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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to ALL Parents! Dec 10 2003
By Kelly
Gavin De Becker has compiled a very thorough, interesting, readable, and *essential* guide to keeping children safe in our world. While there are parts of this book that may be unpleasant to read [nobody likes to read about bad things happening to children], it will instruct and prepare parents to keep their children out of harm's reach. I found the book very empowering and have already implemented many of his suggestions. This book also reduces fear in the sense that it helps parents seperate common yet improbable fears [child abduction by strangers] from the very real fears that they may be turning a blind eye to [like molestation by a family member]. It helps parents understand what they need to do to prevent this kind of tragedy and yet also helps them seperate 'media hype' from reality. I am extremely glad to have found this book and read it and I feel that my children are far safer because of it. If every parent would read this book our world would be a much safer place for children!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
While expecting our first baby and then as new parents, my wife and I received loads of excellent advice from friends and family regarding childbirth, doctors, baby-care, day-care, formula brands, etc. Last week, as a father with 8 weeks of experience in parenting, I had my first opportunity to offer advice to an expectant parent. I suggested she visit two day care centers I had liked, visit the pediatrician my wife and I chose, and read Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker.
Gavin de Becker makes his living predicting and preventing violent behavior. His firm provides security and consultation to celebrities, athletes, world leaders, the CIA, U. S. Supreme Court and other security organizations around the world.
In Protecting the Gift, de Becker introduces parents to startling statistics revealing the violent reality of our culture: one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually molested by the time they reach adulthood; 90 percent of sexual abuse is committed by someone the child knows; the most common age that sexual abuse begins is when the child is three years old. Most parents live with a mindset that denies or ignores this reality. But as de Becker shows in his book, our children are living in this reality everyday.
De Becker's purpose in this book is two-fold: 1) to hit parents in the face with the real dangers awaiting children, and 2) to teach parents how to avoid fruitless worry and to take meaningful steps to protect children. On both points, de Becker succeeds.
Parents are raising children during an age when an FBI child-pornography sting indicts teachers, coaches, pastors and judges. It is an age of guns and date-rape drugs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent May 24 2008
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Parents and Educators May 21 2003
Gavin De Becker uses his experience, statistics, and extensive research to develop a method for keeping children safe. His method contradicts accepted wisdom in some areas, but he backs up his method with statistics.
For example, most children are told to find a police officer when they are lost. De Becker recommends instructing children to find someone who looks like a mommy instead. His reasoning is that most children can't tell the difference between a police officer and anyone else in an official looking uniform. Most of the time, a child will pick a man when looking for a police officer. A man is much more likely to harm a child than a woman is. By instructing a child to find someone who looks like a mommy, you are directing your child to find someone who is statistically the least likely to harm them and the most likely to help them.
In addition, De Becker exposes who is most likely to harm a child, and it isn't who the media leads you to think.
I can't say enough about this book. I plan to give it to all my daughter's teachers. I also plan to lobby for safety education based on the concepts in this book rather than traditional "stranger danger" concepts.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary but great info
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. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Becky
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good, high information, low lecture book.
Again another DeBecker book with unfailing solid teaching and logic. Circumventing all the sappy cliches this book teaches and corrects our perceptions.
Published 7 months ago by Lisette A McArthur
5.0 out of 5 stars I devoured the book
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. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering and essential
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... Read more
Published on June 4 2012 by fanofsafeside
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
Well written and easy read, this book is a common sense approach to awareness of potentially dangerous situations. Mr. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2012 by KipperBob
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful! Enlightening!
The parts of this book that were hard to read were the very parts that I needed to educate myself on. Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by Jill D. Conner
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon says "a terrifying book"??
It's like that reviewer missed part of the point: being too fearful ADDS to danger; it doesn't reduce it. Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by your catfish friend
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book for Parents
Parents,Teachers,Doctors...everyone. This is the best book to teach how to keep our children safe. Wish Someone could have read the book and kept me safe as a child. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Save our Kids
This book, if followed will take the gift of fear an enable us to use it to protect our most precious gift, our children. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2004 by Joseph J. Slevin
5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent, practical and to the point.
If I could afford it I would buy this book for every parent I know and anyone I didn't who would take it. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2003
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