Planning for Protective Parenting

by Michelle Courtney

The most basic duty of a parent is to care for and protect her children. I live with this reality every day as the mother of 3 young children. Caring for them is usually the easy part. It's the protection part that takes a bit more work. Thankfully, the majority of that work is protecting them from their own curiosities, and from each other.

Protecting children from existential dangers inside or outside of the home is a whole different ballgame, though. No matter what your personal protection plan is for yourself, it changes dramatically when a precious young life is completely dependent on you for protection as well.

Most people have put some thought into individual self-defense, which is one reason gun ownership is growing and gun purchases are breaking records. However, many don’t put that same thought into family defense scenarios and family training, regardless of whether they choose to be armed or unarmed.

There are many things to consider in putting together a plan, and Nate Granzow says in his blog Formulating a Family Home Defense Plan that sometimes a simple plan is the best plan. Even simple plans need to weigh the costs against the benefits of reacting to dangers – especially for those with small children.

Fred Mastison provides additional detail about a defense plan for your family in his article Home Invasion Defense Plan. He describes how to create and reinforce a safe room for retreat, and how to plan and practice moving through your home to secure loved ones. Mastison also includes ideas for placement and storage of defense items, flashlights, and phones for emergency calls.

Defensive training with your family also instills in them a sense of awareness that they might not otherwise have. While situational awareness may not prevent all attacks from happening, being aware can reduce the chances of an attack. The article Avoidance, Awareness, & Prevention offers a detailed look at how to avoid being a victim in the first place. It's full of tips on keeping yourself out of risky situations, using distance as your friend, and understanding the risk vs. reward mentality.

Teraesa Farrell shares even more tips in her Survival Mom article Self Defense for Women & Kids: Practical tips, smart strategies. Among the many topics discussed are makeshift weapons, getting your children to observe their surroundings and people's appearances and behaviors, and defense tactics for kids that aren't based on their physical strength.

Farrell also discusses the importance of having precise safety rules and instructions. I find being vague with my own kids either causes confusion, or gives them too much leeway. Either of those could be a bad combination when mixed with an already dangerous scenario. Farrell also writes about the importance of teaching children about dangers and self-defense without making it scary or causing them to be too fearful. Farrell further says that having your family prepared means you can live with less fear in life because you have prepared to deal with a potential defense scenario.

Many people say the best defense is a good offense, but successfully avoiding a confrontation is the best defense and most desired outcome. It’s a win if my children come away from the training we do with nothing more than additional awareness, especially since they have the attention span of goldfish at their young ages. However, consistently teaching them these protective exercises will continue to help keep them safer throughout their childhood.

Michelle Courtney is a wife and mother of three, and an IT communications staffing & contract manager. She is an advocate for gun safety, concealed carry, and ongoing firearms training for all aspects of personal and family defense.