5 Self-defense basics every dad should teach his daughter

The best way to protect our daughters is to teach them how to protect themselves

No matter how much fathers want to keep an eye on their daughters 24/7, raising them will eventually require dads to allow them to venture out on their own.

Shielding them from harm means empowering them with the confidence and skills to be able to defend themselves.

Before teaching them how to throw a punch, you have to build up their confidence to such a degree that, when the time comes, they won’t back down when confronted with a potential threat or aggressor.

One woman who was trained by her father to defend herself since she was a little girl is Jennifer Cassetta, founder of Stilettos and Self Defense.

"I was being taught how to be street-smart from my dad at an early age, and I've always valued that,"Jennifer, who has more than a decade of Korean martial arts skills, tells Fatherly. "There's this false sense of security in females — you think your dad will always take care of you and they never really learn how to defend themselves."

Here’s what Jennifer believes all dads should teach their daughters even at an early age.

Be alert; don’t be distracted by your phone

Kids today can’t help but be glued to their mobile phones; checking their social media accounts constantly has become as natural as breathing.

But Jennifer stresses the importance of awareness and alertness.

Dads need to instill in their daughters the habit of pinpointing a potential threat before it even has the chance of escalating.

"Nowadays young girls, teenagers — everyone really — are all connected to our phones. We have our earbuds in. We're not paying attention," she tells Fatherly. "Dads need to tell their kids it's important get off your phone, look around, and be aware of your surroundings. Especially if you're walking alone."

Make intense eye contact and mean it

Fathers should teach kids the importance of a genuinely badass “stare down”, a valuable skill that they can use later on in life, whether they are in the workplace or faced with a potential attacker.

Jennifer says that the ability to scare the crap out of anyone lies in how intensely you maintain and commit to staring them down.

It’s important to acknowledge the power of body language, she says: "When you're walking, have your shoulders back and head up, and always make eye contact. That confidence can often help people not approach you."

Next page: More self-defense basics for young girls on the next page

Tell them to back the f*ck off

Of course, teaching one's daughter to swear may be the last thing on a dad’s mind but cussing aggressively really works to blindside an attacker, and to shake his confidence.

"I recommend for young girls to curse or use bad language," affirms Jennifer. "Most of these people are never expecting a young woman to be forceful and aggressive. It throws them off. So do it, use a harsh tone and tell somebody off."

So, remind them that a threat gives them a free “cussing” pass, but be sure they understand the real purpose of these words. And emphasize that this is the only time they can use them.

"If someone asks you to go with them somewhere, or approaches you in a threatening way, use a very loud and assertive tone, and tell them to back off,” reminds Jennifer.

Stop. Drop. Run as fast you can.

Dads must constantly remind their daughters to be alert and once threatened: Don’t hesitate.

"If you're actually grabbed, the first thing you want to do is sorta drop down, it's called basing out,” reveals Jennifer. “Bend both legs and drop down — dropping your weight and center of gravity makes you heavier and harder for anyone to carry you away."

Hit (and hurt) him where it counts

Don’t hold back; hit him where you can.

As a lot of self-defense experts will agree, things as simple as eye clawing, pulling out earrings, or bending fingers can work to disable an attacker by hurting them.

According to Jennifer, however, the most effective spots are the eyes, throat, and groin.

If you teach your daughter to aim for these three crucial spots, she says, they can incapacitate an attacker and give themselves enough time to run to safety.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us!