Self-defense involves more than just ourselves. We must accept responsibility for the safety of our loved ones. Just as important, we must make them active participants in their personal protection. Here are some things you can do to make self-defense a family endeavor.
- Small, Consistent Steps: Avoid appearing paranoid or overbearing when discussing self-defense with your loved ones. Prioritize your communication and realize that it is going to take time and patience to educate others. Make sure your message resonates with your audience. For example, it is sometimes hard to get children to remember to lock doors when going outside. However, find something that is important to them like a pet. Let them know that if a door is left unlocked and someone were to enter, it would be an easy way for the pet to get out.
- Articulate Consequences: Remaining diligent is a challenge, especially for children. Help them understand the consequences of not acting responsibly. Again, let’s look at the example of leaving a house unlocked. Ask them how they are going to feel when they wake up to someone hiding in a closet who gained access through the door they left open. Let them know they are endangering not only themselves but their loved ones as well.
- Share Relevant News: News reports of local crime are easy to find on the internet. Share stories in an “enlightening” manner so that your family will know that they are not immune to crime. If you read about a jogger being abducted on a local trail, share the story with the runner in your family.
- Make Training Social: Take a self-defense training course with your family. Training in a group is not only fun, but has the added benefit of exposing you to the experience of others. Search the internet and consider joining a self-defense training group that meets regularly.
- Readiness/Gear Checks: Create some fun with your family. For example, set the rule that if anyone leaves a door unlocked they have to do the dishes for a week. Random gear checks are good as well. If your loved ones carry pepper spray, randomly check to see if they are carrying it. Makes consequences so that they are realistic and sustainable over time.
Good situational awareness and a self-defense mindset do not require overwhelming time or effort. Let your family know that self-defense is a team effort. With a little creativity, getting your family involved will be fun and most importantly, beneficial to the safety of all.