Give them a break. Give them the skills they need. Give them permission to lie.
Sounds dangerous, doesn't it? Yes, that's because it is.
I asked him why he didn't scream at the moment the man was taking him. His answer? "I was inside a store. I had to use my inside voice.".
He had never been given permission to fight for his life. Scream, destroy property, hit an adult. He had no idea. Sheer luck and bystanders willing to intervene saved his life.
That brings us back to the idea of a rip cord for your kids. You need to teach them when and when to pull it and how to ride the parachute to safety.
What they need most from you is permission to use lies to protect themselves, all parts of themselves--their physical safety, their moral and spiritual values and the family culture. No easy task, but it is your primary responsibility. Nature says so. Don't argue with the Mother.
One girl shared that she was at a party and everyone was drunk or stoned and "suddenly", she realized that she was the only female there. It was beginning to feel dangerous. At an opportune moment, she put her finger down her throat and vomited on several of the guys. They withdrew in horror. Yep, that's about right. She ran out, wretching and gagging as if she was going to hurl again. She found her way to safety. Problem solved.
Find out what your teenager wants to avoid and help them to develop their escape plan.
Now, they're gonna balk at this. They want to appear fearless. But they "don't know what they don't know", so you'll give them ideas anyway. They'll get the point. What is important is that they know you give them permission to keep themselves safe using whatever acting skills and "sorcery" they can conjure up when they need it.
At the very least, have a "code" just as this father and his son developed in order to create the rouse that allowed the kid to escape. You want a plan that even Houdini would admire.
You'll have this conversation many times. They won't hear it #1-#99, but by #100, it will be "internalized" and automatic. You've heard soldiers, police officers and first responders of all stripes say that they did what they did because of their training. Yep, it's like that.
Oh, and make it perfectly clear that they're not to use these skills in their family relationships. The culture of your family is one of honesty and commitment. None of their sorcery is to be used at home.
Just do the best you can.
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