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Book Review: Protecting the Gift

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Book Review: Protecting the Gift
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What This Book is About:

Renowned security consultant Gavin de Becker is the author of the bestselling book Gift of Fear, about the power of our instincts and what we need to know to protect ourselves against violence and danger. De Becker wrote this follow-up, Protecting the Gift with the safety of children in mind.

As the subtitle of the book, Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane), clearly states, the purpose of this book is to keep children safe, or rather, to give parents information that they need to know to spot potential dangers, not discount their intuition, and perhaps even more important, how to teach their children to keep themselves safe.

Some Key Highlights of the Book

Protecting the Gift is as important as it is compelling. Interspersed with gripping real-life accounts about parents who trusted their instincts (or who, with tragic consequences, either pushed aside their intuitions or failed to see warning signs), this book offers parents crucially essential tips on everything from what to ask childcare professionals when interviewing them to how to best prepare a child for walking alone to school.

Some other essential information for parents:

  • How to spot predatory behavior such as charm and niceness and discounting the word "No."
  • Why teaching a child not to talk to strangers is not effective and could prevent him from getting help.
  • How to teach a child what to do when he is lost (find a woman and ask her to call for help).
  • Why teaching a child to be fearful is counter-productive, and why the more important lessons have to do with showing a child how to be prepared to avoid potential threats and protect herself when she is in danger.
  • What teenage girls and boys need to know to be safe.

Why This Book is Important for Parents

This book is a must-read for anyone who has a child. In addition to the vitally important tips for parents on how to spot danger, trust their instincts, and how to impart these skills to their children, the book also contains an important message: Rather than be fearful, know the facts and be prepared.

When I first became a mother, I knew that I would die to protect my child. The very idea of someone harming a child makes me want to hold on to my son and not let go until he's big and strong enough to defend himself (and perhaps not even then).

I have to admit that when I began to read this book, which really deals with one of the subjects parents fear the most -- that of their child being harmed or in danger -- it was tough to read about the cases in which parents didn't trust their instincts or didn't look carefully enough at the signs of danger and either lost their children forever, or had to deal with the consequences after a perpetrator had harmed their child.

But as de Becker wisely points out, being informed and teaching your child how to avoid potential danger -- and what to do if she is ever in a harmful situation -- is crucial. Being afraid, and teaching your child fear, can get in the way of being prepared. We cannot be with our children every minute of their childhood. But we can, and we must, take measures to keep them safe. That is why de Becker wrote this book, and that is why parents must read it.

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