May 28

Book Review: Protecting the Gift

Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe by Gavin de Becker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I bought this book based on how valuable and life-changing Gift of Fear was. I figured it would be a great alternative to constantly nagging my girls to read Gift of Fear for themselves.

Unlike Gift of Fear, which was sort of a warning/empowering book in the same nature as “how to survive disasters” is, this book is kind of in the nature of “why you are an utter failure as a parent and when your baby gets abused or your teen gets molested it will be your fault for trusting too much.” At least, that’s how it felt to me. Like, “when you choose a day care, make sure you do some background research to find out if their credentials are faked” and “don’t trust recommendations, do your own research.”

But there is some good advice in this book, counter-intuitive advice, such as “teach your children how to talk to strangers so that if they get in trouble they can seek help instead of waiting for help.” He also gives you the advice to only ask for help, don’t accept unsolicited help, which is a piece of advice I got for women travelling alone, basically “only trust people you approach, don’t trust those who approach you” because your chances of randomly selecting a terrible person are far less than being approached by someone who means to prey upon you.

I also thnk that some of his attitudes are a little bit reactionary. Making sure your child goes to a school that has a good gun policy is like making sure the hotel you stay at is earthquake proof. Yes, disasters happen, but the odds are probably not strong. His advice about “keep guns locked away from children, or better yet, don’t have guns” is pretty good advice, but I think the kind of people who give their elementary-school child a gun are probably not the kind of people who read a book like this.

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