Take the Test of Twelve to Help Determine if a Child is Ready to be Alone in Public
Yesterday Levi Aaron was arrested in the kidnapping and murder of 8 year-old Leiby Kletzky. The boy was kidnapped in his Brooklyn, NY neighborhood after losing his way on his seven block walk home. His parents say it was the first time they allowed Leiby to walk home alone.
Click here for the horrific details of the murder.
In his book Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safenotable author, Gavin de Becker has created a Test of Twelve to help determine if a child is old enough to walk home alone.
The Test of Twelve
1. Does the child know how to honor his feelings? If someone makes him uncomfortable, that's an important signal.
2. Are you and the parent strong enough to hear about any experience the child has had, no matter how unpleasant?
3. Does the child know it's okay to rebuff and defy adults?
4. Does the child know it's okay to be assertive?
5. Does the child know how to ask for assistance or help?
6. Does the child know how to choose who to ask? For example, she should look for a woman to help her.
7. Does the child know how to describe his peril?
8. Does the child know it's okay to strike, even to injure, someone if he believes he is in danger, and that you'll support any action he takes as a result of feeling uncomfortable or afraid?
9. Does the child know it's okay to make noise, to scream, to yell, to run?
10. Does the child know that if someone ever tries to force him to go somewhere, what he screams should include, ''This is not my father''? Onlookers seeing a child scream or even struggle are likely to assume the adult is a parent.
11. Does the child know that if someone says, ''Don't yell,'' the thing to do is yell? The corollary is if someone says, ''Don't tell,'' the thing to do is tell.
12. Does the child know to fully resist ever going anywhere out of public view with someone she doesn't know, and particularly to resist going anywhere with someone who tries to persuade her?
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