I'm a mom of three, and while I'm not a parenting expert, I am a PR expert.
I work with my clients to prepare for difficult situations and have the best outcome possible.
I used my PR strategies to help my kids prepare for dangerous situations.
In public relations, we're always preparing our clients for something — an interview, a presentation, an event. The more we know, the better we can help our clients prepare and the better the outcome is for everyone.
Let's take prepping for a media interview as an example: We review whom the interview is with, what to bring, the topic of discussion, the anticipated questions (when possible), where it will be, when it will be, why the reporter wants to speak with our client, how to dress, how long it will last, and, if in person, how the client will arrive and leave.
We prepare for the expected questions. We also caution our clients to be prepared for any unexpected questions or curve balls, while always keeping in mind their key messages. We check in just before showtime and then again after. In the days following, we debrief — what went right or perhaps wrong — so we can learn for the future.
Now, how can we apply this public-relations practice to parenting in a way that respects our children's growing independence and helps keep them safe, toddler to teen? Here's an extreme example I went through with my daughter.
My daughter attended a high-school party
About four months ago, my high-school senior decided she wanted to buy a ticket to attend a teen party with food, beverages, music, and dancing (the what) organized by a professional party-planning company (the who). She thought it would be fun to go with her friend, meet new people, and dance (the why). There was a bus to take them and bring them back (the how) from the event hall about 20 to 30 minutes away from our home (the where).
The bus pickup was at 10 p.m. and the return was at 5 a.m. (the when). She shared all that she knew and showed me the documentation, which said there would be security and that you needed a ticket to get in (the expected).
It all sounded reasonable.
We agreed that she'd text me every hour (the check-ins) to let me know where and how she was — for my peace of mind. For the curve balls and unexpected, she knew to get to safety and agreed to call me immediately to bring her home — the hour didn't matter (key message).
I approved the outing. As planned, she texted me each hour.
I thought: Great, she's having fun. What are you so nervous about? Chill. Try to sleep.
Then the unexpected happened
Then came the call at 2:15 a.m. Someone had sprayed a girl in the face with tear gas and then continued to cover the rest of the dance hall. My daughter and her friend, now choking and their eyes burning, grabbed a water bottle, worked their way outdoors, and called me.
It was very cold, and their coats were still on the bus, so she and her friend found a room that hadn't been contaminated and where the windows had been opened for fresh air as they waited for my arrival.
I threw on my clothes, zoomed to the location, and spoke with them along the way. When I arrived, a sea of kids was just inside the complex's tall, two-door, and metal front gate. It was blocked by security guards.
I didn't spot my daughter and her friend, so I parked along the sidewalk in front of the hall and got ready to do my PR thing. As I ushered past various small pockets of teenagers, luckily, my daughter and her friend appeared.
I put PR Mom away and tapped into PR Crisis-Management Mom — identify the problem (tear-gas exposure), assess the situation (eyes and throat still burning and tear gas on their clothes), problem solve (no freaking out, calm voice, get them home ASAP, and give them next step instructions).
My daughter's eyes and throat continued to sting for a few days but eventually were fine. I am told that the girl who the perpetrator had sprayed directly in the face had been taken to the hospital.
At our debrief, we agreed no more parties like this — lesson learned.
Marjie Hadad is the author of "The Power of PR Parenting: How to Raise Confident, Resilient and Successful Children Using Public Relations Practices."
Read the original article on Insider