6 Ways for Your Child to Know if Someone is a Trustable Adult
To identify adults to add to their safety circle, it’s important for a child (and their caretaker!) to understand the characteristics of trusted adults.
Trusted adults are:
Respectful. They talk and act towards the child in a way that shows they care. They take the time to listen and understand what the child is saying. They also respect the child’s boundaries - they do not push for physical affection, and they give the child time to warm up to them without pressure.
Non-judgmental. They do not judge the child based on their appearance, race, heritage, or background. They are empathetic and strive to understand why the child behaves in a certain way.
Accountable. They do not make excuses for their actions. They try to understand and take responsibility for any negative impacts their actions might have, and do better in the future.
Trustworthy. They keep vulnerable and sensitive information about others confidential. They prioritize the physical safety and emotional well-being of the child, and the child feels comfortable confiding in them.
Helpful. They provide guidance and help the child develop next steps to work through problems. They may also act as a sounding post, and just listen to the child, allowing the child to work through their issues rather than providing solutions.
Thoughtful. They are mindful of the child’s needs, and understand how to respond to the child’s behaviors based on those needs. They pay attention to what the child likes and dislikes, and act accordingly.
Finally, trusted adults are people who a child feels comfortable talking to about uncomfortable things.
[Adapted primarily from https://youthsmart.ca/how-to-identify-trusted-adults/]