Your Safety pt. 1 • ep. 103

A tween or teen girl with light tan skin and long brown hair wearing a pink headband and dress stands in front of a light pink background with a serious expression and her arm extended in front of her and her hand signaling stop.

Safety First

When you hear the word “safety” what comes to mind? Maybe look both ways before crossing the street or don’t play with fire. Those are good safety tips, and I want to add to your safety tool box because I know what it’s like to be in an unsafe situation and NOT know what to do, and that can feel scary. My hope is that by talking about these other safety tips, you can feel more capable because you’ll have learned what to do. So here’s the first safety tip:

Safe Person Code Word

This is something I learned about several years ago and set up with my family. The idea is, together your family chooses a code word–it could be an object like “Stapler” or a food like “Oatmeal.” Together your family chooses the Safe Person Code Word that only your family knows–you don’t share it with your friends, talk about it in public, or post about it online. The way you use it is, say your parents normally pick you up from practice, but if they suddenly had to change plans and weren’t able to tell you, they arrange for someone else to pick you up, your parents would share the Safe Person Code Word with that person. When that person shows up to give you a ride, you’d ask them for the Safe Person Code Word. If they tell you the right word, you’ll know your parents okayed that person. If the person says they forgot it or your mom was in too much of a rush to tell them the word, you don’t go with them. The rule still is you get a ride from someone who knows the Safe Person Code Word. If your family doesn’t yet have this set up, suggest it at dinner tonight.

Come Get Me Now Code Word

The next safety tip is another helpful code word: the Come Get Me Now Code Word. Again together your family chooses a code word for this, a different random word. In fact, if it’s a word that’s also an emoji when you text, even better–like “Garlic” or “Paperclip.” The way you use it is, if you are ever in a situation–like you’re having a late-over with friends, you’re at a party, even a family reunion–wherever you’re at, if someone starts doing or saying or watching anything that makes you feel unsafe or really gross inside, or for whatever reason alarms are going off in your head, you can use this code word to signal your parents “Come Get Me Now” without making it obvious to anyone else. You can simply text them the code word or its emoji, or you can call them and say, “Hey Dad, yeah we’re just hanging out. Oooh could you save me a piece of Garlic bread from last night?” or “Hey Mom, I just remembered I need more Paper Clips for my class project.” The Come Get Me Now Code Word would signal to your parents that you need help, and then your parents would respond that they have to come get you right now or you have to leave, they can make up a reason or just say that. When you tell your friends you have to go, you can blame it on your parents, “Gosh they’re so cringe,” and save face with your friends, and most importantly you can feel safe. I also set this up with my family and it’s given us peace of mind that there’s a plan in place just in case.

Strangers vs. Tricky People

Now the next safety tip is about strangers. When I was growing up, I was taught “don’t talk to strangers” and “stranger danger” and that strangers looked like bad guys from old cartoons. But that’s not usually what they look like, and let’s be honest–we talk to strangers all the time and are told to be nice to store employees and people on planes, you know? So I’m glad that recently the conversation has shifted to teach kids about tricky people. Tricky people can be strangers or can be someone you know. They are usually really friendly and likable. They make you feel special and needed. And so far this all sounds fine. But here’s where the tricky part comes in. Tricky people will lie to you and ask you to lie. They’ll entice you with gifts or candy or puppies or something you want. They’ll try to separate you from people or friends/family to get you alone with them. They’ll ask you to keep secrets. They’ll say you’ll get in trouble or others will get hurt if you tell anyone what they’re doing. While it might be hard to tell if someone is a tricky person, you already have a great sense within you that can be your guide. I mentioned it before, it’s the alarms going off in your head, or your gut feeling where you feel gross, or you can just tell something’s not right. This is your intuition, it’s like a sixth sense really, and you can trust it when it tells you you’re unsafe and to get out and get help. Follow your instincts. Follow your intuition. Because your safety is number one. Your safety is more important than how somebody feels, especially if it’s a tricky person.

My Experience with a Tricky Person

My final safety tip stems from an experience I had one evening when I was a young tween. I was in a bookstore with my mom, she wanted to find a certain book so I told her I was going to look for a book series in the kids’ section. While I walked down the aisle and scanned the book titles, in my peripheral vision I noticed a man was in the aisle too. I didn’t think much of it, and I turned the corner into the next aisle, trying to find this book series. The man followed me, and no one else was nearby. I finally looked at the man, and immediately I felt scared and completely icky inside. I darted in the other direction, didn’t say a word but frantically searched for my mom. I was so relieved when I found her, I told her what happened, but by then the man had left the store so security didn’t catch him. And what happened is not my fault, but I do wish I had known what to do in that situation so he could’ve been caught and couldn’t scare any other kids.

What To Do About a Tricky Person

Society sometimes tells girls to be mild and gentle, not make a fuss or draw attention to themselves. But if a tricky person ever does something inappropriate in front of you, attempts to lure you away from a people, or tries to force you in any way, you have my permission to yell, scream, make the biggest scene and draw attention to yourself so people hear you and can help you get safe, and hopefully catch whoever it was. You can shout, “Stop! Get away from me!” or just “Help!” You can yell out what the person is doing or what they look like. Your safety is the most important thing, so whatever you need to do to get safe, do it.

Now You’re More Aware

The great majority of people in the world are good. And there are some tricky people out there. I’m not saying don’t trust anyone and I’m not trying to make you scare, quite the opposite–now that you’re more aware and know these tips, you can feel reassured and more safe because have specific ideas of what you can do. I titled this episode, Your Safety pt. one because I plan on talking about your safety again, specifically online safety.

I want to thank the parent listener who emailed this topic suggestion. This is an important conversation to have, and sometimes parents don’t know how to bring it up, so that’s why I want to share it with you girls, and if you want you girls can share it with your parents.


If you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to .

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