Dr. Missy Gryder serves as the Founder of Meeting Kids’ Needs and is responsible for creating the learning activities provided for children and parents.

464: Relisten: How to Teach Body Safety (385)

Dr. Missy Gryder

How do we talk to our kids about body safety?

It’s not easy! Oftentimes, we can miss out on these most important of conversations because they are so difficult.

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Dr. Missy Gryder who developed the Body Safety Box.

Hear her talk about the importance of this and how it might be the number one most important thing you ever do for your child’s safety. 

Relisten: How to Teach Body Safety (385) [464]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: Hey there, it's Hunter, and welcome to Throwback Thursday. Most Thursdays, we are going to re release one of my favorite episodes from the archives. So unless you're a longtime listener of the show, there's a good chance you haven't heard this one yet. And even if you had, chances are that you are going to get something new listening to it this time around.

[00:00:18] Missy Gryder: Child abuse, particularly childhood sexual abuse is such a sensitive topic. It's such a disturbing topic that as parents, I think we often aren't sure how to best approach it with our kids.
[00:00:36] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama Podcast, episode number 385. Today we're talking about how to teach body safety with Dr. Missy.
Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.
I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20. I'm the creator of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the best selling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and raising Kind Confident Kids. Welcome back to the Mindful Mama podcast. So glad you are here.
Listen, if you haven't done so yet, please hit that subscribe button so you don't miss any episodes. And if you get some value from the podcast, please go over to Spotify or Apple Podcast, wherever you listen, and leave us a rating in review. It just helps the podcast grow more and takes 30 seconds, and I hugely appreciate it.
In just a moment, I'm going to be talking to Dr. Missy Greider, who serves as the founder of Meeting Kids Needs and is responsible for creating the learning activities provided for children and parents, and the body safety box, which is what we're gonna talk about today. I have to give you a warning.
We're gonna be talking about abuse and its consequences. So if you are triggered by this or if you have small children around who worry, you don't want them to hear things about this except in a more controlled environment, then. That's what we're gonna be talking about is some of that. So there's your trigger warning.
But listen, this is so important because it's not easy to talk about body safety, right? And because it's so difficult, we can miss out on these important conversations. And that's why I'm really excited to introduce you to Dr. Missy who developed the body safety box, because you're gonna hear about how important this is and how really this body safety box makes it so much easier, and it might be really the number one most important thing you'll honestly ever do for your child's safety.
So it's so vital. So join me at the table as I talk to Dr. Missy Gryder.
Missy, thanks so much for coming on the Mindful Mama
[00:02:49] Missy Gryder: Podcast. Thank you so much for having me, hunter. I'm so glad to be here today.
[00:02:53] Hunter: Okay I'm looking forward to talking to you because you created something called the Body Safety Box, and I want you to tell
[00:03:01] Missy Gryder: us what that is. Yes, I would love to share that with you.
Thank you. So the Body safety box is a child abuse prevention educational kit that I designed to help protect elementary school children from childhood physical and sexual abuse. There is one box that is made for kids ages five to eight, and the second box that's made for kids ages nine to 12 for our tween crowd.
So child abuse prevention, child abuse, particularly childhood sexual abuse is such a sensitive topic. It's such a disturbing topic that as parents, I think we often aren't sure how to best approach it with our kids. So we often don't have the conversations that we really want to have because we just don't want to get it.
Doesn't that make sense? And doesn't that just, yeah. Yeah. Sound like so many of us as parents, so yet an informed child hunter is a better protected child. So the body safety box gives parents all they need to make tough conversations easy. The body safety box contains all the language Parents need to teach their kids refusal skills and reporting skills in ways that are kid friendly, age appropriate and developmentally appropriate, and the lessons inside the body safety box are actually scripted, so there's no guesswork needed for parents. Okay, cool.
[00:04:17] Hunter: So if we are, we should all be concerned about this Sure. About kids bodily autonomy, helping them to have a sense of their own bodily autonomy.
Yes. But if we're feeling like, I just don't know what to say, it's so awkward. I don't know how to start. The body safety box is there to walk you through step-by-step. It's almost like a curriculum for parents. Absolutely. Yes. To, for bodily
[00:04:43] Missy Gryder: autonomy, right? Yes. And body safety, particularly for abuse prevention.
[00:04:48] Hunter: Okay, cool. What are some of the things that, how does it start? How, what does it
[00:04:53] Missy Gryder: walk you through? Sure. How about if I start a little bit with just the prevalence of abuse and how, how much it's out there, just to set the stage for that, does that make.
[00:05:02] Hunter: Sure. Yeah. I think that's incredibly important to talk about.
Sure. As parents, we need to be aware that abuse is everywhere across all demographic boundaries. And we'd like to think that, there's this false sense of safety where we can gated community our way out of it. , and unfortunately that's just not the case. And the statistics are really, they're truly staggering.
[00:05:22] Missy Gryder: So keep in mind that abuse is under. And so it's hard to really, truly get accurate numbers, but the most recent numbers I've seen in the research are one in four girls and one in 13 boys will experience contact sexual abuse before turning 18. So that's actually being touched. That's not just, seeing an inappropriate image and things like that.
That's contact sexual abuse. Wow. And that's a. So the median age of childhood sexual abuse is only nine years old. Huh? So what that means statistically, you know that median word in statistical language. So 50% of the time that it, that abuse is going to occur to a child, it happens to children under nine years of age.
Huh? Just incredibly young. So that's a fourth grader, so half of the time it's happening. under, under that. And then 50% of the time it happens to children over age nine. So between ages nine and 18. So picture your child's classroom, at age nine, a fourth grade classroom, whether your child is in fourth grade or younger or older.
Just picture that fourth grade classroom of 30 kids. So what those numbers tell us, hunter, is that two of the boys and seven of the girls will experience abuse before turning 18. Ugh. And half of, and for half of those kids, they already. They already have. Oh. So just staggering. It's so disturbing.
It's, no one wants to think about it. I don't wanna think about it. It's not part of my story and I still don't wanna think about it. But we have to, if we're gonna prevent it. And our kids deserve just our very best efforts at prevention. So another thing too, I'm full blown and middle age by now, and I, don't know your age, but for us, in, in my day it wasn't really even instruction, but we just learned stranger danger.
I don't know if that was something, that came up. Yeah. So Stranger danger, that's what everybody thought, but which is
[00:07:12] Hunter: not true. It's complete BS . It's so frustrating. It's
[00:07:16] Missy Gryder: not true at all. It's complete BS . Yes. So it's really the latest statistic, and again, it's so hard. Really close stats on this because it's so under reported, but over 91% of children know of their abuse.
So it's known for sin danger. It is known for sin danger. We need to think about as moms who has access to our kids who has access, and this is scary, but who sets up some type of pattern of interaction where you as a parent falsely trust this person? , people who are relatives, distant relatives, people who are, who position themselves as family, friends, coaches, people at friends homes greatly minimizing or eliminating the one adult to one child interaction, right?
That's been shown in the literature as a protective factor. And also, and bear with me, this stuff is disturbing to hear. It's disturbing for me to think about, but we, for all of us to think about, but we've got. In order to best protect our children. So a top perpetrator statistically is a male in a relationship with a single mom.
Hello. So think access to a kid. Think that perpetrator is finding somebody with kids that he's got access to. . Another thing, hunter is older kid to younger kid, abuse is common. , so think about just that little power differential between an older kid and a younger kid. That's also common.
And this was so upsetting for me as I was, researching and writing the lessons in the body safety box. Kids who have special needs and who have challenges with communi. So think about it. , they're, they have challenges with communications. It's more difficult for them to tell and to report.
Those kids are more at risk. So another thing to really be aware of, which is just deeply upsetting. And also another statistic is less than 10% of kids tell. And oftentimes when a kid does tell the one adult, they do tell, doesn't help.
[00:09:15] Hunter: This is amazing. My daughters are in they're in an all girls Boy Scout troop, listener.
You've heard me say that so many times. Ah-huh. . They, which, of course the scouts as an organization had a big, had big lawsuits and challenges with abuse and Yes. And I had to be able to again, seek access. Think, access,
[00:09:35] Hunter: access, yeah, exactly. So I to, so they've they've gone through a whole organizational turnaround with that and to, for me to be able to join them on a scout troop.
Yes. I had to go through a training right about this Where they talk about the completely, it's completely un allowed to have any kind of one adult to one child. Yes. Thing. They won't even let an older, they won't let older scouts bunk with younger scouts. Yes. If there's more than a two year age difference.
All of these things that you're saying they have served protocols in place now to really help with those. Yes. Cuz of course, there's. Tragic history that is a facilitated shouldn't for that. But as I went through this training, which was like, it just made me cry. It was terrible.
But I was thinking about how many organizations are out there with kids doing things and all kinds of organizations with kids and adults and things like that, and organize activities and things that are not, that don't have any of this kind of protocol. Like they, they can't even make a phone call like an adult can't make a phone call directly to a scout, like they have to have another.
Adults or another scout. You know how there has to, there's never that one-on-one thing. But it just made me think about these protocols that they're not very widely, they're not adapted or known, are they? They're not.
[00:11:06] Missy Gryder: And they need to be. And even too, I'm thinking about even fingerprint cards.
Yes, hallelujah. We've gotta have the fingerprint cards. But it doesn't mean that a fingerprint card is necessarily a safe. It might've not been reported, there's just so many factors to keep in mind. And it's us as moms, as child advocates, really advocating for these things happening in the programming that our children are in.
And advocating not only for our own children, but our children's peer group, and that's how things are gonna really change.
[00:11:42] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.
So this is not taught in school. What are they teaching kids in school that might be something that could be preventing abuse? Are they doing anything in school?
[00:11:59] Missy Gryder: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Erin Marin she has a, she's a fantastic woman. She is a social worker now. She's a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and she has single-handedly put legislation.
37 states to Wow. But it doesn't mean it's happening. So the legislation is there, but it doesn't mean it's happening. So that would be something that parents can do is go to aarons law.org, see if your state is a state where you know the law, the legislation has been passed, and then it's a matter of getting in touch with your principal, seeing if there's an evidence based, which means we have evidence knowing that the program works, such as the body safety.
Erin Marin. Marin has graciously herself written a testimonial for the body safety box, making sure that instruction is in place and that it's actually happening. And Erin's story, and she says it so eloquently that here she was as a kid going through these horrific things and she's we were at school doing fire drills.
We were doing bus drills. Great, let's do 'em. But let's look at the prevalence of that versus abuse that's happening to every, that's happening to the kids in every classroom. Statistically, at some point you. the
[00:13:08] Hunter:  This is number one danger.
[00:13:10] Missy Gryder: To kids. It's a huge danger to kids. It's absolutely huge. And, this study is starting to get more mainstream.
Have you heard of the ACE study, ACE Adverse Childhood Experiences
[00:13:20] Hunter: Story? Yeah. The Child Adverse yes,
[00:13:23] Missy Gryder: Yes. I'd love to share with your dear listeners some of that. Does that sound okay? Yes, please. Yes. Okay. So the ACE study is the Adverse Childhood Experience Study, and I'm so glad that it's finally, getting more out there.
More folks are hearing about it. So it's a huge landmark study with over 17,000 adult participants. So in the world of research, that is a massive sample size. So there were 10 adverse childhood experiences that participants were asked if they experienced as kids. So these include to name a few experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect.
So we're talking about a abuse today in interestingly, witnessing violence in the. that can impact you as much as actually experiencing it. So a child who sees a mom in a domestically violent situation witnessing violence in the home or the community. So as we're thinking about all our kids, the, with the school shootings, what about all those kids, the precious kids who we've lost, and then the precious kids who were in that school, the hundreds of thousands of kids, Columbine happened early in my teaching career.
All those shootings since then. That's obviously a trauma in that school and all those kids that have experienced that. The hundreds of thousands of kids separation or divorce of your parents having a family member attempt or die by suicide, having an incarcerated parent, substance abuse problems in the home, or mental health problems in the home that people grew up in.
So think about how many people grew up in an alcoholic home or where there was an anxious or depressed. How many people grew up in a divorce home? Those are adverse childhood experiences, not just childhood, sexual and physical abuse, which we're talking about today. So this. looked at primarily college educated, white, middle class Americans.
People we don't think of typically that have the added challenges of poverty or of being economically disadvantaged. So this is, privileged dish people. , and the numbers are still huge. So 61% of those adults in that demographic surveyed across 25 states had experienced at least one.
So that's, the majority of people have experienced at least one of those, traumatic experiences and nearly one in six had experienced four or more ACEs and four or more of those. That's huge. So let's just. Name four of them. So we've got a mentally apparent with some mental illness challenges.
Some substance abuse is experienced childhood sexual abuse yourself or someone incarcerated. So that's one in six people have had four or more. Wow. And that's just massive. just massive. . So here in Phoenix, in my home city, I participated for many years in a trauma sensitive school's work group with other professionals across many disciplines.
Trying to help, how do we support our kids who have experienced trauma? How can we make our schools more supportive for these precious children in our care? And we talked about how children here in our state, children with five or more ACEs could fill our professional football. And ACEs what the study shows.
What the ACE study shows is that ACEs are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including obesity, heart disease. Lung disease, depression, substance abuse, ACEs can also negatively impact educational attainment, job opportunities, and earning potential across a person's lifespan. And as a teacher, the implications for teaching and learning for our kids.
Are just huge. So we think about, the protection and love and care of children that are experiencing these adverse events are so deeply deserving of, and how often these are the kids. And think about visiting your child's classroom. You're looking at that kid who you think needs discipline or is acting out or whatever.
And what if the root cause is something as insidious as. And thinking back to your episodes with Dr. Mona Del Hook. With Dr. Lisa Feldman, Barrett. , all the bodily activation, all of the, all of those things that are happening. It's let's get down a look at root causes.
Instead of looking at how this kid is acting, it's what are this, what does this child's, what does this child need? Yeah. What is going on in this child's life? How can we be a protector and an advocate for this child instead of seeing this kid as a behavior? You know when they're a human being, that is.
[00:17:49] Hunter: Oh, just to remind the listener, you know that, as we talked about with Mona Del Houk, and we know that the stress response in the body is fight, flight, or freeze.
And for kids, yes. Fight, flight, or freeze. Can look like pushing. Sure. Spitting. Sure. Kicking, sure. Fighting, trying to get away. Yes. All of those things yelling. That, that is all, can be those behaviors Absolutely are not, when we can look underneath it, we can say, oh, okay.
And a lot of ways that, that's probably that. Most likely is a stress response. That is a nervous system for sure. Feeling threatened and a stress response just as we don't make a conscious choice to yell. , it's a, it may be something that is happening because we feel stressed and threatened.
[00:18:41] Missy Gryder: Or we're at capacity as
[00:18:42] Hunter: adults. Yeah. Yeah. And we have a full, and we have a fully developed brain, right? Yes. So when we look at kids, That, that, we can see a lot of those behaviors. We can say, okay, that's a stress response. And it goes back to the kind of that old, there's a saying like, kids who are acting badly or feeling badly.
Yes. The people who are acting badly are feeling badly. Yes. And you can hear from Missy what she's saying about how prevalent these adverse childhood experiences are. Yes. And how these things, I imagine as you were listening to your listener to that list, you may recognize, oh, I had a parent who had mental health issues.
Sure. And that's contributed maybe to my obesity. Like we can understand those things, how they're, sure. How they're connected. And so this is an invitation to really look at underneath what are the causes and how can we address these root posts?
[00:19:35] Missy Gryder: Oh, absolutely. And I, we talk about in teaching, we hope to, I try to, looking at why behind the behavior. And I know some of your other, guests that are professionals in the field talk about looking at the underneath the iceberg and it's, what is that why behind. Children's behavior. Another question too, a really quality question is what happened to you? So what happened to this child or what happened to you as an adult, as a mom, Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry have had the privilege of listening to Dr. Bruce Perry, MD and PhD. He's both kinds of doctor, he's a foremost researcher in child maltreatment and it, they have co-written a book by that name, what happened to you? So really looking at. ACEs, the ACE study is mentioned and the results of this and how we can also get healing, if we've experienced these things as children and we've addressed, ACEs generally, and I wanted to share too, just some facts specific to childhood sexual abuse, which the body safety box is designed to help prevent.
So experiencing in particular childhood sexual abuse can affect how a person thinks. Acts and feels over a lifetime, and this can result in short and long-term physical, mental, and behavioral health consequences. And some of these are specific to ACEs two. Other ACEs two, heart disease, obesity, cancer, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Substance use increased risk for suicide attempts. Females exposed to child sexual abuse are between two and 13 times at an increased risk of sexual violence victimization in adulthood. We can really be setting kids up if we're not helping. First of all with primary prevention to try to prevent abuse in the first place.
And also with secondary prevention. If we know a child has experienced some sexual abuse, we can use the body safety box as a secondary prevention tool as well, which is really important too. And of course, the human risk is what ma, the human cost. Human suffering is what matters the most, and yet there's also a monetary cost as well.
The cost per child is over $830,000 over a lifetime for non-fatal child maltreatment. So $830,000. So as somebody who is a child advocate who's done this work for a very long time, sometimes some of the pushback is, oh, we don't have the money. It's you don't have $60 for prevention for a body safety box when it's $830,000 and all the human suffering for one child.
And then in the United States, the total lifetime economic burden of childhood sexual abuse. And this is the most recent stat we have, which is 2015. It's, but. The closest we have was estimated to be at least 9.3 billion. Okay, so inside the boxes. Tell us again what is inside the box. We open it up, there's And what do we find if say, I have a seven year old.
Yes. Yes. So you've got a seven year old. You open up the body safety box and the first two lessons. So there are seven lessons for your kids, so for your seven-year-old. So the first two lessons are social and emotional learning lessons, and these are foundational lessons before directly teaching the body safety.
Direct rules and these help our kids to help begin to build a solid sense of worth and identity, cuz that's really foundational to, to abuse. And sometimes I think we can miss that and think, oh, let's just get into body safety rules themselves. But we really wanna help the child develop a sense of their worth, their identity, their dignity.
So we start with kids making an inside, an outside self-portrait where they reflect on all of the great character qualities they have. And it also reinforces a positive body image for kids on the outside. So we're teaching kids how special they are, how worthy they are, and this is framed artwork that kids hang in their rooms.
And I suggest in the direction sheets that kids hang it next to their light switch. So they're really actively seeing it repeatedly. And this helps create positive messages in kids' brains. So neurologically, they're seeing over and over again these positive qualities about themselves, seeing how special their bodies are on the outside, seeing how special their qualities are on the inside.
And I had seen one study Hunter, Where, and this was upsetting where the typical adult tells themself 300 negative messages a day about themself. It's incredible. It's incredible. Like how are you getting anything done if you're thinking all the of these negative things about yourself. So how could we set our kids up for a different, better, healthy, positive, narrative about themselves.
And we want to prevent even that awful messaging and help our kids build a more positive story about themselves. So next we give our kids a foundational emotional vocabulary. Dr. Brene Brown's research. I love her work. She's positively impacted me so much, and her work teaches us that a typical adult knows only three emotional vocabulary words, and those are happy, sad, and angry.
Yet we want to introduce our kids to at least 30 emotional vocabulary words, just depending on their age and where they are individually. So this is really setting kids up for so many good things, relationally, being able to recognize and label their feelings, being able to start to emotionally regulate, being able to connect with others and related to abuse.
Being able to trust the extremely uncomfortable and confusing feelings. Surrounding abuse and being able to keep telling adults until they get help. So that's really where the emotional part comes into prevention. So in those first two lessons with your seven-year-old, we've given kids a foundation for I am special and my feelings are special.
And then we get into, my body is special and we teach kids two specific body safety rules in the next lesson. So we teach kids their first body safety. No one can hurt my body. And that's the physical abuse prevention piece. We teach it with words, a child made drawing, which is a little poster and a movement, which is really in line with brain-based learning.
The body safety box is really active and engaging on purpose and a boring worksheet, and the Charlie Brown teacher, it's just not gonna work. So we wanna make sure that we're giving our kids just really high quality instruction. Kids make puppets. They make actual pillow cases where when they lay their head on their pillow at night, they can say to themselves how special their body is and no one can hurt my body.
Kids love it. I love how engaging it is for kids and how. They're setting themselves up for positive things. Great neural messaging that's creating positive messaging in their brains.
[00:26:21] Hunter: And that's pretty unusual though. I love the idea of a pillowcase, cuz that's not Yes. A typical childhood craft. It is , not something boring they've done before.
It's something new for sure. And it's is something that is intimate and close to them.
[00:26:37] Missy Gryder: That's absolutely. Thank you. Thank you. And especially too, I've done a lot of work with kids in, economically disadvantaged areas and they are thrilled to get a. Pillowcase and it's really beautiful.
So I love that too. Thank you. We then teach kids their second body safety rule, which is, no one can touch my private parts. And these are defined as the parts of kids' bodies that are covered by their swimsuits. So again, they look at a little poster with a child made drawing of a little boy with his boy swimsuit on a little girl with her girl swimsuit on.
They learn that rule. We have movements for it. We put it together with a song. I had observed another program. In a classroom, another prevention program where it was a second, ironically, as we're talking about seven-year-olds, it was a second grade, seven-year-old classroom where kids are, seven and eight, and the term sexual abuse was used.
And I thought, I don't want my seven-year-old to hear. Sexual and abuse put together when they're that little. I just don't want that. So I per very purposely when I created the body safety box.
[00:27:41] Hunter: Yeah. Because you don't want them putting those words together. You want them to have healthy sexuality later, as well.
[00:27:47] Missy Gryder: Exactly. Exactly. So at such a young age. Yeah. So I'm there, thinking let's create the most age appropriate, kid friendly, developmentally appropriate language that no one can touch. My private. These are the parts of my body that are covered by my swimsuit. Yeah, and that's appropriate for all kids.
Another thing I wanted to put out there too, for your dear listeners, is I had heard from American Academy of Pediatrics, they recommend that adults start teaching their kids as early as age two body safety information. So that's so important. Really, as early as age two, we can start teaching our kids that, no one could touch these parts of our bodies that are covered by their swimsuit.
For our little super young. So that's important. Also for that body safety rule, kids make magnetized artwork for the fridge or they hang art roof. They can hang artwork in their rooms at home where they use skin tone colored pencils. They're really valuing of their unique bodies and skin color. So there's magnetized artwork.
There's a magnet hanging on the fridge that says, no one can hurt my body and no one can touch my private parts. So it's always there something parents can refer to over and over again just to keep those conversations going. It's not just that one shot learning on the one worksheet that's crumpled in the backpack.
So then we teach kids in later lessons. We teach kids. And telling skills which are so important so that kids will know what to do if they're in a situation that isn't good for them. I use the visual of a stop sign, which kids know and kids learn that they can say, stop in a big voice. They can get away and they can keep telling adults.
The stop sign is also a really great visual cue to remind parents, when you're in the car with your kids to review what kids have learned about keeping their body safe. And they can always tell you right away if they've been in an uncomfortable situation. So kids learn with the visual of the stop, get away and keep telling adults sign they learn again with a movement.
So we're really getting at all the ways that the brain. And the last concept in the body safety box. And this is a super important one because we know how few kids tell. It's not my fault. So kids learn, it's not my fault. It's just critically important to let kids know this. As we've talked about some studies show that 10% of kids tell, or they might tell really delayed.
Like it's a really big lag. Like you'll tell someone when you're an adult for the first time that something ha tragic happened to you as a child. So it's the. The embarrassment that kids carry from abuse and it's not theirs to carry. So it's not my fault. It's just a huge concept. Kids learn that with words, a drawing of movement.
For the seven-year-old, in the seven-year-old box, there's a little beach ball game that kids make and play. And I've had kids tell me when I was teaching all the lessons myself and in the early years of the body safety box, I would have kids come up to me and say, I taught the body safety rules to my cousin.
I played the beach ball game with them. Kid to kid, they're even teaching prevention rules, which is amazing. So that's great for that seven year old. Thank you for your seven year old. They're a total of seven lessons. The body safety box has the greatest number of instructional minutes of any program available, which is so important, and the lessons are active, they're engaging their hands on, and kids make keepsake quality items that they keep, that are hanging in their room that they can refer to over and over again to reinforce learning.
And Hunter, I've been just deeply moved by how many kids, the Body safety box has helped. I hear stories from. Social workers in schools, from school administrators, principals of how kids get the instruction in. and they come in and report. I have heard of siblings who haven't had the lessons tell kids in their home who have had body safety box lessons at school about abuse happening to other children at home, and the child who has had the lessons reports at school and then asks for box materials for body safety box materials to teach to their victimized sibling.
[00:31:48] Hunter: This is seems so obvious as you say these things, right? Like these seem so obvious that we need. Be teaching a s a foundational sense of worth and identity. Sure. We need to be learning more emotional words, yes. Than happy, sad, and angry. We need kids to know that no one can hurt my body. Yes. And no one can touch my private parts.
Like when you present something like this, it's like one of those duh moments where it's it's so clear and obvious that it's like, how could we. Be doing it. Yeah. It's a hard, it's like a, there's a barrier for us Yes. To overcome with it, because it's awkward and it's  uncomfortable. It's sensitive. It's uncomfortable.
[00:32:29] Hunter: Yeah. Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.
[00:32:38] Missy Gryder: You, another story too. I have an an adult woman who gave me permission to share her story anonymously. So here, we've talked about the challenges with kids who have special needs and their challenges with communication. This is a girl in the gifted program who grew up in an affluent.
Area of Phoenix in the Scottsdale area. Dad's a professional. She had a four year abuse cycle. She said Missy had, I had one teacher tell me it wasn't okay to be touched down there. I would've gone in at the next recess and told, and her abuse went on for years. She hid in a closet and kids just don't know, and she's in the gifted program.
Here's this kid in this lovely home and we just don't know. Where this is happening and we just have to be relentless about giving kids the information that they need. She would have told, had she had, and it was she had told me about one lesson in particular, the body safety box. She's this lesson, it would've ended right there.
I would've gone in at the next recess and told this is huge too. I just spoke with a school social worker super recently. She teaches box lessons, body safety box lessons in her school, and she says that girls in particular, she was talking about a group of girls who have had the lessons, they talk amongst themselves.
And the stronger friends of the group, the kids who just naturally have a bolder, stronger leadership type personality will say, Hey, we need to go tell the school counselor. So kids will report to other kids who then report to adults. So just really giving kids this instruction, it's having a really good ripple effect.
When I taught the lessons personally in classrooms I would do, pre and post assessments and I remember a little first grade girl, so here I am doing this. Pretest. So I haven't taught the concepts yet to kids. And with the kindergartner and first graders, I would, ask them verbally because they weren't as experienced in writing and I wanted to make sure I was getting accurate data from them.
So I'm doing this pre-assessment with this little first grader, and before I had taught her any of the lessons I was asking her one of the pre-test questions, and it was, if someone hurt your body, who could you tell? And here's this little kid, and she's. She's rattling off a ton of adults that I teach kids that they can keep telling.
And I'm like, wow, that's great. You know so much about keeping your body safe. Where did you learn that? And she said it was from a book called I Can Tell, and her sister had read it to her and I put it together that her older sister had the lessons that previous year and she taught the body safety rules to this little girl and read that little book that she had made.
That's amazing. So this is another avenue for parents that we can take. If listener, if you're listening to this, you can get the body safety box at home, but you can also advise be an advocate for your school teaching this. Curriculum. I wonder, do you have pushback against teaching this curriculum since there's so much, right now, a censorship and trying to control what people kids are learning in schools right now?
Surprisingly not. So I taught the lessons myself to over 1500 kids over the years. I had probably less than 10 parents opt out. That's really good. So I did not get any negative feedback on it. It was extremely well, received, by teachers, administrators, families, and it's so engaging for the kids.
You come in and hi, kids are doing these activities, they're super engaged and it's been overwhelmingly positive hunter, overwhelmingly positive. I think too, the way that I communicate with the language. It's so kid friendly. It's any parent who wants to keep their child safe, I think is all for having kids learn.
No one can touch the parts of my body that are covered by my swimsuit. It's just very, it's non offensive language. It's. It's just, they're in a very kid friendly, it's pretty universal. It's super universal. It's super universal, and two, the data I collected on over 1500 kids and those post assessments, 91.3% of kids scored 80% or greater on their post assessments.
And that's like crazy good data, which means kids are learning this concept. Concepts, and it's because I put it together in such a way that's, brain-based, best classroom practices, research-based, and it's getting results. Kids love and remember the box and it works. And I am, I'm so grateful and privileged, to be doing the work, thank God.
And our kids just deserve to be free from the shackles of abuse and to grow into the fullness of who they're created to become unhindered from.
[00:37:30] Hunter: Amen. Yes, absolutely. , Missy, can I ask, what drove you to start doing this work? To protect kids?
[00:37:38] Missy Gryder:  Yes, and abuse is not a part of my story. I did not experience childhood, physical or sexual abuse, but my background is an elementary education, so here I was this young 20 something year old teacher, and I always wanted to create, I have taught first and second graders for many years, so I always wanted to create classrooms where kids felt really.
Known, welcomed and valued. And to create these, just these beautiful classroom communities along with the kids in my care where they were just happy and the kind of environment you'd want in a healthy home was the kind of environment I was trying to create in my classroom. And here I am in my doctoral studies and learning all this, and I learned about the abuse stats and I'm like, Okay, this is great that I'm trying to create these classroom, these great classroom communities, but I am missing the boat trying to meet children's social emotional needs if kids are leaving the classroom and these are what the abuse stats are.
So I looked into, okay, what are, I was trying to look and see what prevention programs were out there and at the time, shockingly Hunter, there was next to. , next to nothing in a child abuse prevention programming. And what was out there was so outdated. It was like Brady Brunch status. Really outdated.
The lessons just weren't active and engaging. They didn't incorporate best practices that I'm here learning desperately how to be able to provide for kids. So I created the lessons myself. I. Left my own classroom. I piloted, I created the Body safety box lessons, piloted them in three different school districts.
And as I was mentioning, the lessons were so well received. I was getting these phenomenal results and it's like this has to be. Everywhere. This has to be more places than I can reach by myself. So that's how I package the body safety box and we're able to get it everywhere. Which is yeah really a privilege to be able to impact kids so positively.
[00:39:32] Hunter: And we will help you get it more places. Thank you. Thank you dear. Dear listener, I know that I'm going to be, when this episode airs, I'm going to be sharing this episode with the principal of my school and asking them to listen to the, this episode. Thank you. And I'm going to be asking them to implement this curriculum in.
Five to five to 12. It can, that's the entire, that's elementary school. That's the whole elementary range, so thank you. So imagine how many kids we could save. Dear listener, I invite you to do the same. Do it with me and let us, let me know it that you're gonna be taking this to your school.
Missy, this is incredible war. Thank you so much. And so important. And I know that there are listeners who have suffered abuse. Yes. Listen, listening right now. Yes. And this is, there's so much suffering. That people have undergone and we can do our part to prevent some of it. We can shift things and change, turn things around for this next generation.
Yeah. Syd, if you are a listener who has experienced abuse, there is hope and healing for you. It is so beyond and not your fault. And there's also prevention for your. and you were among so many women who this has happened to and you're a beautiful person and I'm so sorry and it should have never happened.
[00:41:04] Hunter: Yeah. And then I was thinking back to what you said about these lessons in the body safety box and that foundational sense of worth and identity. And you mentioned that the way how negatively we speak to ourselves, and I invite you, dear listener, to consider, right? We always talk about the our. The best Parenting is modeling, right?
The best Parenting is in modeling. So can we start to interrupt the cycles of those, that negative self-talk, where we're not honoring or worth can we start to interrupt those cycles of negative self-talk and. Think about how would I talk to somebody who was a dear friend who was yes, saying these things to themselves.
How, start to turn it around, start to interrupt that pattern because it is a pattern. It's a habit. It is and it can be changed. It can be shifted.
[00:41:55] Missy Gryder: Absolutely. I'm reminded of Kristen Neff's, a beautiful work on self-compassion, having compassion for ourselves. How would you, how can we speak to ourselves as we would speak to a loved friend and we, and sometimes we can't do it for ourselves, but listen, you can do it for your kid, right?
They, yes. They're eventually your, that inner voice comes out. So we want that foundational sense of worth and identity. We need it in ourselves and we need to teach it to our kids. Missy, thank you so much for creating the body safety box and for taking the time to share it. With us. I think this is so important.
I hope that listeners don't skip. Dear listener, you're here. So you haven't skipped this episode. , I want you to, this is so valuable. We need to spread this around. I really appreciate your taking the time to, to talk to us today and to share everything that you've done with the body safety box.
It means so much. Thank you so much, hunter, for the opportunity. I really appreciate you and the great work you.
[00:42:56] Hunter: All right, so where can people find it if they wanna get their own body safety box? Yes.
[00:43:01] Missy Gryder: Head over to body safety box.com. They're available for purchase there for individual families. There's also a schools page where administrators, school administrators, school counselors, anyone working in the school system can fill out a form and I will see it directly.
You're welcome to contact me directly. Any email address on the website will come directly to me. Support embodied safety box.com. I will see it and I would be more than happy to communicate with your principal directly and in any way I can help to just. Spread the word and get our kids safe.
I'm, I would be really so privileged to do it.
[00:43:37] Hunter:  Yes, much for coming on, Missy. I really appreciate it.
[00:43:39] Missy Gryder: Thank you so much, hunter.
[00:43:48] Hunter: I hope you got us as much out of this conversation as I did so important. Is really definitely one we have to share around because this is honestly like the number one most important kind of conversations we can have for kids safety. People worry about safety and I think, gosh, most kids are generally like so safe as far as injury and things like that, but from abuse, this is where we really have to focus our safety energy, I think.

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