What would you do if..there is someone at the door?

What would you do if you were playing in the living room and someone knocked on your door, but your mom was busy?

answering-door7Today we suggested to our younger students that answering the door, even when they think they know who is at the door, is not their responsibility and that it is always the responsibility of the adult in the house.  The fact is that for a child to get into the ‘habit’ of answering the door can be a safety issue for the entire family.

Even as children get older they should learn some safety tips that we will discuss in the next section of this article.  How can we be sure that our children get into the ‘habit’ of telling mom and dad that someone is at the door?  I would suggest that even when you are standing right there, that you the parent opens the door, and you do not allow your child to do it for you.  It is too easy for the child to get used to opening the door and then forget when you are not in the room.

Even as adults the habits we get into are the ones we do when we are running on automatic.  I will tell the story of the police officer who was practicing gun disarms with fellow officers.  Wanting to get as many reps in as possible his partner would point the gun, the other officer would do the disarm, and then hand the gun back to his partner.  Over and over they went through this exercise.  Then one day the real deal took place.  The bad guy pointed a gun at the officer, he quickly disarmed the assailant and just as quickly handed the gun back to the bad guy.

If we do not want our child to open the door – then we must not practice opening the door with them.  Instead, randomly get your neighbor or friend to come over, knock on the door and see if your child responds the way you have been teaching them – to come and get you to answer the door.   You always practice what you want to do in the most stressful situation – not what you want to avoid.

Answering the door for teens and adults should also always be done using great care, no matter where you live. Here are self defense tips for everyone.

  • Think:
    • Am I expecting anyone?
    • Am I alone?
    • Do I recognize the vehicle? Is it marked properly?
  • Ask:
    • For identification
    • Call the company and check on the person (look the number up – do not use a number they give you.)
    • Take your phone with you to the door with your finger on the 911 speed dial
  • Don’t Be Afraid:
    • Take a photo of the visitor and their car. Tell them it is a precaution
    • Leave the house if you feel uncomfortable
    • Go to a neighbor or call police
    • Not to answer the door if you feel vulnerable

Self defense is not just about kicking and punching.  It is about protecting ourselves in all kinds of situations and knowing how to teach our children safety skills they can use for life.

You are most likely to know your attacker – now defend yourself

Attackers are more likely to be someone you know than it is for them to be a stranger.  This is especially true for a young person.  Many times the attacker feels a grudge for the other person, doesn’t like them for some reason or has been encouraged to attack them by others.

What can you do if someone tries to pick a fight with you or is pushing all of your buttons?  Unfortunately if you decide to take them on physically you may be making a bad situation worst.  Once the aggressor has decided you are their target they have already put themselves into a higher state of aggression with adrenaline running high.  They may have mind altering substances in their body which are making them irrational.  If you engage that personality, you may be in for a physical fight that could have been avoided.

Can you de-esculate the situation?  In many cases you are able to de-esculate long enough for you to remove yourself from the area.  This is very important if the aggressor has got you alone or away from others.  It is harder to do when there are others around, not because we cannot use our skills to de-esculate, but rather because our ego or theirs may be getting into the way.

This is not the time to prove how strong or talented we are in the area of ‘beating someone up’.  It makes more rational sense to allow ourselves to be seen by others as less than, and survive, than to be trying to prove a point. Using our words to de-esculate may not always work, but our staying calm will not make the situation worse.  Saying and doing things that do not threaten your attacker can give you some control.

In the end if the aggressor continues – then of course you must defend yourself, even physically.  Learning how to do so and practicing in a safe environment like Balanced Life Skills is the best way to be prepared.

What would you do if you saw someone being bullied?

This week we worked on What would you do if you saw someone being bullied?  There were a lot of good comments, but our practice was on speaking the words “In our school we do not treat people like that.”   These are not easy words to get out, especially in front of your friends.  Hence the reason we must practice them.  So we did some role play with our students.

What do you think? There are many ways of reacting, this is just one.  The most important one is being careful not to go along with the aggressor by taking part in making fun of another person or laughing at them when others are making fun of them.  Start with that – but then find the courage to step up and say – In our school we don’t treat people like that.

Strange car self defense

“What would you do if a car pulled up in front of your house and they asked you to help them find their puppy?”  This was the first in our series of What would you do if…

When teaching children we must be careful not to frighten them about life and people – but we must have a level of awareness that keeps them vigilant.  Then again, that is true of all of us.   Giving regular and fun attention to the subjects is key to learning and being able to use what we learn.  Here is one of the exercises we did in our class on the Strange Car!