The surrogate protection specialist

There comes a time in just about every company and specialist’s professional career when they will have to protect someone’s child. We prepare specialists on the standards of protecting adults yet there is limited attention paid on children and the extra responsibility associated with that job. The extra requirements with dealing with underage children places a surrogate responsibility on the specialist with the protection focus. We have had years of doing this. So I speak from first hand experience as a company owner and a specialist. We have been responsible for children whose family had a measurable threat level to those whose parents were notables.

The specialist has to incorporate a cross between a sitter and specialist while maintaining a nurturer’s persona. Children have an uncanny ability to attempt to get you to do things that they normally can’t get with their parents. In many cases, you may be protecting a kid that knows the power of a protectee and attempt to exert power. You must stand your ground, maintain professionalism but stay firm. Professionalism must always prevail even with children. A specialist’s nightmare is when the child tells his/her parents that they don’t like you or being around you. No parent wants their children surrounded by anyone that their child feels uncomfortable around. This is the looming fear about protecting kids.

A factor that must be addressed with all underage children is the ability to authorize medical treatment. In all emergency situations the parent and/or legal guardian must be called. This must be worked out on the front end with the parents. If you don’t implement medical questionnaires with your adult protectees, it is an absolute must to implement this with children. When and if emergency care has to administered, a medical questionnaire will assist in expediting any procedures that are time sensative. Adult principals have many reasons why they do not want to release their medical information to us however, having one on hand for their child is more than compelling.

There is a common bond that transcends with a protector and child principal-The Bond. If you are around them alot, a bond is built to the point that they look to you for answers on many matters that are normally discussed with their parents. Be careful. It is easy to give your opinion but if it is not in line with the parents standards you can find yourself looking for a new detail. You get caught between not answering and making sure that if you do, you are not contradicting the parent’s beliefs. This is not an easy balance at times.

If you are traveling with the child, as we did for about 4 years, you may want to set up a daily check-in with the parents to reassure them that all is well. This daily check in calms their nerves and gives you extended credibility with them. Never overlook this small gesture.

Never assign specialists that do not have patience because children have extra needs that an adult protectee does not. They want to eat all the time and normally not in restaurants that you are used to with adult principals. Doing an advance on a McDonalds or a Subway is much different than a 5 Star restaurant but still needs to be done.

Just remember that children are an extra responsibility and extra work for you.

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