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Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)

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Safety skills for children outside the home Warning signs of sexual abuse How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools Strategies for keeping teenagers safe from violence All parents face the same challenges when it comes to their children's safety: whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear. In this empowering book, Safety skills for children outside the home Warning signs of sexual abuse How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools Strategies for keeping teenagers safe from violence All parents face the same challenges when it comes to their children's safety: whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear. In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the nation's leading expert on predicting violent behavior and author of the monumental bestseller The Gift of Fear, offers practical new steps to enhance children's safety at every age level, giving you the tools you need to allow your kids freedom without losing sleep yourself. With daring and compassion, he shatters the widely held myths about danger and safety and helps parents find some certainty about life's highest-stakes questions: How can I know a baby-sitter won't turn out to be someone who harms my child? (see page 103) What should I ask child-care professionals when I interview them? (see page 137) What's the best way to prepare my child for walking to school alone? (see page 91) How can my child be safer at school? (see page 175) How can I spot sexual predators? (see page 148) What should I do if my child is lost in public? (see page 86) How can I teach my child about risk without causing too much fear? (see page 98) What must my teenage daughter know in order to be safe? (see page 191) What must my teenage son know in order to be safe? (see page 218) And finally, in the face of all these questions, how can I reduce the worrying? (see page 56)


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Safety skills for children outside the home Warning signs of sexual abuse How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools Strategies for keeping teenagers safe from violence All parents face the same challenges when it comes to their children's safety: whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear. In this empowering book, Safety skills for children outside the home Warning signs of sexual abuse How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools Strategies for keeping teenagers safe from violence All parents face the same challenges when it comes to their children's safety: whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear. In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the nation's leading expert on predicting violent behavior and author of the monumental bestseller The Gift of Fear, offers practical new steps to enhance children's safety at every age level, giving you the tools you need to allow your kids freedom without losing sleep yourself. With daring and compassion, he shatters the widely held myths about danger and safety and helps parents find some certainty about life's highest-stakes questions: How can I know a baby-sitter won't turn out to be someone who harms my child? (see page 103) What should I ask child-care professionals when I interview them? (see page 137) What's the best way to prepare my child for walking to school alone? (see page 91) How can my child be safer at school? (see page 175) How can I spot sexual predators? (see page 148) What should I do if my child is lost in public? (see page 86) How can I teach my child about risk without causing too much fear? (see page 98) What must my teenage daughter know in order to be safe? (see page 191) What must my teenage son know in order to be safe? (see page 218) And finally, in the face of all these questions, how can I reduce the worrying? (see page 56)

30 review for Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    4.5 Stars My sister in law bought me this as a Christmas gift when I was pregnant with my daughter. I will admit that at the time I was a bit surprised by the gift as I was very pregnant and SUPER emotional. However, when I did read it I appreciated the fact that she bought it for me. I found it very interesting and I learned a great deal. Some of the main issues: Safety skills for children outside the home Warning signs of sexual abuse How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools Strategies for keep 4.5 Stars My sister in law bought me this as a Christmas gift when I was pregnant with my daughter. I will admit that at the time I was a bit surprised by the gift as I was very pregnant and SUPER emotional. However, when I did read it I appreciated the fact that she bought it for me. I found it very interesting and I learned a great deal. Some of the main issues: Safety skills for children outside the home Warning signs of sexual abuse How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools Strategies for keeping teenagers safe from violence Sounds scary doesn't it? But I found that being educated, prepared and taking precautions is a lot better than spending time worrying myself sick. Although, let's be honest as parents we will ALWAYS worry!! However, by preparing myself and my child (as she got older), I could worry less. I'm not saying it's easy to read a book like this. Scary stuff to think about and talk about. But I know some of it has helped over the years. I'm sure some strategies may have changed now (since things like social media have become huge parts of our lives) but the majority is likely the same. Actually at the time it was so helpful and reassuring. It reassured me that I was more prepared for things that could come up. For example, what to ask when interviewing potential babysitters. Although I was lucky and had my mother and didn't have to rely on very much outside help. One thing that has stuck with me all these years after reading it is... FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION and teach your children to follow their intuition as well. Does that man (or woman) that lives down the hall give you the creeps? Do you feel awkward leaving your children with certain people? Do you feel uncomfortable with a certain daycare worker? I'm not saying to run around accusing everyone of being a predator but we have that inner feeling that most of the time warns us for a reason. He mentions in the book that we are so often more concerned with people we read about in the newspaper or see on the news, kidnappers, murderers, etc...that live ACROSS the world from us. But then we often ignore that feeling that we get when we come into contact with someone we see often. Not that we shouldn't be cautious in all situations but if a feeling is sticking with us it's good to trust it. I did become worried that I wasn't sure how to trust my "gut" and thought what if it's there all the time and I can't trust anyone? But I did find that I was able to tell the difference if something really stuck with me. It gives information and tips on how we can teach our children about touch, the body, personal boundaries, communication, assertiveness and more. When my daughter was around seven she had a certain friend who's father gave me an odd feeling. I met him once or twice and I just couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me about him. At first I thought I was just being paranoid but after my daughter came home from a play-date (they had gone to dinner and a movie) she mentioned that the dad was asking questions that made her feel uncomfortable. She mentioned that he kept joking about the girls having boyfriends and did they want to kiss a boy. She felt really awkward about the kissing talk. Now maybe this was entirely innocent but it bothered me and so after that I would still have the friend over to our house but my daughter didn't go over there. Eventually the friendship ran it's course. Nothing else happened but I didn't allow very much contact or sleepovers etc. I also asked my daughter to tell me if a friend ever shared anything that concerned her. When I was young my mom rarely let me sleep ANYWHERE....I was so upset with her. I wanted so badly to sleep at different friends houses over the years and most of the time she would say no. She would only let me sleep over at people's houses where she knew the parents well and had a good feeling about them. At the time I didn't understand. Now as a mother I COMPLETELY get it. I am the same way with my daughter. I know there are some people who think I'm overprotective but I don't let it bother me. MY daughter still has sleepovers with close friends and cousins and doesn't seem to feel left out but I was and still am very cautious when I don't know someone. As she gets older she will start to make her own decisions and I hope I've taught her what she needs to know about keeping herself safe. The book talks about so many different issues and what can happen at different ages and how to be prepared for them. When my daughter was young it was hard having those conversations but they were so necessary. I didn't want to terrify her but she did need to be aware of her feelings, her surroundings, and what to do if something did happen. I wanted her to know that no matter what has happened that she can always come to me. We try to teach our kids to be polite. We want our children to behave well respect others. However, we also need to make sure that they also know they don't have to obey all adults in all situations. Especially if they feel they are in danger. For example if someone is trying to persuade them to go with them that it's okay to yell "NO" if that doesn't work and someone is forcefully trying to take them then all bets are off, it's okay to yell, scream, kick, and fight etc. The books mentions THE TEST OF TWELVE: 1. How to honor their feelings--if someone makes them uncomfortable, that's an important signal 2. You the parents) are strong enough to hear about any experience they've had, no matter how unpleasant 3. It's OK to rebuff and defy adults 4. It's okay to be assertive 5. How to ask for assistance or help 6. How to choose WHO to ask 7. How to describe their peril 8. It's OK to strike, even to injure, someone if they believe they are in danger, and that you'll support any action they take as a result of feeling uncomfortable or afraid 9. It's OK to make noise, to scream, to yell, to run 10. If someone ever tries to force them to go somewhere, what they scream should include, "This is not my dad" (because onlookers assume the adult is a parent) 11. If someone says, "Don't yell", the think to do IS yell, and if someone says "Don't tell" the thing to do IS tell; 12. To fully resist ever going anywhere out of public view with someone they don't know, and particularly to resist going anywhere with someone who tries to persuade them. Of course all of the things on this list would need to be discussed further with your child. There would also likely be different answers or actions they would take depending on their age. But it's a good start. It opens up a dialogue between you and your child. I could really go on but I'm pretty sure this review is already way too long. Some of what is talked about in the book is common sense but there is also a lot of good tips and information. I may not have agreed with everything that was said in the book but, it gave me a lot to think about It helped me realize just how important it is to trust myself and my intuition. In my opinion this was an excellent and very important book, that I highly recommend.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Right after reading this book, I went for a walk with my toddler, during which four strangers struck up conversations with us. Several of them probably would have set off many people's "uh-oh" alarms, like the scruffy-looking homeless guy pushing a shopping cart. All of them were really sweet and kind, had a short conversation with me and my child, and then moved on. Which leads to my point about this book: I appreciated the author's premise that we should trust our intuition about safety and sh Right after reading this book, I went for a walk with my toddler, during which four strangers struck up conversations with us. Several of them probably would have set off many people's "uh-oh" alarms, like the scruffy-looking homeless guy pushing a shopping cart. All of them were really sweet and kind, had a short conversation with me and my child, and then moved on. Which leads to my point about this book: I appreciated the author's premise that we should trust our intuition about safety and should be in touch with our own internal danger signals, but he did not address two problems with this: 1. He focuses on all the times people felt an intuition of danger and they were right. But what about all the times they were wrong? He says you should not worry about unrealistic things - but never addresses the question of how to tell "unrealistic worry" from "true intuition." 2. He does not take into account racism, classism, and other prejudices and stereotypes that feel like "intuition" because they are so deeply ingrained in us from such a young age. If a white person responds to an unknown African American on the street with fear, is that their intuition? Probably not. It's probably based on societal racism (as manifested through media stereotypes, etc.). So how do we differentiate? I think this is really important. It's so easy to justify our stereotypes ("Oh, I was just listening to my gut feeling"). I liked that he emphasized that stranger kidnapping is extremely rare and that most danger comes from people you know. I wanted a little more filling-out of how to teach kids to recognize feelings of discomfort that might indicate a situation is "wrong." I also liked that he showed how the whole "Don't talk to strangers" idea doesn't actually promote safety, nor do some other things we commonly tell kids ("Find a police officer"). He made some really good points about this, like for example: If your child is lost, they'll have a better chance of connecting with a safe adult if they choose someone than if they wait for someone to come up to them. However, I had a lot of discomfort about the idea of telling your child "If you're lost/in trouble/etc., find a woman." I get his point that men statistically commit more violence. But at the same time, most men do not commit violence. Once again, it's really easy to justify our stereotypes (that women are safe and nurturing, men are aggressive and violent) by saying that they're based on some kind of natural order. Ultimately, it doesn't feel right to me to teach my child that women are to be trusted and men are not. I thought some of his sample letters/ questions to ask were right on (I liked his suggestions of questions to ask potential babysitters); others felt a little overly confrontational and overly focused on the possibility of sexual abuse. Really - when you choose a pediatrician you're going to ask them a gazillion questions about sexual abuse assessment and reporting? You probably only have 15 minutes with them and you have other things you want to know about, like their overall philosophy, what they can tell you about sleeping, eating, and other primary concerns of new parents. Frankly, if I were a doctor and my patient asked me ten different questions about sexual abuse, I'd wonder what was going on.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sunni

    Not an easy read, but important. So glad I went ahead. This book made me think about my own levels of "politeness" as a female and whether sometimes I should err on the side of impoliteness, bitchiness be damned. It's interesting to think of the different reaction I might have had to the annoying magazine seller in the Target parking lot who approached me and my baby had I read this book before I met him instead of after. I'm sure he was harmless, but I think I would have cut off the encounter qu Not an easy read, but important. So glad I went ahead. This book made me think about my own levels of "politeness" as a female and whether sometimes I should err on the side of impoliteness, bitchiness be damned. It's interesting to think of the different reaction I might have had to the annoying magazine seller in the Target parking lot who approached me and my baby had I read this book before I met him instead of after. I'm sure he was harmless, but I think I would have cut off the encounter quickly and curtly, which I did not in the moment. Instead I stood there awkwardly with Rory waiting for a moment to say, "no thanks" and move on. I'm amazed at de Becker's compassionate forthrightness about his own difficult childhood, his frank assessment that "people do bad things" and his conviction that change can be effected by the very act of accepting the reality we live in and moving forward from that point (rather than staying in denial). So glad I read this - would recommend to anyone and not just parents especially in light of de Becker's assurance that it takes a community to keep children safe.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maren

    a must read for every woman and every parent. some of the stuff he says is obvious and intuitive, and yet we need to hear it again because we tend to get comfortable with the inherent danger in all situations. i especially like how he constantly asserts that we have the inherent intuition (i like to call it the Holy Spirit) to read the subtle clues around us and be alert to potential danger situations. it's true that people, especially women, are abducted and molested in broad daylight, by famil a must read for every woman and every parent. some of the stuff he says is obvious and intuitive, and yet we need to hear it again because we tend to get comfortable with the inherent danger in all situations. i especially like how he constantly asserts that we have the inherent intuition (i like to call it the Holy Spirit) to read the subtle clues around us and be alert to potential danger situations. it's true that people, especially women, are abducted and molested in broad daylight, by family & friends, and that you can't take enough precautions. it's also true that you don't need to live your life so overcome by worry that you can't be alert to the "gift of fear" that helps us to sense when a dangerous situation presents itself as well as how to react... i really like the stories he uses to illustrate his points. they don't seem voyeuristic or gratuitous, even those from personal experience, but certainly prove his point to the max. like i said, everyone that is a woman, a parent, a concerned citizen (in short everyone) should read this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tanya W

    This seems like a must read for parents of both boys and girls... has practical tips for keeping children/youth safe (from sexual abuse, injury or death from guns, stranger kidnapping, and more). I wish I could find the book to note some other specifics for future reference... so more to come later... A few I can think of now: 1) Don't emphasize not talking to strangers as much as teaching children who they should talk to if they need help (a woman, not a man). 2)Teach them what to say and do if so This seems like a must read for parents of both boys and girls... has practical tips for keeping children/youth safe (from sexual abuse, injury or death from guns, stranger kidnapping, and more). I wish I could find the book to note some other specifics for future reference... so more to come later... A few I can think of now: 1) Don't emphasize not talking to strangers as much as teaching children who they should talk to if they need help (a woman, not a man). 2)Teach them what to say and do if someone tries to molest or abuse them... "Don't do that or I will tell." Also advises that if anyone ever tells them not to tell... then tell. If anyone tells them not to scream... scream. 3) Listen to intuition and don't worry about hurting someone's feelings when it comes to children and their safety. 4) Teach your children about the 2 factors that make sexual assualt or abuse easy to carry out: privacy and control (PC). 5) I liked the discussion about worrying as well... it made me feel that I have less reason to worry if I proactively carry out steps to help my children be safe.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This book helped me recognize the value of following my instincts - in ANY kind of potentially dangerous situation, though it was focused on the situations surrounding children. It may seem like it would plant fears into the reader, but for me, it did just the opposite. He gave me plenty of info to allow me the freedom to celebrate fear and it's purpose, in dangerous situations, while recognizing when unfounded fears can cause unnecessary spin. He also provided some games to play with kids that This book helped me recognize the value of following my instincts - in ANY kind of potentially dangerous situation, though it was focused on the situations surrounding children. It may seem like it would plant fears into the reader, but for me, it did just the opposite. He gave me plenty of info to allow me the freedom to celebrate fear and it's purpose, in dangerous situations, while recognizing when unfounded fears can cause unnecessary spin. He also provided some games to play with kids that can help them fine-tune their sense of observation, their ability to make wise judgements and follow their own instncts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    shanamadele

    Easy-to-read book on hard-to-face subject. I appreciate that the author takes care to emphasize where victims/survivors took action, even while pointing out how they might have escaped injury/victimization by acting differently earlier in the encounter. I also like the concern he shows for teaching violence prevention as a way of helping people be less anxious and more open generally. He talks about some of the myriad reasons we--the big society We--tolerate violence and fail to see it. He does n Easy-to-read book on hard-to-face subject. I appreciate that the author takes care to emphasize where victims/survivors took action, even while pointing out how they might have escaped injury/victimization by acting differently earlier in the encounter. I also like the concern he shows for teaching violence prevention as a way of helping people be less anxious and more open generally. He talks about some of the myriad reasons we--the big society We--tolerate violence and fail to see it. He does not address issues such as how racism and classism affect our intuitions. On the other hand, he uses both statistics and stories to underscore his thesis that much of what we think we know about who is violent and how we can avoid violence is wrong.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This book was so weird. It had one really useful chapter on teaching your child what to do if he or she becomes lost, and then the rest was a combination of scary stories and the ravings of an paranoid individual. And I'm a pretty neurotic parent. I also don't buy the "If someone make you uncomfortable, they are probably evil, and your fears are justified" concept. It completely ignores the reality of racism in America, for one thing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy_Someone

    A mixed bag - some concrete, helpful advice (though some of it repeated from The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence), mixed in with a lot of biological determinism and gender essentialism (testosterone makes you violent! a woman will always put more effort into helping a lost child than a man will!). I don't even necessarily disagree with the advice that a lost child should try to avoid asking (people who present as) men for help (most men are not child predators, but m A mixed bag - some concrete, helpful advice (though some of it repeated from The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence), mixed in with a lot of biological determinism and gender essentialism (testosterone makes you violent! a woman will always put more effort into helping a lost child than a man will!). I don't even necessarily disagree with the advice that a lost child should try to avoid asking (people who present as) men for help (most men are not child predators, but most child predators are men), but the book is very black-and-white about it. The book is also written from a VERY white perspective: cops are good, women are always safer than men (Black kids interacting with white women might disagree), the only kind of danger is gendered or sexual (no mention of e.g. racist hate crimes), men never even think about personal safety precautions, if you feel uneasy about someone there's always a good reason and you should always trust that feeling. It does not offer guidance on how to distinguish incorrect gut feelings from correct ones, like: Is that man actually dangerous or are you just racist? In fact it barely even acknowledges that a gut feeling might ever be wrong. I am a naturally anxious person who often feels fear or unease that turns out to be unfounded - for example, one time I came home and was struck by the fear that there was a stranger hiding in my bathroom, but there was no one. This type of thing is not addressed in the book. Reading in 2020, the book also feels pretty dated. To some extent this is probably unavoidable - I can't really fault a book published in the 90s for feeling like it was written in the 90s, or for not feeling like it was written 20 years later. But I laughed at the things the author cites as examples of controversial parenting issues: "whether mothers should work" and "single-parent households." (Yes, I am aware these are still controversial in some circles, and that most mothers are criticized by someone for literally any choice they make. But if you asked me to name controversial parenting issues, those probably wouldn't occur to me.) It's also mildly annoying that the author says things like "last year" instead of naming the year, like it never occurred to him that people might read his book years after it was published.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    When deciding whether to read Gavin de Becker’s “Protecting the Gift,” parents face one question: will the information he provides increase your child’s safety enough to justify the traumatic experience of reading about the world’s predators? The answer depends at least in part on one’s personality. I saw danger lurking around every corner for only a few days after finishing the book, and then settled back into my largely apprehension-free steady state - only now empowered by the practical tips When deciding whether to read Gavin de Becker’s “Protecting the Gift,” parents face one question: will the information he provides increase your child’s safety enough to justify the traumatic experience of reading about the world’s predators? The answer depends at least in part on one’s personality. I saw danger lurking around every corner for only a few days after finishing the book, and then settled back into my largely apprehension-free steady state - only now empowered by the practical tips de Becker offers and the concomitant ability to let go of worry that I ought to do more. For others, the stories de Becker tells may have the reverse effect, instilling fear of “imagined risks” despite the advice he offers to stave them off (e.g., “encourag[e] the chronic worriers in your life to avoid watching the local news”). In well-organized and engaging prose, de Becker repeatedly hammers home his overarching advice: “Safety starts with knowing that your intuition about people is a brilliant guardian.” If, of course, you eschew denial (the signs of which include “rationalization, justification, minimization, excuse-making, and refusal”) and politeness in favor of honoring your instinctual feelings. After all, de Becker asks, “which is sillier: waiting a moment for the next elevator, or placing [your] child and [your]self into a soundproof steel chamber with a stranger [you are] afraid of?” He also hands out a plethora of tips for avoiding victimization by both “persuasion-predators” and “power-predators” (much more rare), including a “Test of Twelve” for “what children would ideally know before they are ever alone in public,” recommendations for specific programs (like IMPACT training), and an appendix listing questions for your child’s school. Many of the simple strategies make total sense, but have never before entered my radar screen. For example, don’t wear headphones unless you’re in an undoubtedly safe environment (“[A woman] jogging . . . along in public enjoying music through headphones . . . has disabled her hearing, the survival sense most likely to warn her about dangerous approaches. To make matters worse, those wires leading up to her ears display her vulnerability for everyone to see.”). Teach your kids to approach a woman if they are ever lost, since statistically speaking the person who reaches out to a scared and isolated child is much more likely to bode ill than one randomly chosen out of a crowd by the child, and men are much more dangerous to children than women. When planning a sleepover, investigate the other family as you would a childcare provider (this includes asking if they have a gun); tell your kids, “‘[i]f you are ever at all uncomfortable, or you just want to talk, you can call home at any time’”; and talk to them “as soon after a sleepover as possible.” In order to avoid sexual abuse, “[m]ake careful, slow choices about the people you include in your child’s life - and fast choices about the ones you exclude,” and “[t]each your child about touch, the body, boundaries, communication, assertiveness, and sovereignty over the body” (including not forcing them to address or embrace people, as embarrassing as their reticence may be, and teaching them how to say “no” to an adult, that “[i]t’s okay to withdraw consent at any time,” the anatomic names for their lady and gentleman parts, and “[t]o keep telling if nobody listens and if nobody makes it stop”). Warn teenage daughters about Rohypnol and know your son’s friends (because “[t]he key that unlocks a boy’s destructiveness is often held by another boy”). Finally, teach teenage children of both genders that “no” means no, contrary to the “popular Hollywood formula . . . Boy Wants Girl, Girl Doesn’t Want Boy, Boy Persists and Harasses Girl, Boy Gets Girl.” I found the most useful information, however, to be that derived from de Becker’s unique insight (“[his] adversity was [his] university”) into the psychology of predation. For example, in order to identify a persuasion predator, look for “behaviors intended to put you at ease . . . : forced teaming, charm and niceness, too many details, typecasting, loan-sharking, the unsolicited promise, [and] discounting the word ‘no.’” This high-level awareness is easier for the whole family to attain if you “[t]hink of charm as a verb, not a trait,” and “teach [y]our children that niceness does not equal goodness.” When your intuition speaks of danger, “[d]o or say something that communicates early and clearly that you are not an easy target (steely eyes, hold the stare, walk away, raise your voice).” “A young woman who believes she is being followed might take just a tentative look, hoping to see if someone is visible in her peripheral vision. It is better to turn completely, take in everything, and look squarely at someone who concerns you. This not only gives you information, but it communicates to a pursuer that you are not a tentative, frightened victim-in-waiting.” Also, remember that “if a predator orders you to go somewhere with him, he is really telling you that staying here is to your advantage and to his disadvantage.” (And along these lines, “If a man who intends sexual assault or rape has Privacy and Control, he can victimize someone. If he does not have PC, he is not dangerous, period.” Thus, carefully choose to whom you give “PC.”). Is thinking about these issues scary? Yes. Are there real dangers in the world that could threaten your child’s (and mine’s) happiness? Yes. Is there something you can do about it besides worry? Yes. Could reading this book make you a more fearful and overprotective parent? Yes. Know yourself and make the call.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Louis

    Some very difficult subjects, but GDB handles them extremely well. His advice is for the most part accessible and practical. What I really appreciated was that with some of the taboo subjects he just tackled them head on, in a balanced and non-alarmist way. As with The Gift of Fear the author talks a lot about relying on the messages you send yourself, your intuition. This is an empowering message which I found useful. As it is now 20 years old there is virtually nothing about online safety which Some very difficult subjects, but GDB handles them extremely well. His advice is for the most part accessible and practical. What I really appreciated was that with some of the taboo subjects he just tackled them head on, in a balanced and non-alarmist way. As with The Gift of Fear the author talks a lot about relying on the messages you send yourself, your intuition. This is an empowering message which I found useful. As it is now 20 years old there is virtually nothing about online safety which is a shame. Additionally, as it is US focused, the latter part of the book deals a lot with gun crime and related issues. Likewise the resources in the appendix are all US focused. Despite those minor issues, I would recommend this book as a valuable resource for parents.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    This book is changing my life! I knew it would be good, but I didn't know it would read like a thriller...The first pages, anyway. :) I recommend it to every parent everywhere. And also to anyone who knows kids. Seriously, I bring it up in conversations frequently. Now that I've finished, here's what I want to note: We already have what what is necessary to protect ourselves and our kids. It is the whispers of intution. We need to listen more to our wild brain, which is unfettered by emotion, pol This book is changing my life! I knew it would be good, but I didn't know it would read like a thriller...The first pages, anyway. :) I recommend it to every parent everywhere. And also to anyone who knows kids. Seriously, I bring it up in conversations frequently. Now that I've finished, here's what I want to note: We already have what what is necessary to protect ourselves and our kids. It is the whispers of intution. We need to listen more to our wild brain, which is unfettered by emotion, politics, and politeness. Too often we give control to our logic brain, which is burdened by judgment, slow to accept reality, and spends valuable time and energy thinking about how things ought to be, used to be, or could be. Often we worry about outcomes that are not likely (see goodreads quote about lava). "Worry is not a precaution; it is the opposite because it delays and discourages constructive action." An exercise for excessive worriers is to ask highly specific questions about a given dreaded outcome, or mark the expected date on a calendar. "Many parents go from worry to worry, never stopping long enough to see that their children are prevailing through life's challenges day in and day out. This is like surviving an air crash and then pausing at the top of the evacuation slide to worry about whether your luggage will make it on time. Sometimes, taking a moment for some gratitude keeps a few worries away." "The best antidote to worry is action. Your choices when worrying are clear: take action, have faith, pray, seek comfort, or keep worrying." If I'm worried, the best thing to do is acknowledge that I feel anxious about something, find some comfort, and move on without trying to build a case against the worry with my logic brain. In order for a predator to nab my child, he needs ACE: access, cover, escape. What I can do to prevent this is: get close to my child or get him in view, taking care of access and cover, and place myself between my son and routes that lead away from public view, taking care of escape. Women and girls should beware if they are alone with a man who has PC: privacy and control. Ask yourself how he got either of these, was it planned or conincidence, and how do you feel about it? The Test of Twelve is a great list to help realize if your child is ready to be alone in public. My friend Teri Lund listed all twelve, so check out her review. Some important items are to make sure kids know they don't have to obey all adults, and it's okay to be rude or even violent if they feel they are in danger. If someone says "don't tell" or "don't yell", telling and yelling are exactly what they should do. All kids should know to fully resist going anywhere with someone they don't know, especially if that person is trying to persuade them. Your kids need to know that you as parents are strong enough to hear about any experience they've had, no matter how unpleasant, and above all, kids should know to honor their feelings/intution. From the chapter on sexual predators: we need to teach our children about touch, the body, boundaries, communication, assertiveness, and sovereignty over the body. Children should know that it's okay to withdraw consent at any time; their body is theirs; how to talk about the body; how to say No; to keep telling if nobody listens and if nobody makes it stop. Tell children that no adult or other child should: put their hands down your pants/ up your skirt; touch your private parts, even through clothes or pajamas; ask you to touch their private parts or ask you to remove their clothes; take off your clothes; take pictures of you with your clothes off; take their clothes off in front of you. One convicted child molester said "parents are partly to blame because they don't tell their children about sexual stuff. I used that to my advantage by teaching the child myself." According to one law-enforcement expert, a child who knows nothing about sex is a highly qualified victim. Assertive kids are less likely to be molested. We need to teach kids to be comfortable with assertiveness. We can't shy away from teaching the dangers of sexual exploitation because we think it will frighten kids. Fear is diminished when prevention strategies are provided. From the chapter on guns: we need to teach kids, especially boys, about guns. Know if there is a gun in the homes of your child's friends. Guns should always be LOCKED, not just locked in a cabinet. Never think that a gun won't be found by a child in your home. "Just like adult men, young men in our culture are discouraged from showing emotion. Violent boys are frequently expressing what William Pollack calls 'the only acceptable male emotion--anger.'" This book is an incredible resource for parents! I feel so empowered by De Becker's information, and although some of the vignettes were painful to read, I am able to spend less time on uselses worry. I have taught my boys to look for a mom or a woman if they are lost, and we have talked about "tricky people" and listening to our instincts. I am less worried about politeness and more assertive about my duty to protect my two precious gifts. I already knew that being alert and aware was important, but now I feel like I could take action in a stronger way. For instance, I can rebuff overly helpful guys who seem a little creepy. And while jogging, if I were being trailed by a man who seemed sketchy, rather than casting a glance over my shoulder and crossing the street, I feel like I could first turn and face him with a glare to let him know "I am no victim."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Reynolds

    The Gift of Fear is a book that I feel every person (especially women) should read. Mandatory. Full stop. This book should be required reading for parents. Politeness can kill you. Teaching your kids to be polite no matter what could cost them everything. Humans are animals and we were created with survival instincts and incredible intuition that can keep us alive in dangerous situations. We just need to stop letting denial, false reasoning, and politeness get in the way of the animal instinct. The Gift of Fear is a book that I feel every person (especially women) should read. Mandatory. Full stop. This book should be required reading for parents. Politeness can kill you. Teaching your kids to be polite no matter what could cost them everything. Humans are animals and we were created with survival instincts and incredible intuition that can keep us alive in dangerous situations. We just need to stop letting denial, false reasoning, and politeness get in the way of the animal instinct. Humans are the only animals that will actively cooperate with their own victimization. And why? Because we hate being impolite. I love the way this book gives you permission to let that inner mama bear loose. Trust your intuition about bad situations and people. Being a jerk is preferable to ending up dead or injured/ignorantly placing your children into the hands of predators.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Yoak

    I picked this up because I liked The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence. This book was fine, but didn't really add a lot to the previous book. I picked this up because I liked The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence. This book was fine, but didn't really add a lot to the previous book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pablo Ortiz monasterio ruffo

    Been doing security for 20 years, this is by far the best book I’ve read on the subject. This man is a genius in the way he explains things.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rebe

    I’m not a parent, and Protecting the Gift came out over 20 years ago, but this was an interesting read for me nonetheless. I was drawn to it because of my interest in psychology and true crime but also just from the perspective of a person who was a kid myself once. And a lot of what he talks about is timeless advice, so it's just as relevant now as when the book was published in the 90s—although I'm sure some crime stats he cites have changed a bit. De Becker covers a lot of ground in this book I’m not a parent, and Protecting the Gift came out over 20 years ago, but this was an interesting read for me nonetheless. I was drawn to it because of my interest in psychology and true crime but also just from the perspective of a person who was a kid myself once. And a lot of what he talks about is timeless advice, so it's just as relevant now as when the book was published in the 90s—although I'm sure some crime stats he cites have changed a bit. De Becker covers a lot of ground in this book. He consistently tries to put the most time and energy into things that pose the most common social dangers to children, so it's all important stuff. That said, there were a few sections and ideas that particularly drew me in: Be wary of worry. If you worry about everything all the time, you will miss it when you get a true intuition of danger or not-rightness. Learn how to listen to your intuition and what situations are truly higher risk, but don't worry about things that are not statistically likely. At the same time, you shouldn't teach your child things like, 'Never talk to strangers.' Kids will end up breaking this rule, because it's not practical (too many exceptions) and it's not actually the safest solution. Talk to Strangers Along these lines, de Becker makes an interesting observation in the "Talk to Strangers" chapter about the way society functions and the way we learn how to move safely through it. It's probably my favorite passage in the book: Children raised to assume all strangers might be dangerous do not develop their own inherent skills of evaluating behavior. [...] Fear of people is really the fear that we can't predict their behavior. Recognize that for every person you encounter who might hurt your child, there are literally millions who will not. Does it make sense to treat everyone as if they are in the dangerous group? That's exactly what modern Western society has done. Ironically, adults end up being more loyal to The Rule [Don't talk to strangers] than children: We, unlike people in many cultures, pass each other on streets and in hallways without acknowledgment. Yet communicating with strangers is part of the test human beings are built to use to confirm that strangers are of good will. [...] We have a complex system for evaluating the intent of those we encounter. In less fractured cultures, strangers exchange signals as they pass each other, signals that usually communicate, 'I mean you no harm.' It might be a nod, a slight smile, a wave, or a greeting that puts both people at ease, but millions of Americans don't participate. That's why being in the presence of a stranger can be uncomfortable or even frightening. [...] That discomfort you feel in the elevator with a stranger is natural. Your body is waiting to be put at ease when the stranger passes a test. The tension is instantly broken when your nod solicits a smile, or when a comment initiates a cordial exchange of words. [...] Bottom line: *The issue isn't strangers, it's strangeness.* It is inappropriate behavior that's relevant. [...] Though the smile on its own might not reassure us, or might even be sinister in some contexts, I'd rather have it to evaluate than have nothing to evaluate. And we get something when we acknowledge strangers, most often by speaking with them. Children who communicate with strangers are exercising their intuition. They learn what feels comfortable and what does not. Predators often start out seeming nice. Listen to your intuition if something about an interaction with a stranger feels off. Don't think: 'This person is charming.' Think: 'This person is trying to charm me.' Sometimes that's harmless, but sometimes it's not. Be aware of it either way: being charming is a decision and a behavior, not an indication that someone is a kind person. De Becker writes, "We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning." The problem is responding to this kind of behavior. "A woman is expected, first and foremost, to respond to every communication from a man. And the response is expected to be one of willingness and attentiveness. Women are expected to be warm and open, and in the context of approaches from male strangers, warmth lengthens the encounter, raises his expectations, increases his investment, and, at best, wastes time. At worst, it serves the man who has sinister intent by providing much of the information he will need to evaluate and then control his target." De Becker recommends women get more comfortable with being assertive, especially asserting their No, and valuing standing up for their boundaries over making a strange man comfortable. Someone you choose is probably safer than someone who chooses you. "No matter how engaging a stranger might be, you must never lose sight of context: He is what he is, a stranger who approached you." At the same time, the story he tells you about who he is and why he's talking to you is just a story until you can verify it. A predator might try to tell you details that make you more comfortable with him, but in the end, the result will be that you 'know the con, not the con man.' The idea that we shouldn't shelter children too much from 'adult' topics. A child who doesn't know what's out there is a victim in waiting. Ignorance can make a child more vulnerable. Yes, talk about these things in a way that won't make the child needlessly afraid of the world, but do talk about them. Give your child the language to report problems to adults, and give them the context to recognize when someone is being inappropriate or they should just be wary. His advice to teen girls as an especially vulnerable target population. De Becker observes, "Dangerous men are the very ones most frequently seeking to ‘prove’ they aren’t dangerous... Men who will not harm you needn’t persuade you to trust them; they simply act appropriately from the moment you meet them and for as long as you know them.” Be wary of men who try to get you alone in private (in a car, a hotel room, any deserted or low-traffic area where there aren't witnesses) and who try to exert control over you, for example by acting persuasively and making you uncomfortable with saying No to them. Pay special attention to someone who doesn't respect consent. If you say No and someone ignores it, even if they're still acting charming, that's a warning sign. For example, if a man offers a woman his help and she politely declines, it's not good if he smiles and offers again or keeps trying to persuade her to let him in. That should make you wary. De Becker points out that culturally, women are facing an uphill battle with consent. “Understand that when a man in our culture says No, it’s usually the end of a discussion, but when a woman says No, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.” And: Hollywood romanticizes men interpreting a rejection as, "Try harder," but in real life, it's not romantic when a guy keeps coming even after you reject him. It could escalate to something dangerous. “What starts as persistence often leads to unwanted pursuit, stalking, even date rape." To adults: Listen to children when they tell you something is wrong. Let them know they CAN talk to you. Take action when a child confides in you instead of dismissing it or categorizing it as a problem every child goes through and has to solve on their own. Empower child victims by emphasizing to them that they did the right thing: they survived a difficult situation. To society: I like that de Becker ends his book by looking at society more broadly and what safety nets we can provide to help children grow up in a safer world. For example, he praises organizations that try to give teenage boys a sense of community and mentorship. These organizations benefit society as a whole by helping kids grow up on the right path instead of letting childhood problems and abuse fester until children become criminals as adults. A dated book? A new edition of this book would probably put more emphasis on Internet safety (instead of just including a one-paragraph appendix about it) and expand the discussion of school shootings. I guess this book came out right before Columbine happened, because he doesn't mention that as an example or think that school shootings are statistically likely. I imagine they were less statistically likely before Columbine, and less deadly on average. Still, I'd recommend this book for everyone. For one, because everyone lives in a society full of children and parents: even if you aren't a parent yourself, at some point you'll probably be a witness to something and need to know what to do. For another, a lot of his advice is good for adults just as much as children, ALTHOUGH if you're just interested in safety for adults, I would highly recommend you start with de Becker's earlier book, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    Great compendium of information for parents to keep their kids of all ages safe. I was a little dubious at the very first, I wasn't sure of the author's voice and felt a little like I was getting pulled over with a stern warning, but that passed quickly and Gavin de Becker's generous openness about his own abusive upbringing is actually a great part of why I loved this book. He also does an awesome job of incorporating an interesting variety of real life stories of people he has actually worked Great compendium of information for parents to keep their kids of all ages safe. I was a little dubious at the very first, I wasn't sure of the author's voice and felt a little like I was getting pulled over with a stern warning, but that passed quickly and Gavin de Becker's generous openness about his own abusive upbringing is actually a great part of why I loved this book. He also does an awesome job of incorporating an interesting variety of real life stories of people he has actually worked with and known first-hand, in addition to providing a comprehensive resource section that has sections like Questions for Schools, Guns, Predicting Violent Behavior, and Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. I was particularly interested in learning how to screen sitters and keep kids safe from bullying; and even though I came to this with a fundamental understanding of safety skills for little children I still gleaned good updated information; although it'll be years yet until my kids will be sleeping over, driving, or dating - I still appreciate having read these strategies for when that time comes. At our Parenting class in Los Angeles years ago, I was lucky enough to hear a presentation by Pattie Fitzgerald of Safely Ever After; she talked about a lot of the same principles that de Becker uses here: tricky people, strangeness rather than strangers, it's okay to say NO to a grownup or bigger kid, it's not okay to keep secrets from parents (surprises are okay), etc. In addition, she showed us how to play the Thumbs Up Thumbs Down game with our 3 year olds, for example: "we're at the park, and a pretty lady comes over to you and asks you to go over the hill to help her look for her puppy - thumbs up or thumbs down?" Then we talk about why. It's a great way to start important conversations about safety. My kids, 6 yrs old by now, still love playing Thumbs Up Thumbs Down with me and de Becker's Protecting the Gift has given me a ton of new scenarios to incorporate into our game.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    De Becker writes that fear is a gift: it's that intuitive voice--gut feeling, hunch--that helps us recognize a potential threat and stay safe. As with most things in life, you want a balance: too little fear, and we miss out on warning signals that can keep us safe; too much fear, and we'll never know what is really a threat and what isn't. De Becker's book achieves this balance masterfully. He doesn't shy away from painful and fear-inducing topics, but they are tempered with real world statistic De Becker writes that fear is a gift: it's that intuitive voice--gut feeling, hunch--that helps us recognize a potential threat and stay safe. As with most things in life, you want a balance: too little fear, and we miss out on warning signals that can keep us safe; too much fear, and we'll never know what is really a threat and what isn't. De Becker's book achieves this balance masterfully. He doesn't shy away from painful and fear-inducing topics, but they are tempered with real world statistics that shed light on when our fears have a basis in fact, and when they don't. (Kidnapping by a stranger, for example, isn't nearly the threat you may think it is based on what you see in the media.) He helps us look at the hard truths, and then gives us expert guidance on dealing with those realities. The advice given here is practical and easy to implement, whether you're looking for a baby sitter, wondering if those security guards at your kid's school really make your kid safer, or don't know how to really determine if your child is ready to be left home alone. This book can also help you begin an age-appropriate dialogue with your child, a dialogue that can and should mature as your child does. I'm writing this review as I'm finishing this book for the second time. A few years have passed since my first read, and as my daughter has gotten older, I'm taking away different things from this book. I'm less interested in choosing a babysitter, for example, and more interested in preparing my daughter to be out in the world on her own. Whatever age your child is, from toddler to young adult, there is information here that will benefit you and your family. I think this book should be required reading for all parents and grandparents, and that it should be re-read on a regular basis. The information in this book is that important.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    I'm surprised at all the high praise for this book. I had a rough time getting through it because I was so bored. Especially in the beginning, I thought the writing was disorganized and could have been condensed quite a bit. Also, this book was written almost 20 years ago, so the book just felt outdated the whole time while I was reading it. At the same time, I realize that the statistics are probably even worse today. However, I ended up giving it an extra star because I did take some things awa I'm surprised at all the high praise for this book. I had a rough time getting through it because I was so bored. Especially in the beginning, I thought the writing was disorganized and could have been condensed quite a bit. Also, this book was written almost 20 years ago, so the book just felt outdated the whole time while I was reading it. At the same time, I realize that the statistics are probably even worse today. However, I ended up giving it an extra star because I did take some things away from the book that prompted discussions with my kids. I thought the chapter on intuition (Holy Ghost) was important as well as re-defining "Don't talk to strangers." I thought it was interesting to learn of the author's background and the abusive environment he grew up in. It is empowering that he was able to rise above it in the sense that he knew it wasn't his fault and that he (I gather) didn't follow into the same patterns he experienced in his youth. The chapters on child abuse were absolutely heart-breaking and difficult to read. Children are so trusting and so innocent that it is sickening that parents take advantage of that unconditional love. I liked the last quote in the book: "In a very real sense, children give every parent a gold container filled with unconditional love. In return, we can protect children knowing that love grows best in safe places." Children absolutely deserve to grow up in a loving environment, and it makes me really sad that this doesn't happen nearly as often as it should. After reading this section of the book, it was a great reminder to have a little more patience and compassion for my own children.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Elmer

    Parents, PLEASE read this book! You probably won't "want" to read it. I certainly didn't. But, as author Gavin de Becker says, denial is not a good defensive strategy. There are real dangers to our children. Learning what these are, and more importantly, learning what to do to reduce the risks, is an important task for parents and for anyone who loves children. When I first started reading Protecting the Gift, I felt more worried than ever at the dangers lurking "out there." By the time I'd fin Parents, PLEASE read this book! You probably won't "want" to read it. I certainly didn't. But, as author Gavin de Becker says, denial is not a good defensive strategy. There are real dangers to our children. Learning what these are, and more importantly, learning what to do to reduce the risks, is an important task for parents and for anyone who loves children. When I first started reading Protecting the Gift, I felt more worried than ever at the dangers lurking "out there." By the time I'd finished, I felt much more confident that I will be able to recognize and deal with situations as they arise. The greatest take-away is trust your intuition; do not reason or rationalize it away. These were a couple of my favorite quotes from the book: "Just as intuition protects us from danger, denial protects us from something too: unwanted information. Denial serves to eliminate the discomfort of accepting realities we'd rather not acknowledge. There are times this protection is valuable for emotional survival, but it is rarely useful for physical survival--and it's downright destructive to the safety of children." "Of all the lessons a mother might pass to her daughter, the most valuable can be summed up with just two letters: N-O." "The fact that a romantic pursuer is relentless doesn't mean you are special--it means he is troubled." Our children deserve a better and safer world. This book is one tool to help us move in the right direction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I say I read the book, but I really skimmed it for the most part.....There were too many horrid examples of abuse and bad situations kids were in, that I really didn't need to read. I know bad things happen to kids....I am trying to make sure that doesn't happen to my kids but it doesn't mean I need to read a ton of awful in depth stories about bad things that happen to kids! Way to make me worry more than I already do! Now there were some things I pulled from this book and worry is one of those I say I read the book, but I really skimmed it for the most part.....There were too many horrid examples of abuse and bad situations kids were in, that I really didn't need to read. I know bad things happen to kids....I am trying to make sure that doesn't happen to my kids but it doesn't mean I need to read a ton of awful in depth stories about bad things that happen to kids! Way to make me worry more than I already do! Now there were some things I pulled from this book and worry is one of those things....the best antidote to worry is action. If you can do something to lessen your worry in a situation, do it. Here are the other things I got from the book: *Instinct is your best tool *I learned the ways to spot denial *I learned survival signals (or how to spot creepy predators by what they do or say) *If you're ever lost, go to a woman (no longer say Don't Talk To Strangers) *The mother's brigade! Brilliant! *Safe sitter hotline to find a babysitting course near you *Don't get an older male babysitter....the section about babysitters, most examples of situations gone wrong were from male babysitters!!! I know that's generalizing but those were his examples in the book. Bottom line, this book had a few pointers but mostly scary tales of woe....I was hoping it would be the other way around.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Topmar

    Everyone needs to read this book. Teach kids -- and yourself -- about human nature. Practical advice, smart writing, by a man who was once a neglected child. He's now a criminal profiler. I spent years in the public arena working on a law designed to ferret out sex predators. The stuff I came across was unbelievable. If you don't think your kid can get trapped by a predator, you're naive. General example: Man approaches kid with some urgency, looking for lost kitten in the woods! Please help! Now Everyone needs to read this book. Teach kids -- and yourself -- about human nature. Practical advice, smart writing, by a man who was once a neglected child. He's now a criminal profiler. I spent years in the public arena working on a law designed to ferret out sex predators. The stuff I came across was unbelievable. If you don't think your kid can get trapped by a predator, you're naive. General example: Man approaches kid with some urgency, looking for lost kitten in the woods! Please help! Now! These men are crafty; prey on kids' empathy and cooperation. But of course, most offenders are those the child knows. De Becker wants kids to be alert to "strange-ness" in situations rather than being alert to "strangers." Advises that kids are often told to do things, rather than having things done to them. Pushes intuitive development. If lost, go to a woman (sorry men, but facts are facts), not necessarily to a "manager" or security. If being abducted, scream, "This man is not my father" rather than just hollering, "No." I'm now a de Becker preacher, apparently, and look forward to his book about fear.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sheena

    As a future teacher, I tend to pick up the occasional book about parenting (since it's useful to understand a few different perspectives about kids). This is one of the better childcare/parenting/teaching related books I've read. Instead of focusing on all of the bad things that COULD happen to a child who isn't constantly supervised, de Becker recommends a simple idea: teach children how to take care of themselves. One of de Becker's focal points is trusting intuition, or that feeling that somet As a future teacher, I tend to pick up the occasional book about parenting (since it's useful to understand a few different perspectives about kids). This is one of the better childcare/parenting/teaching related books I've read. Instead of focusing on all of the bad things that COULD happen to a child who isn't constantly supervised, de Becker recommends a simple idea: teach children how to take care of themselves. One of de Becker's focal points is trusting intuition, or that feeling that something isn't right. If children know to trust their intuition, and how to convey that feeling to an adult, they might be less likely to do what they're told because "a grown-up said to" -- which makes them less vulnerable and safer. Another key point de Becker makes is teaching children how to identify helpful or safe strangers. Every child will, at some point, either be in a public place alone or will need to ask for help. They might be fairly young or they might be teenagers. If a child is told that all strangers everywhere are bad and scary, they might not ask for help -- even from someone who is there TO help, like a police officer or security guard.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Although I'm a worrier, this book did not unduly upset me. I was already aware of the dangers that children face in our society because I am determined not to be what de Becker calls a "denier": someone who says, "Oh, that couldn't happen to my child. We only know 'nice' people." As the daughter of a pastor who has counseled many victims of violence, I know better than that. So I was looking for ways to minimize the possibility that my children (or I) will be victimized, and this book was very h Although I'm a worrier, this book did not unduly upset me. I was already aware of the dangers that children face in our society because I am determined not to be what de Becker calls a "denier": someone who says, "Oh, that couldn't happen to my child. We only know 'nice' people." As the daughter of a pastor who has counseled many victims of violence, I know better than that. So I was looking for ways to minimize the possibility that my children (or I) will be victimized, and this book was very helpful in that regard. I especially appreciated that it is based on statistics, not emotions. However, the idea that intuition will help protect us more than the "logical" ways we talk ourselves out of being afraid of a potentially dangerous person rang true for me. I will be using the information provided here to keep my kids as safe as possible, both now while they are young enough to need supervision and as they grow mature enough to be on their own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A **must read** for all parents. Concrete, step by step information on how to keep children safe by trusting your intuition and facing reality. This book really tells it like it is, with no politically correct crap: for example, the book says that male security guards should not be the first, safe choice for children who are lost; that you should actually ask a potential babysitter if he/she has harmed a child, since that's really what you want to know; and that assuming that your neighbor's bab A **must read** for all parents. Concrete, step by step information on how to keep children safe by trusting your intuition and facing reality. This book really tells it like it is, with no politically correct crap: for example, the book says that male security guards should not be the first, safe choice for children who are lost; that you should actually ask a potential babysitter if he/she has harmed a child, since that's really what you want to know; and that assuming that your neighbor's babysitter is ok because the neighbors seem ok is not the same thing as vetting the sitter yourself. There is a lot of scary information here, like my favorite bit that there is probably a sex offender within one square mile of you, and he is probably not on the Megan's Law web site because they usually molest 30-60 kids before they ever get caught. Lovely! But if you have this information, then you don't live in denial and you can actually protect your kids. Which is the point.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    My favorite chapter was called "Worry." I think I'll re-read that chapter before I return it to the library, b/c it said a lot of things that I'd never thought of before that are relevant to my life, since I'm a big worrier. It is basically about the vital importance of trusting your instincts to tell you when a person is dangerous. He says that when you are worried about something, you need to ask yourself if the threat is caused by something you observed in your current surroundings (someone, My favorite chapter was called "Worry." I think I'll re-read that chapter before I return it to the library, b/c it said a lot of things that I'd never thought of before that are relevant to my life, since I'm a big worrier. It is basically about the vital importance of trusting your instincts to tell you when a person is dangerous. He says that when you are worried about something, you need to ask yourself if the threat is caused by something you observed in your current surroundings (someone, I should say), or if it is caused by your imagination. My worries and fears are mostly caused by my imagination. He points out that if we expend our energy on imagined worries, it dulls us to the warnings of real and legitimate fear based on cues that we pick up on around dangerous people.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amie

    This book is fantastic and empowering for parents to separate the real dangers children face from the fiction the media presents. Most dangerous predators are close to home, not strangers, and they have tactics that are easy to recognize if you know what they are. I also wish every preteen and teenage girl would read this book, or that her parents would talk to her about the information presented. I certainly wish I'd had access to it when I was growing up. All too often girls are taught to "be n This book is fantastic and empowering for parents to separate the real dangers children face from the fiction the media presents. Most dangerous predators are close to home, not strangers, and they have tactics that are easy to recognize if you know what they are. I also wish every preteen and teenage girl would read this book, or that her parents would talk to her about the information presented. I certainly wish I'd had access to it when I was growing up. All too often girls are taught to "be nice" when there are certain situations when rudeness can make a girl a far less desirable target. If we teach our children to listen to their intuition, de Becker advises, they will know when politeness is not necessary.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Austen to Zafón

    I read this book in one evening and found it valuable and empowering. I got to skip over all the chapters that had to do with school and daycares, since we're learning at home, but the rest was certainly applicable. While many of the stories he uses as examples were heartbreaking (I totally could not read the section on parents abusing infants), his ideas for what you can *do* are terrific. And he debunks many of the common things we've all grown up believing in, like "stranger danger" or findin I read this book in one evening and found it valuable and empowering. I got to skip over all the chapters that had to do with school and daycares, since we're learning at home, but the rest was certainly applicable. While many of the stories he uses as examples were heartbreaking (I totally could not read the section on parents abusing infants), his ideas for what you can *do* are terrific. And he debunks many of the common things we've all grown up believing in, like "stranger danger" or finding a policeman when you're lost. His main focus is on feeling confident in one's own ability to asess charcter, on listening to that little voice that says "this doesn't feel right," instead of rationalizing that away, or worse telling your kids to rationalize it away!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    Very informative book...I would recommend this book to anyone who is concerned with child predators or keeping your children safe by being aware of the dangers out there. I really liked that this boom focused on the intuition that we as humans are all equipped with, and in particular the "momma bear" instinct. I know that as long as my rationalizations didn't get in the way, I would be that momma bear who would take on any danger and do whatever was necessary to protect my kids. This book had so Very informative book...I would recommend this book to anyone who is concerned with child predators or keeping your children safe by being aware of the dangers out there. I really liked that this boom focused on the intuition that we as humans are all equipped with, and in particular the "momma bear" instinct. I know that as long as my rationalizations didn't get in the way, I would be that momma bear who would take on any danger and do whatever was necessary to protect my kids. This book had some disturbing but enlightening stories. It really made me think and realize how much more preparation and awareness that I could be offering my kids, and I plan to use this book as my personal inspiration to do so.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    Protecting the Gift is such a great find! I feel very well-informed and empowered regarding how I can protect myself and my children and teach them to protect themselves, too. I like the author’s discussion of social issues that affect how we, as women, fail to be as assertive as we should. I also found fascinating his descriptions of our intuition and the value of tuning into it. I found incredibly helpful his breakdowns of predator types, the chart listing the Test of Twelve, and other importa Protecting the Gift is such a great find! I feel very well-informed and empowered regarding how I can protect myself and my children and teach them to protect themselves, too. I like the author’s discussion of social issues that affect how we, as women, fail to be as assertive as we should. I also found fascinating his descriptions of our intuition and the value of tuning into it. I found incredibly helpful his breakdowns of predator types, the chart listing the Test of Twelve, and other important tips. I also respect greatly that Gavin de Becker is a feminist. I highly recommend this for all parents, especially those of girls.

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