Every child needs at least four adults in their life that they trust. A child who has this 1 of 4 trust network is less likely to be the target of abusive adults or peers. They also can cope better in tough situations and understand how to stay safe. This can make all the difference. A 1 of 4 adult empowers a child. What does that really mean? “I am 1 of 4” challenges adults to better understand what a trusted adult acts like in the life of a child. This supportive behavior helps with things like keeping a child safe from abuse or handling life’s everyday struggles.
Be 1 of 4.
- Respect a child’s feelings and boundaries. You’re no longer 3 or 15. They may be experiencing things from a very different point of view. Be sensitive and considerate of how they feel and respond accordingly.
- Believe a child when they share feelings, even uncomfortable ones. “I believe you.” It’s that simple. Let them process and just listen. Reassure and encourage. You may not agree with what they are saying. You may not understand. Show them that you believe what they are saying is important. When appropriate, reassure them that the way they feel isn’t their fault.
- Respect a child when they say “No, I don’t want a hug right now” or “no, I don’t want to keep this secret that makes me feel confused or mixed up.” Again, you don’t want to push or make a child feel more uneasy. Let them be in control. Show them you respect and care for them in the ways they are okay with at this point.
- Take action to keep a child safe. Connect the child with a mentor. Spend time with them. Try showing the family other resources available in the community. If abuse is suspected or the child isn’t safe, call the Resource Center, 1-800-383-2988.