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A Dad’s Reflections on the Importance of the Body Safety Talk

By Randall Wallbaum

I’m the parent of two young adults and have recently reflected on the years I have spent as a parent. I like to think that I am a decent dad to my two children but, in retrospect, I can see there were things that could have been done differently. Nothing that could be considered life shattering or anything like that (at least, I don’t think so) and I think my two kids have turned out pretty good.

One thing that came to my attention recently (that should have been discussed with my children years ago) is that we never really had a body safety type of discussion. This type of discussion never happened in my youth, it wasn’t prominently displayed where I frequented, and it wasn’t something other parents were talking about at the time.

It never occurred to me, with both children in after-school activities, my children might have been at risk of being harmed. Or that someone might try to talk them into doing something like taking drugs. We eventually had that discussion, but I was in the military for most of my children’s lives and was gone frequently. That fact limited how much I could interact with my children and I always tried to make the interaction we did have count in quality. Those ‘uncomfortable’ topics were low on that long list of things to talk to the kids about simply because they were ‘uncomfortable’ topics. Now I think of checking with the organizations they had been involved with for background checks and safety protocols to ensure the safety of my children.

After seeing a flyer about child body safety, it made me aware that my children had been at risk even though I didn’t consider it at the time. After reading the flyer, I started thinking about both of my children out in the woods or another activity with other kids (some older) and older adults or parents going along on that trip when I didn’t know anything about them. I missed very few events for my children (even though in the military) and this may have been another reason for not having this type of discussion with them …. I was usually there. What about those times you are not there to watch over them?

I can see now that having that discussion then could help them prepare for the unthinkable to happen, even when they are older. Awareness of their surroundings and happenings around them can keep them safe or give them the opportunity to avoid a bad situation. Sharing with them that information they need to be aware and keep themselves safe is a parents’ responsibility for those times you aren’t around.