Protecting the Gift

Protecting the Gift
Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (And Parents Sane)
Gavin de Becker
The Dial Press, a division of Random House
Available for purchase online at

About this Book

"I commit that by the end of this book, you'll know more and be uncertain less; see more and deny less, accept more and hesitate less; act more and worry less. How can I be so sure? Because if nature selected you for the job of protecting a child, odds are you're up to it."--Gavin de Becker

In his groundbreaking bestseller "The Gift of Fear", Gavin de Becker showed millions of readers that like every creature on earth, human beings can predict violent behavior. Now, in "Protecting the Gift", de Becker empowers parents to trust fully their own intuition when it comes to their children's safety.

In this indispensable resource, de Becker provides keen insights into the behavior and strategies of predators. He offers practical new steps to enhance children's safety at every age level: specific questions parents can ask to screen effectively and evaluate baby-sitters, day-care services, schools, and doctors; a "Test of Twelve" safety skills children need before being alone in public; warning signs to help parents protect children from sexual abuse; and how to keep teenage girls and boys from unsafe situations with peers and adults. De Becker also shatters the myth that rules like Never Talk to Strangers will keep your children safe. By showing what danger really looks like--as opposed to what we might imagine it looks like--de Becker gives parents freedom from many common worries and unwarranted fears.


All parents face the same challenges when it comes to their children's safety: whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear. De Becker helps parents find some certainty about life's highest-stakes questions:

  • How can I know a baby-sitter won't turn out to be someone who harms my child?
  • What should I ask child-care professionals when I interview them?
  • What's the best way to prepare my child for walking to school alone?
  • How can my child be safer at school?
  • How can I spot sexual predators?
  • What should I do if my child is lost in public?
  • How can I teach my child about risk without causing too much fear?
  • What must my teenage daughter know in order to be safe?
  • What must my teenage son know in order to be safe?
  • And finally, in the face of all these questions, how can I reduce the worrying?

A generation ago, in "Baby and Child Care", Dr. Benjamin Spock told parents that they already possessed most of the important knowledge about their children's health. Similarly, when it comes to predicting violence and protecting children, de Becker demonstrates that you already know most of what you need to know-- parents have, he says, "the wisdom of the species."

"Gavin de Becker has done it again--this time for kids. "Protecting the Gift" provides practical solutions to keeping youngsters safe from the day-to-day violence that threatens their world. De Becker is truly a modern-day knight --a good guy who shares his intuitive and intellectual armor with us all. A brilliant lesson plan in prevention." --Ken Wooden, leading child advocate and author of "

Child Lures"


Author Biography
Bestselling author Gavin de Becker is America's leading expert on predicting violent behavior. Advising such clients as the C.I.A. and the United States Supreme Court, this three-time presidential appointee has changed the way the United States government protects its highest officials. He is the co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and co-founder of Victory Over Violence, an organization that assists battered women and their children.

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