Are you willing to teach them that?

A lot of parents say they agree with that statement except for one word that throws them: RESPECT. Parents are often afraid to tell their kids that adults must earn their respect. They worry that they will end up with children and teens who are mouthy, disrespectful or even obnoxious.

Our aim is to help you raise kids that are well behaved AND safe! We recommend teaching kids a safer way to show respect to adults, especially those adults in positions of power or authority.

The key to raising respectful and safe kids is you, the parent. You must be willing to let go of the old idea that children must respect all adults, period. It’s not true. A sexual predator is never worthy of a child’s respect, no matter who he or she is.

Nice kids show respect to all adults. Safe kids do not show respect for adults who are acting intrusively or inappropriately. They say, “Hey! Please don’t touch me like that! I don’t like it!” And if the adult continues, they tell a trusted adult what happened.

Nice kids comply with the adult or adults in charge. Safe kids obey the adult in charge unless they are asked to do something that feels uncomfortable or wrong. They say, “Excuse me, I’m not sure I understand what you are asking me to do.”

Remember, sweet, overly polite kids are not safe kids. Children who are taught that assertive behavior is disrespectful don't develop the social skills to respond to potential abusers. All children are vulnerable, but children who are too obedient or passive are more likely to become victims. Teaching your children that it is okay to say no to anyone who is acting inappropriately or refuse to comply with orders that feel confusing or wrong will help them stay safe throughout their childhoods and the rest of their lives.

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