Parents: Begin Teaching Your Kids the ABCs of FAST Defense

by Kathy Marlor

In February, 2015, I had the pleasure of being invited to film a segment on  WTSP Channel 10 News with  Anchor Dion Lim to share information on the ABCs of F.A.S.T. Defense for children and what parents can  teach or reinforce to their children to help prevent child abductions and so they can stay safer when out and about.

The ABCs of F.A.S.T. Defense for children are made up of: 

  • A=Awareness
  • B=Boundaries
  • C=Core Confidence and Combat if Necessary

Parents can teach their children basic awareness and to use confident body language and pay attention to their surroundings. Making discussions playful and turning them into games can help children learn and at the same time, enjoy the interaction while gaining valuable information.

Here are a few basic awareness discussions to have with your kids:

Dangerous Strangers Look Like?

Ask your child what they think a dangerous stranger looks like and “act out” what they describe. (The 4-6 year old group will generally say things like: They have a black hat and coat or look mean.) This gives you the opportunity to find out what they are thinking, keep their attention by acting it out and in turn, let them know that most people are good and would never want to harm them, however, the ones that are bad look just like everyone else.

Weak vs. Confident Body Language

Predators just like bullies, prefer to target those that appear weaker and as if they would not fight back. Ask your child what someone who lacks confidence might look like. Pose yourself using the suggestions that they give you. You may hear that they look at the ground-so look down; Your child may say that they speak in a very soft voice-so do that; Really ham it up and have fun. Once they have given you suggestions, ask them how a confident person would stand and act it out as well. Hopefully, you can guide them into mentioning eye contact, good posture, confident tone of voice, etc.

The Distancing Game 

You can help your child become aware of the distance that they should stay away from someone they don’t know by playing this simply game. First, stand almost nose-to-nose with your child facing each other. Then ask them to take four big steps backwards and away from you. From this distance, you should not be able to easily move forwards to reach them. This is the distance, that they should try to keep someone who they don’t know away from them where you are not around.

These are just a few ways that you, as a parent can help share awareness skills with your child. A quick tip is if your child isn’t in the mood, or is resistant- don’t push them too much; just try again another day. If it’s fun, it’s likely that they will want to play along and keeping it “light” is important. There is much more to teach your child, but this is a great start on opening the door to tactful, playful conversations that could save their lives.

I offer anti-abduction and Stop Bullies Fast seminars, home parties, group events and more in the Tampa Bay, FL area. Please contact to host or sponsor an event.

See the WTSP Channel 10 News Story on Self Defense For Kids that aired several times in February 2015.