40 THE QUEENS COURIER • KIDS & EDUCATION • JULY 25, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
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Family safe words and their importance
BY DONNA LADD
We have a family safe word. In our family,
we always discuss the importance of his
safety with our oldest child. From an early
age, he was jumping on strangers’ laps at
the park and giving out hugs. When he
was at this young age, I wanted him to
be more cautious. As most parents know
— not so easy when they are toddlers.
Frankly, I hate as a parent that we have to
have “the safety conversation.” Th is feels
like the beginning of when the world of
rainbows and sunshine starts to fade a bit
when, as parents, we have to share that
there are not good people out there. How
my husband and I describe unsafe situations
is that anyone who wants to harm
them will go to great lengths to do this.
We have also stressed, and as a parent, I
feel this part is vital to share with your
children, that the “boogie man” can look
just like us. Th ey also can be someone the
kid “kind of ” knows.
What is a family safe word?
A family safe word is a code term that
you, as a family, decide and use as a safety
measure. Th e point of the family safe
word is that it is for the immediate family
only and is there to help keep our children
How does a family
safe word work?
Every family is unique on how they use
the family safe word. How you use the
family safe word is according to your family
guidelines. Some families use the word
for their child as their child’s way of communicating
if they are uncomfortable or
in a threatening situation. For example, if
child X is at a family gathering and someone
related or non-related has made child
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X uncomfortable, then child X uses this
word as a code word. Th is allows your
child to feel they can communicate with
their parents if they are in some type of
profoundly uncomfortable situation.
Other families save it for more narrow
situations. Th is can be strictly when out
in public places such as amusement parks
or museums. It is best not to abuse the
word. Th is is an emergency only word and
should be treated as such.
How to choose a family
For starters, the family safe word should
not be a word your family uses daily. Th e
word doesn’t have to be super complicated
but should not be a word easy to fi nd
out via social media. Not your pet turtle’s
name, not a nickname. Be creative and
think out of the box and repeat the word
for the fi rst few weeks in private. During
dinner is a great time. Some websites list
the common safe words that you can pick
for your family. However, now that these
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words are listed out in the world, how are
they safe? An example of a safe word?
Bacteria. Yup, it’s a bit weird, but it’s not
that hard to remember a word like bacteria.
My suggestion is to choose a word
that someone outside of the family would
never guess is your safe word.
It is a good idea to go over the ground
rules with your children on the terms of how
you use this word. Once you share the word
(for whatever reason, it’s life-situations happen),
then a new word needs to be picked.
It is important to remember that a family
safe word is a step in overall safety for
your family. A family safe word is not a
green light for your child to take off with a
stranger if they have miraculously guessed
the word. Explaining how overall safety
looks for your family is key. Th ere is no
right or wrong. Th is is how safety looks
for my family. How your family implements
safety is for your comfort level and
your parenting prerogative.