Ready or not, Here They Come!
You did it! The years of assisting with endless projects and homework has come to an end. The blood has returned to your hands after the numerous white knuckled rides as your new driver learned the rules of the road. Boyfriends, girlfriends, and other social events has filled the cup when it comes to the teen drama from the past four years of high school. Now you can sit back, enjoy the graduation ceremony, and take a deep breath. The worry and anxiety caused from your child has come to an end, right? Wrong!
Over the past two months high schools from around the country have held graduation ceremonies. Parents have jumped the hurdle of the teen years and now their young adult is ready to go off to college or the university of choice. The only problem is that 99.9% of the kids heading out of the parental nest are not ready for what this world has to offer them.
When our kids are young, we teach them things like “stranger danger”. You would tell your child to NEVER go with someone you do not know. You would teach them skills like finding a police officer or fireman if they were lost. During the 80’s we were all scared of blue vans with a white tear drop read window. It always seemed when someone was abducted this was the description of the suspects van. Makes me think that if I had a blue van during this time, I would probably trade it in for a less sought out vehicle. All kidding aside, we worked so hard to keep the kids safe when they were young. You might not have known it at the time, but you were teaching a skill called situational awareness. The question to ask now is, how have you prepared your child to be situationally aware as they head out to the world on their own?
The college years are an adventure for any young person. Finally, they are free of the rules and regulations of mom and dad. As they go out on their own it is critical that they leave prepared and aware of the dangers that they could encounter while on this rollercoaster of life.
Here are some basic points to bring up to your college bound child.
· Walk with a Purpose - Keep your head out of your phone. Know who is always around you. Try to walk with confidence. Keep your head up and be aware. You are less apt to be a victim when you appear to be in control.
· Uber with a Buddy - Car services are great. They make getting around so much easier and are cost effective. However, you are getting in a car with a stranger. It is better to be with a friend then to be alone in this situation.
· Buy your Own Drinks – Always be in control of what you consume. Date rape occurs on campuses all over the country every day. Many of these crimes are committed through drugging their victim. Although it is nice to have someone buy you a drink, do not accept. If you watch the pour, you will know that it has not been altered.
· Do Not Advertise on Social – You are the only person that needs to know you are not home. Keep the personal info off your social platform. There may be more than just your friends reading your post.
· Know the Out - Always know the exits. If things go sideways and you need to get out fast it is better to have a plan. It does not matter if you are at a house party or the movie theater. Be prepared for all possible scenarios.
· Tabletop - When I teach any type of response training, we always have what they call in the law enforcement/security industry as a “tabletop”. We review what could happen and how to respond. In many cases I will have a tabletop at the start and at the end of an exercise. This way we can have a pregame and a post-game of the situation to point out the good and to review areas of opportunity. You should have these tabletop exercises going in your head as well. For example, you are at Wal-Mart, and someone enters the store with a gun. How would you respond? Do you know where the exits are? If you cannot leave what is the next step? Are you prepared to fight if needed? How do you stay alive?
· Stay in Control – It is good to practice the skill of staying in control. The more out of control you become in a life-threatening situation the more likely you are to die. Your body can get to the point of complete shut down and failure if your heart BPM (beats per minute) exceeds 175. Learn how to cope with stress and move forward when danger presents itself.
The above points are only a few of many ways to be better aware of your surroundings. A person who is situationally aware is less apt to be a victim and more effective in life threatening situations. Do not let your child leave for college unprepared. If you do not have the skills to teach, then find an organization that can train them. Black Ops Tactical Consulting is one of many certified firms that can teach your child to be better prepared. Contact us for more information. www.blackopstacticalconsulting.com