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Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) [Hardcover]

Gavin De Becker
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 18 1999
"I commit that by the end of this book, you'll know more and be uncertain less; see more and deny less, accept more and hesitate less; act more and worry less.  How can I be so sure?  Because if nature selected you for the job of protecting a child, odds are you're up to it."--Gavin de Becker

In his groundbreaking bestseller The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker showed millions of readers that like every creature on earth, human beings can predict violent behavior. Now, in Protecting the Gift, de Becker empowers parents to trust fully their own intuition when it comes to their children's safety.

In this indispensable resource, de Becker provides keen insights into the behavior and strategies of predators. He offers practical new steps to enhance children's safety at every age level: specific questions parents can ask to screen effectively and evaluate baby-sitters, day-care services, schools, and doctors; a "Test of Twelve" safety skills children need before being alone in public; warning signs to help parents protect children from sexual abuse; and how to keep teenage girls and boys from unsafe situations with peers and adults. De Becker also shatters the myth that rules like Never Talk to Strangers will keep your children safe. By showing what danger really looks like--as opposed to what we might imagine it looks like--de Becker gives parents freedom from many common worries and unwarranted fears.

All parents face the same challenges when it comes to their children's safety: whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear. De Becker helps parents find some certainty about life's highest-stakes questions:

How can I know a baby-sitter won't turn out to be someone who harms my child?
What should I ask child-care professionals when I interview them?
What's the best way to prepare my child for walking to school alone?
How can my child be safer at school?
How can I spot sexual predators?  
What should I do if my child is lost in public?  
How can I teach my child about risk without causing too much fear?
What must my teenage daughter know in order to be safe?
What must my teenage son know in order to be safe?  
And finally, in the face of all these questions, how can I reduce the worrying?  

A generation ago, in Baby and Child Care, Dr. Benjamin Spock told parents that they already possessed most of the important knowledge about their children's health. Similarly, when it comes to predicting violence and protecting children, de Becker demonstrates that you already know most of what you need to know-- parents have, he says, "the wisdom of the species."

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From Amazon

Be warned: In many ways this is a terrifying book. It deals with a subject--violence against children--that most of us never want to consider. But, as Gavin de Becker stresses, such situations, though rare, can occur, so all parents must deal with the facts in order to protect their children properly. De Becker's aim is to create awareness of potential dangers and provide parents with the knowledge necessary for prevention and control. As he emphatically states in Protecting the Gift, much of this knowledge is already hard-wired in the form of intuition: "This natural ability is deep, brilliant, powerful. Nature's greatest accomplishment, the human brain, is stunningly efficient when its host is at risk, but when one's child is at risk, it moves to a whole new level, one we can justifiably call miraculous." The trick, he stresses, is trusting and acting on intuition.

In this valuable, even necessary, book, he shatters many myths about the typical profiles of regular offenders and the prevalence of such problems as sexual abuse and kidnapping. He also deconstructs the wisdom of traditional maxims such as "Never talk to strangers" and "If you are ever lost, go to a policeman." Without offering a compendium of every conceivable danger, he identifies warning signals and real risks that are often easy to spot once you know what to look for. He offers practical advice on recognizing signs of sexual abuse, choosing a baby sitter or nanny, how to prepare kids for walking to school alone, and how to teach children about potential risks without making them afraid to venture out of the house. And he continually stresses that denial and ignoring intuition are the biggest mistakes that parents make in protecting their kids from those that mean them harm. Well written and infinitely informative, Protecting the Gift affords parents more confidence and less reason for unnecessary worry. --Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

Dostoyevski said that child abuse is evil because it destroys a childs faith in the goodness of God. In this painstakingly practical yet impassioned guide, de Becker, author of last years bestselling The Gift of Fear, demonstrates that a child who was himself abused can grow up to be a vigilant protector of the gift of childrens innate faith in the goodness of life. Writing with a precision honed from his long experience as a security expert predicting violence in order to protect high-profile clients, and with a depth born of his own childhood understanding of how it feels to be hurt by the adult you love, de Becker describes how we can keep our children safe. Although he devotes separate chapters to the special threats facing children and teens, females and males (the murderous romance of boys and guns is covered), his basic message is encapsulated in 12 steps. Echoing his previous book, the first step involves teaching children to honor their feelingsspecifically, the intuition that makes them fear certain people. Children also need a parents permission to be assertive, to defy adults, to yell and fully resist. Throughout, de Becker stresses a childs need to trust that a parent will be open to listen about any experience, no matter how unpleasant. He opens and concludes with tales of ordinary mothers who overcame their doubts and inhibitions to experience a brilliantly intuitive wild brain as they fought off attackers to protect their children. De Becker offers a guide to fostering this fierce intelligence in our kids, ourselves and our society. Everyone in contact with children should read this important book. It can help save lives. BOMC, QPB and Childrens BOMC featured alternates; first serial to USA Weekend; second serial to Good Housekeeping; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "The Gift of Fear"...rehashed June 10 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I am a big fan of Gavin De Becker. I found "The Gift of Fear" helpful, intelligent and, often, frighteningly insightful. I have recommended it many times. That said, I am sad to report that I think it extremely misleading to present "Protecting The Gift" as a new book. Anecdotes aren't just warmed over, they're served up word for word. Whole chunks of chapters are identical to the first book, with only subjects changed to refer to parents and children rather than to adults. I rushed to buy this book and my advice is, if you have the first one, don't bother. As honorable as De Becker's mission seems to be, I'd say his editor and publisher are responsible for a pretty major consumer rip-off. Only the appendices seem new
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent May 24 2008
Format:Paperback
I think that everyone who has children or works with children should read this informative, interesting, book that provides very thought provoking questions and information that will assist you in keeping your children safe. There were things written in this book that I never would have thought about when considering my childrens safety. I have recommended this book to anyone I come in contact with who has children or works with them! Gavin De Becker is incredible!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Jan. 14 2012
Format:Paperback
Well written and easy read, this book is a common sense approach to awareness of potentially dangerous situations. Mr. de Becker is , in my opinion, spot on in his observations, research, and getting us to trust our intuition. I would recommend this book to anyone, but particularly those with the most vulnerable assets - wives, girlfriends, sisters,mothers, and children.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scary but great info March 7 2014
By Becky
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be really stressful to read at first, but as I got going, I realized that it was an issue I should not fear. I haven't read this book in a long time, but I still remember a lot of tips I have learned from this book. It's an excellent resource to have as a parent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good, high information, low lecture book. Feb. 14 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Again another DeBecker book with unfailing solid teaching and logic. Circumventing all the sappy cliches this book teaches and corrects our perceptions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I devoured the book Oct. 17 2012
By Anna
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found lots of useful information in this book. The most important lesson I learned that parents can never be too vigilant about the safety of their children. A parent must constantly monitor the environment and the people that surround his/her child. Never blindly trust anybody when it comes to your child safety.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering and essential June 4 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provides real survival skills for you to teach your children. For instance, you need to teach your children that they may need to interact with strangers when they need help and teach them how to do this. It is a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful! Enlightening! June 11 2004
Format:Paperback
The parts of this book that were hard to read were the very parts that I needed to educate myself on. I feel much more equipped to recognize danger and to teach my children how to be safe. Most importantly, DeBecker teaches us to trust our instincts. Great reading! ESSENTIAL to parents.
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