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Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) Hardcover – May 18, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; 1 edition (May 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333092
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

More About the Author

Gavin de Becker is a three-time presidential appointee whose pioneering work has changed the way our government evaluates threats to our nation's highest officials. His firm advises many of the world's most prominent media figures, corporations, and law enforcement agencies on predicting violence, and it also serves regular citizens who are victims of domestic abuse and stalking. De Becker has advised the prosecution on major cases, including the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He has testified before many legislative bodies and has successfully proposed new laws to help manage violence.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend parents to read this book.
Pauline
It will scare you to see how much you did NOT know, after you read this book!
paulahpate@aol.com
I love Gavin de Becker's perspective on teaching safety to children.
Joe'sMom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Kym on April 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I hate reading anything that makes me feel anxious and initially this book sat on the shelf for weeks before I actually picked it up. I was so glad I did because there is such valuable information in here and I actually feel better about my child's safety than I did before.
Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe and Parents Sane is about how to teach your child to trust her instincts when it comes to safety. Since 90% of child abuse and abductions occur by people well-known to your child, teaching her to talk to strangers just doesn't work. Instead, the author gives you detailed and logical steps to take, starting as early as toddlerhood, so you'll know how to help your child learn to follow her instincive feelings about whether someone is safe or not.
Crucial information about how to be prepared for (God forbid but we should all be prepared just in case) the event that your child may be seperated from you in public. Examples include making a daily detailed mental note of the clothing your child is wearing, keeping large photocopies of your child's picture and name in your purse/wallet so you can hand them out to security personel within seconds of your child's disappearance and an action plan for immediate implementation.
There is SO much in this book - every bit of it worth reading so you can protect your child - and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Read it NOW and be prepared.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Gavin De Becker's new book is a valuable and important extension of his excellent "The Gift of Fear." I teach high school psychology and had my classes read TGOF, which proved to be an eye-opening, empowering tool for teenagers. "Protecting the Gift" expands on these ideas by specifically focusing on child and teenager safety. While I agree with some minor criticisms that the new book repeats some older material, the repeated material is worth hearing again, and the new book provides the most thoughtful and specific advice I have heard on how to talk to children about self-protection. As I new parent, I am grateful for De Becker's instructions. My own parents are wonderful, but as I suspect is true of the vast majority of families, they never talked to me as a child about how to recognize, prevent, and report sexual abuse--or how to trust my intuition and say no to adults in any number of questionable circumstances. By teaching us how to engage in this dialogue, De Becker is doing the public a great service!
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By C. Stephans VINE VOICE on November 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Thompson on November 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I would like to start off by saying that, had I read just the first couple chapters, I would have given the book one star. I think it's important to read the whole book before reviewing.

There were things I liked about the book, and other things I did not. I will start off with the positives.

The author explains in detail the signs that someone is trying to manipulate you, which can be applied to fraud, sexual predators, kidnappers, etc. They boil down to Forced Teaming, Charm and Niceness, Too Many Details, Typecasting, Loan-Sharking, The Unsolicited Promise, and Discounting the word "No". I won't go through each of these. You'll have to read the book for that.

The author talks about how the "never talk to strangers" rule is harmful to children. He says on p.82, "In addition to the fact that it doesn't work, The Rule actually reduces safety in several ways. One is that within the message Never Talk to Strangers (because they may harm you) is the implication that people you know will not harm you."

He offers really good questions to ask babysitters, nannies, daycare, school, and doctors.

He feels it is very important to teach your child about touch, the body, boundaries, communication, assertiveness, and sovereignty over the body. I was very pleased to see this, as I have always been told that kids who know these things are far less likely to be abused. It concerns me when parents label their child's vulva/vagina "cookie" or something similar. Imagine, "Teacher, Johnny touched my cookie." Doesn't sound very alarming, does it? Replace it with, "Teacher, Johnny touched my vulva." That gets a lot more attention.

He is supportive of victims of sexual abuse. On p.
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