On January 22, 2015, an 11 year old walking home from school was approached by a 19 year old man in a car who displayed a box cutter and ordered him into the car. The boy did a good job of telling the man “No!” but failed to do one important step: Flee to a safe zone and get help.
There’s a reason this happens to kids and it’s what I call the deer effect. Shine a light on a deer at night, and they stay in place frozen. In human beings, kids included, when under stress our brains shift to survival mode and search for a response to the problem. If we as parents don’t give them the skills to react on auto-pilot, they will most likely freeze like this boy and that’s when they become victims.
The way we as parents help our kids overcome this is to train them using fun activities and repetition over time (like their whole childhood). Training doesn’t have to be hours long, it can be done in as little as 1 minute.