Empowering Our Girls: Keeping our Teenage Daughters Safe
12 Essential Tips to Keep Your Teenage Daughter Safe
We all want to feel confident when our teenage daughters go out at night with their friend, knowing they know how to prevent themselves from being in unsafe situations, and how to defend and advocate for themselves when they needed to. As a teenager, I experienced sexual assault, and now as a mother of a precious ten year old daughter, I do what it takes to keep her safe, including teaching self defense to girls for the past 30 years. Here I am sharing tips on ways we can keep our daughters safe as they navigates through their teenage years, and beyond.
- Open Flow of Communication, No Matter What – No matter what time it is, or what rules she has broken, or where she is, she needs to know that you will help her if she is in trouble or finds herself around people she does not trust to drive her home safely.
- Give Her a Phone – It does not have to be the fancy smartphone she had been begging for, but it is essential for her to have a way to call you or the police if necessary.
- Limit Use of Alcohol and Drugs – The key here is to stay in control. A large percentage of sexual assaults involve alcohol. If your daughter is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, it is very important that she know the importance of staying in control.
- Have a Buddy – Teenage girls typically travel in groups. This is a good thing. When going to a party, she should have one buddy. They make a promise to look after each other all night long. They even let each other know when they are going to use the restroom.
- Have an Exit Strategy – At any point during the party or anywhere you may be, make sure you know you can leave at any time, if you want to. Carry enough money to call a cab, if necessary. Know where the exits are.
- Learn About Body Weapons and Targets – Here is a quick physical self-defense lesson for you! Watch this video, Women’s Self Defense- 8 Essential Targets and How to Strike to Them, and learn some moves.
- Be Wary of Unwanted Attention – As young women, we sometimes like attention, but when it is unwanted, or from somebody we are not comfortable with, we should be wary of it. Often, niceness and giving compliments is a tactic used by a criminal to gain trust. Always speak firmly and look him in the eye when you say, “I do not want to talk to you.”
- Trust Your Gut Feelings – Your body gives you signals to warn you when you are in danger. You might feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, your palms get sweaty or you have knots in your stomach. Listen to their signals and act quickly to remove yourself away from the person who is causing that physical response in you.
- Make Smart Choices – Make smart choices about your safety, even if all of your friends are trying to convince you to do something or go somewhere.
- Do Not Share Personal Information – If someone is asking questions about your name, the names of your family members, your school or your address, DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY INFORMATION. Feel free to make something up or simply refuse to answer. You can also try this trick: For every one question they ask you, you ask them two without answering any.
- Keep your Beverage in Your Hand –Some rapist use “date-rape drugs” to aid in their sexual assault. They place a pill, liquid or powder into a woman’s drink and between 15-30 minutes later, that woman would appear to be quite drunk. The perpetrator would assist the woman away from others, appearing to help her, but instead would assault her. The drugs are powerful enough to cause the woman to pass out and she may not remember anything. The effects of the drug may last several hours. Needless to say, Keep your beverage in your own hands at all times.
- Self-Defense Classes – Give your daughter the gift of self-defense training. I would give her this training before she is a teenager. By the time she is eight years old, I believe she would benefit from a self defense course that teaches girls to speak up for themselves and defend themselves physically if necessary.
Your teenage daughter is a precious being. You do not have the luxury of denial or avoidance when it comes to paying attention to the safety of your child. I know you will do what you can to keep her from harm, and please arm her with the knowledge and tools she will need to keep herself safe.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, is a great resource for more information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy has been empowering girls since 1985. She teaches self-defense, martial arts and life lessons at her studio in Northampton and beyond. Nancy is also a bodyworker, blogger, love of life and most importantly, a mom. You can read her latest blog posts at nancyrothenberg.com.