How Safe Hearts Makes Hard Conversations Easier

Good Morning, Kansas City!

Take a moment to think about the five most important women in your life. Now think about this: Statistically speaking, one of those women will be a victim of sexual abuse at some point in her life. It could be your mother, your sister, your best friend, or your child. It could have been you. Among the many roles and responsibilities that we have, as parents, keeping our children safe is among the top. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to having tough conversations with your child. That’s where the new Safe Hearts program from Damsel in Defense comes in.

Safe Hearts

Safe Hearts is a proactive program that helps parents talk through tough conversations with your kids about creating boundaries – and it’s a lot easier than you think. Damsel In Defense, in conjunction with a team of mental health experts and abuse survivors, have come up with a series of colorfully illustrated books to help you introduce these topics to your child. I recently had the opportunity to share the first two stories with my five year old daughter, Charlotte, and found the books to be a really effective way to communicate with her about such an important topic.

As a mom, I always try to balance the line between encouraging Charlotte to view the world from her naturally pure perspective while also helping her to understand that there are tricky people who might not have her best interest at heart. As someone who has been in tricky situations myself, I get the importance of teaching her how to prevent someone from taking advantage of a situation. I found the Safe Hearts books to be really helpful in my mission to help my daughter protect herself. I can rest easier with the confidence that my child can identify tricky situations and that she will know what to do if she encounters one.

The first book, “My Friend’s New Toy” follows the story of Olivia, a little girl who meets a new friend in her neighborhood. While over for a play date, Olivia finds herself in an uncomfortable situation when her new friend tries to encourage her to take off her clothes while playing dolls. The request leaves Olivia feeling unsettled and unsure of how to handle the situation and that’s where the Heart Defenders come in. This team of kids (the Heart Defenders), spanning all ages, help kids to identify when something isn’t right and remove themselves from the situation. The material presents tough topics to children of all ages in a way that isn’t overwhelming for young readers. Charlotte resonated with the Heart Defenders and felt encouraged to defend her own heart after reading the story.

The second book, “Madison’s Big Brother” follows a similar journey for older readers. Isabella, the main character, finds herself in a situation where an older boy that she cares about and trusts tries to force her to kiss him. The Heart Defenders step in to help guide Isabella toward making a safe and sound decision that she can walk away from while feeling proud. I read this book to Charlotte and she understood the storyline, but I definitely think that this book skews towards older readers. All in all, though, both books can be read by children of all ages with their parents. The question prompts at the end of each story help parents and caregivers to reiterate the messaging throughout the books.

Safe Hearts Heart Defenders

The Heart Defender series currently has these two books available with more stories rolling out over the next year or so. I strongly encourage each of you to look into getting these books for your family and sharing them with friends and relatives with children. They also have a parent guide to help you understand each book, suggestions about how to effectively communicate with your children, and the overall goals that you should have going into your conversation.

For more information on the Safe Hearts program or Damsel In Defense, call Mary Hiesberger at (816) 309-3348 or email prepare2prevent1@gmail.com.

From iFamily to yours,

Holli

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