“Do You Teach Your Kids to Never Answer the Door?” is a common question when I teach an in-home family safety and self-defence course.
In my experience, about 95% of parents tell me they have taught their children to keep the doors locked and not let anyone know they are home alone. It makes sense, but I will ask, “what if, by chance, maybe low chance, the person at the door is looking to break into a home? What does not answering the door tell the person?”
Foremost, I teach anyone to never blindly open the door unless they know and expect the person regardless of age. More on that, in this blog post, I wrote Top 6 Critical SAFE 101 Rules When a Stranger is at Your Door | Safe International
But does your child know what to do if the person scopes the property, perhaps looking for an entry point? Do they have the verbal strategies to address the person from a window higher up where they are safe?
Do they have an exit plan if that makes the most sense? Have you spoken to your neighbours about your plans with your children? I encourage parents to teach their kids from an early age some options, not just one strategy like, “NEVER OPEN THE DOOR!”
I often hear kids who tell me they have been taught to say to a stranger, “My mother or father is just busy in the shower.” The hope is the person hanging around might leave thinking there is an adult in the house. But what if the person at the front door has been watching the home? What if they know the child is alone and begins a dialogue with the child that puts pressure on them? And there is an excellent chance they know kids have been taught to say that.
You might only look at this from a stranger’s perspective at the front door. Still, these are problem-solving skills, conflict resolution and verbal skills that will carry over into all areas of their life. In addition, they can adopt these self-defence and violence prevention strategies in the school environment with other kids.
As they grow into adulthood, this will also be useful in all their different relationships.
A credible violence prevention and self-defence course teach HOW TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE about life’s challenges.
Chris Roberts, Founder SAFE Violence Prevention & Self Defence