Episode #22 Transcript - The Badass Grandma: Empower Your Children To Have Moxie | CJ Scarlet

Kelly (00:02.93)

CJ Scarlett, aka the Badass Grandma, is a danger expert and author of books that help parents empower their kids to protect and defend themselves from dangerous people. CJ knows firsthand how violence can destroy lives. A survivor of childhood abuse and teen sexual assault, CJ spent years dealing with the emotional aftermath of her experience. After taking her power back, she became an advocate for others who had been victimized.

Running a child advocacy center and serving as director of victims issues for the North Carolina Attorney General’s office. Over her 30 years as a victim advocate, CJ has helped thousands of survivors claim their power too. I love this part. The former roller skating carhop, forest fighter, and US Marine photo journalist holds a master’s degree in human violence. Named one of the happy 100 people on the planet, CJ’s story of triumph over adversity is featured in several bestselling books. So without further ado, welcome to Thrive Unafraid, CJ. It is fantastic to have you here with Doug and I.

CJ Scarlet (01:07.978)

Kelly and Doug, thank you so much for letting me be your guest today.

Kelly (01:11.56)


Doug (01:11.602)

Absolutely. We’re excited to meet you and spend some time with you and unpack some of your fascinating experiences as well as your learnings from those.

CJ Scarlet (01:20.203)

thank you.


Kelly (01:21.434)

Well, and I don’t even know where to start because part of me wants to dig into more of your history and have you tell stories and not just the awful, like traumatic things that you went through, but also the roller skating, car hop, forest fighter, U S Marine photo journalists. So if I’m going to guess that some of the awful tragic stuff happened younger or before some of those things. So maybe should we start there?


CJ Scarlet (01:48.686)

Yeah, sure. So yes, I was abused as a child by a number of different people, relatives mainly, and was pretty traumatized by that. But then at 19, I was raped twice by a sheriff’s deputy I was dating and by a Marine Corps recruiter, my Marine Corps recruiter. And I also, this is not in there, I narrowly escaped being lured into a sex trafficking ring at 19. So 19 was not a good year for me.


But in between those years, I had a lot of exciting experiences, working as a roller skating carhop and fighting forest fires with the Forest Service and serving as a photojournalist in the Marine Corps, which was one of the most fun jobs you can have in the military.


Doug (02:28.93)

What’s your red marine hat you need to be wearing, right?


CJ Scarlet (02:31.85)

That’s right, instead of headphones.


Kelly (02:35.158)

And I was just going to say, I wanted to touch on the sex trafficking part simply because we’ve had a couple of guests talking about sex trafficking. And so many people in society think it’s going to be the zip tie and the car handle. I know we don’t want to focus too much on that, but I feel like there might be a story there from your firsthand experience saying it wasn’t like I was kidnapped off the street by a stranger and talk about some of those grooming.


CJ Scarlet (03:02.642)

Nope, I was living in a small, yeah, I was groomed in a small town, population 5,000 in the whole county. And when I was 17, I was in a play and the woman, Cindy, who was a choreographer for some gymnastics moves and dance moves I did, invited me to pose on natural for her and her mother who were both artists. And to shock my mother, I decided to do it. And so as I lay there in various states of undress, I would share, they would ask me questions about what I want to do when I grew up and left.


, like that tiny little hometown. And I talked about having, wonderful adventures and going to college and going to exotic places and just getting the hell out of that town. And then when I was 19, before the sexual assaults occurred, I was in community college and Cindy called me one day and said, do you wanna get out of this town? I was like, God, yes. She said, come to my house, I have an opportunity for you. So I got there and she told me that a rich man had seen one of her paintings of me and wanted me to be his mistress.


Florida. And the alarm bells are going off in my head. I’m thinking, what is going on here? She said that I would become his mistress and that if I was a good mistress, he would send me to college. We would have to go to exotic places, have exciting adventures, and travel the world. All the things that I had said to them, they parroted back. She parroted back to me. And then she told me that her father would train me to be a good mistress. And she walked out of the room and her father came in and he tried to sexually assault me and I managed to get away.


And as I’m peeling out of their driveway with the gravel flying behind me, he screams, don’t you dare tell. And I didn’t tell a soul for years because I was terrified. I didn’t know what was happening to me. It was 10 years before it occurred to me that there was no wealthy man, that they were going to get me down to Florida and probably get me addicted to drugs and put me as a prostitute on the streets. And it was another 10 years before I heard the term human trafficking, but I recognized the second I heard it. And so…


Kelly (04:58.574)



CJ Scarlet (05:00.642)

 …working one of the chapters of my book is about sex trafficking in my newest book Because it doesn’t just happen when they snatch you off the street You can your child can be groomed and still be living at home and be caught in sex trafficking ring There are things that parents don’t see because they don’t know what to look for They’re clear indicators, but there are people out there who are very good at grooming these young girls and young men


Doug (05:22.786)

How did you recognize that this was not what they were presenting?


CJ Scarlet (05:27.714)

It took me a long time. It took me a long time because I never imagined that this was Something other than what they were presenting it as I had no nothing to shit nothing to position it against this was in 1980 So I didn’t have any information to provide context for what was happening So I assed there was some wealthy guy out there her father was just a perv who was going to assault me all the way to Florida.


And so 10 years later, when someone said something, I guess somebody said, there’s probably no wealthy man there. They were just gonna turn you into a prostitute. I was like, oh my God, that’s how that happens. And it does, happens every day.


Kelly (06:10.298)

Thanks for sharing that, because I think it’s so important.


CJ Scarlet (06:11.806)

The average age that young girls or sex traffic is between 12 and 16.


Kelly (06:16.091)



Doug (06:17.55)

By somebody they are in contact with.


CJ Scarlet (06:19.422)

But yes, by somebody they’re in contact with and not being snatched off the streets.


Doug (06:26.911)

So, think about that year when you were 19 and the challenges you faced and as importantly overcame, right? There’s some grit in you. To work through that and to work through it in ways that allow you to draw it out into lessons for others. What sets you on that path of digging into that?


CJ Scarlet (06:53.05)

I have always had a fire inside me, a fierceness inside of me. I remember when I was four, and I don’t know how I knew this, but I had drawn a picture of a naked man. And my mother had spanked me, and I’m in my living room, and I knew that if I could, I was so disgusted with all this. I just wanted, I was just tired of all of it. And I thought, if I can survive this, I’ll get to go to Disneyland one day. I’m four years old, that’s how I thought. And I’ve always kind of thought that way, if I can just survive this, it’s gonna be okay.


There’s something on the other side of all this. And I don’t know how I knew that, but I knew it in my heart. And so I kind of, it was like my older self, my mature self, my healed self was pulling me forward and beckoning me forward. Does that make sense? Yeah.


Doug (07:35.535)

Mm hmm. Yeah.


Kelly (07:37.298)

Very cool. That’s very cool. So we’re getting into the year that you turned 19 and experienced all of these things. The sexual assaults. When you talk about that same grip pulling you forward and you talked about one of the assaulters was the Marine recruiter, but yet you still went on to join the Marines and become a photojournalist and you speak wonderfully about that experience. And I think so often people say,


I can’t, if that was a dream I had, now this one horrible person ruined that for me. And instead you decided to overcome that. And maybe I’m projecting a little bit of how I think it might’ve happened, but can you talk more about that?


CJ Scarlet (08:22.354)

For me, the assaults were sort of like being caught in a riptide. When I was a kid, the riptide sucks you under and holds you under. Then finally, I would come up for air and another wave would come crashing down at me. Another assault would occur. That’s what happened with the Marine Corps recruiter. I had survived the rape with the sheriff’s deputy and it was very traumatic. I lost a lot of time after that. I have no memories of what happened for months after that because I was so traumatized. Then my father finally, I was so depressed. My father came to me one day and said, talk to the recruiter. You got to do something with your life.


And so I went to the recruiter and I was a star recruit. I mean, I just absorbed everything they taught. My dad had been a recruiter, Marie, my twin brother, my little brother, two brothers-in-law. So I was just born to do that. And when the recruiter assaulted me, and they were doing this to all the young women that walked through the doors back in 1981, all the women, 1980, all the girls that came through were having sex with all the recruiters. It was just the way business was done back then.


And actually, just a little aside, if you’re in the military, you are at a greater risk of being sexually assaulted than just about any other population in the civilian population. So when the assault occurred by the recruiter, I just felt this horrible feeling like I cannot escape this. Another wave came crashing down on me. But I got into boot camp and I flourished. I was on a graduate of my platoon because I knew how to march. I knew my general orders. I knew how to field strip an M16 before I ever left.


And so I was able to ace boot camp. Getting through the five years that I was in was a little tough because the sexual harassment was unbelievable. But I, it was kind of like mash. Like you’re going through a gauntlet every day. I’d be typing on my computer, writing a story, typing a story and never knew when someone was gonna plant a kiss on the back of my neck or make a comment about my body. And I’d be reduced to, feel like a child or a piece of meat. And so that was difficult. But…


I had that fire inside that would not stop burning. They kept saying, you’re gonna survive this, you’re gonna be okay.


Kelly (10:23.962)

And is that what you call, I know when you talk about the three, the tips you have for kids, one of the words you use in that is moxie. And I love that word. I love moxie. Yes. So maybe just for anyone who moxie, it’s a new word for them. Tell us what your definition of moxie is.


CJ Scarlet (10:32.754)

Moxie. I had the moxie. Yes. That was my superpower.


CJ Scarlet (10:43.934)

Moxie is the willingness, the way I use it in my books, and I talk about kids through superpowers, their intuition, their boundaries, and their moxie, is your willingness to stand up for your boundaries and trust your intuition and take action on your own behalf. Now, I was not good at taking action on my own behalf when I was being abused because I was a freezer, and I was a people pleaser. So I was a freezer and a fawner. So if someone was doing something to me, not only would I not resist, I would be absolutely paralyzed.


and I was never going to tell because I believed it was my fault. I thought there was something in this is the worst part of everything that happened to me is that I believed to my core that there was something inherently wrong with me that made good people do bad things. I never placed the blame on them. I always placed it on myself. I shouldn’t have been in his apartment. I shouldn’t have done this. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have flirted with him. Whatever it was, I was always at the center of the story as the reason why these things happened.


And that’s tragic because I grew up hating myself. And nobody should have to live that way, but a lot of people do.


Kelly (11:47.102)

Right. And I think that’s another thing interesting that you said here is that trusting your intuition and the aftermath, like even in your bio, you talked about the aftermath of your experiences. And so often after a tragic event, I don’t think we talk about the impact of that aftermath and then how that shapes or forms your perspective going forward in future discussions and future events and future relationships occurrences.


that can color things. And if you haven’t sorted it all out, then it does lead to that repeating cycle.


CJ Scarlet (12:18.342)

It colored everything.


CJ Scarlet (12:25.106)

It does, and it did. It colored everything in my world because I saw everything through the lens of a victim. Even though I had a lot of moxie and a lot of that fire in my belly, I still had a strong victim mentality. I believe that the world was happening, that outside forces were controlling my life, that other people controlled my life. I did not have control over my own choices, which was completely wrong, but I didn’t know that. And I lived that way for a really long time. And one of the consequences of the abuse, one of the trauma was that


I had developed two autoimmune conditions, serious autoimmune conditions, lupus and scleroderma, that I was diagnosed with in 1990, within a week after I decided to go into therapy for the things that had happened to me. It’s like my body said, we’re not going anywhere until you deal with this. I heard a quote once, this disease is a soul screaming through the body. And a surprisingly high number of people who get autoimmune conditions have a history of childhood trauma.


Kelly (13:13.574)



CJ Scarlet (13:21.138)

Because if you think about it, your body’s producing excessive amounts of cortisol and norepinephrine and adrenaline, and you’re always in that fight or flight state, and it doesn’t ease up. And so, of course, your body breaks down.


Doug (13:32.386)

So what was your breaking point in terms of deciding that this, where you were wasn’t the right place for you and to set yourself on that path?


CJ Scarlet (13:45.898)

The pain became greater thuman my ability to contain it. I could not live that way any longer. I could not, it was like trying to hold a beach ball underwater. It was like trying to contain a nuclear reaction. I could not do it. I was in a meeting at United Way where I worked of all those community leaders talking about the upcoming United Way campaign.  what I’m talking about, the annual United Way campaign? And I’m in the middle with these, the mayor and all these other people, and all of a sudden I burst into tears.


and I fled into the bathroom and for two hours I sobbed and could not tell my worried coworkers what was wrong with me, because I didn’t know. So I took a week off and went to Connecticut with a journal. My relatives were all in Connecticut, took a journal and started writing about what happened for the first time. And it all came pouring out. And once it came pouring out, I couldn’t stop it. There were times where I would have stopped it if I could because it was so painful. But I thank God every day that I did not because I wouldn’t be where I am today, which is.


happy and healthy and, but I was, but the autoimmune conditions left me debilitated on and off over the years. I’m gonna tell you a story real quick. I became so debilitated in 1990 from the lupus and scleroderma that I became unable to work and they put me on massive doses of steroids and I was 240 pounds. I had to go up and down the stairs on my humands and knees. I couldn’t hold a glass, turn a doorknob, hold a hairbrush. I was bedridden a lot of the time.


And my doctors told me that my heart was failing in 2002 and that I could die at any time. And I was petrified. And I curled up in a ball and I waited to die. And then I got the chumance to meet privately with a Tibetan Buddhist Lama for advice. And I poured out my tale of woe and I waited for the Lama to sympathize with me. And that’s not what happened. Instead, I learned that llamas don’t do dramas because he gave me a cosmic bitch slap and he told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and start thinking about the happiness of other people.


And I was offended and defensive. I was like, I can’t help myself. How can I help anybody else? But the llama insisted. And so I started doing little things like letting the mom with the crying baby go ahead of me and line at the grocery store, leaving the better humandicapped spot for someone. And I felt just a little bit happier. So I decided to make it a practice that I would do at least one act of kindness every single day. And so I gave my cane to a woman who was struggling to walk. I left inspirational notes on the driver’s side door at the cancer center.


CJ Scarlet (16:04.914)

I volunteered at the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, and I felt happier. Because what had happened is that I become so consed by my own suffering that I forgot that everyone’s fighting a hard battle. I’m doing, yes, and doing these acts of kindness reconnected me to humanity, and I reached a point where I was so happy that it didn’t matter whether I was sick or well or even living or dying. I was content. And at that point, my condition went to remission all within 18 months after I started doing these acts of kindness, and that was 21 years ago.


Doug (16:15.766)

a great example of feelings following action.


CJ Scarlet (16:34.706)

And I feel better thuman I felt it when I was 30. And it was because, yeah, my heart healed first, and then my body followed.


Kelly (16:37.726)

That’s amazing.


Doug (16:43.298)

Real quick, CJ, your mic is rubbing on your jacket here, I think. Yep, if you can just, there you go, perfect. That’ll help. All right, and Jesse will cut this part out.


CJ Scarlet (16:47.697)



CJ Scarlet (16:52.655)

Good. OK, good.




Kelly (16:55.966)

Yeah. That’s awesome. And one thing that I really want to call out is that tie between your psychological health and physical health. Because I think people miss that. And one thing when I’m doing my trainings on situational awareness, I talk about the psychological safety. If you don’t feel psychologically safe, it’s going to impact other areas of your life. And you mentioned that you had some auto…


an immune disease. I can’t talk right now currently, and I don’t think people have that correlation. They just say, Oh, now I’m sick. It’s almost like instead of saying, wait, how is this connected? They’re like, and now it’s another thing. And instead of dealing with the root problem, they they’re treating the surface level problem and it’s not getting better because it’s the, what did I see a quote sometime as like, you can’t heal in the place that, that made you sick.


CJ Scarlet (17:51.43)

Yeah, that’s a good one.


Kelly (17:53.166)

And I just think so many people, especially right now in our world, who are maybe sick all the time and they can’t figure out why, I would challenge them, challenge any of our listeners to say, okay, maybe it’s not a physical thing, let’s take a look at how much stress you’re experiencing on a daily business, daily basis, what, what sorts of psychological gunk


CJ Scarlet (18:08.564)



Kelly (18:20.354)

you need to clean out in order to then feel better physically?


CJ Scarlet (18:21.312)



CJ Scarlet (18:26.022)

It takes so much energy to suppress trauma, so much emotional energy, psychic energy, physical energy, all of it. It takes so much effort to suppress that. And the more you swallow it and swallow it and swallow it, the more toxic it becomes. And it does, it gunks up your whole system. And so like I said, many people who have autoimmune conditions have a history of trauma, have a history of childhood abuse or adult sexual assault.


and they don’t deal with it and it builds up and it builds up until it becomes just absolutely impossible to live with.


Kelly (19:01.466)

I agree. I agree. And tell me how like, I love how she’ll say stuff and then I’m like, wait, back up. How were you connected with this? What would you say? Tibetan llama? Yeah.


CJ Scarlet (19:12.458)

The bad Buddhist Lama there in Raleigh, North Carolina, there’s a Kadampa center has a Tibetan Buddhist Lama as a resident teacher there. And I had a friend who was going to the Kadampa center. So yes, and a very thick Tibetan accent. I can’t replicate his accent, but he said, stop feeling sorry for yourself. It’s hard to think about the happiness of others. I was like, what are you talking about? I can’t do that. But I could and I did and anybody can too.


Kelly (19:20.654)

And so somebody just said, hey, you need to talk to this guy? Wow.


CJ Scarlet (19:37.374)

Just those little acts of, because what was happening, every time I performed an act of kindness, I was getting a dose of mood boosting serotonin and pain killing endorphins. And so my body literally was healing from the inside out by doing these acts of kindness. And anybody can do it.


Kelly (19:52.562)

Would you say that’s why maybe people push gratitude journals? Like find something, every night before you go to bed, write about what you’re grateful for, or in the morning, think about what you’re grateful for, and that can really improve your health.


CJ Scarlet (19:56.754)



CJ Scarlet (20:04.55)

Yes, because it can, because I was so convinced that I could not be happy because all these terrible things had happened to me. And because I was such a, I believed I was such a terrible person, so I didn’t have the right to be happy because I was such a bad person. That’s such a tragic way for anybody to feel and think. And I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. And now I love myself so much, it’s just unbelievable. I mean, I’m just, I’m my biggest fan, not in an egotistical way, but in a, I’m you and you are me, and we are both divine beings, ?


And once I dropped the guilt and forgave myself and forgave the other people in my life who hurt me, all that energy I was using in my head to rent space to them in my head was gone. And it was free for me to pursue a beautiful life. My life is so amazing now. I can’t believe it’s mine.


Doug (20:53.79)

I was going to ask about the role of forgiveness in your journey. And, so since you brought it up, would you walk us through how that. What piece that played?


CJ Scarlet (21:05.47)

It played a huge role. A lot of people believe that if you forgive someone, you’re saying what they did was okay. And that’s not what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness is about not burning space to them in your head, not expending your energy, your emotional energy on.


holding on to what happened to you in a way that’s toxic to you. It’s like drinking poison and waiting for them to die. It doesn’t work. You’re the one who suffers. It’s not hurting them. It’s hurting you. And so a lot of people have a lot of difficulty forgiving. And the more, the closer they are to you, the more difficult it is to forgive. I mean, I went through all these forgiveness exercises and meditations and I could forgive Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden and all these other people. But when it came to forgive my brother-in-law, oh my God, it was terrible. It was so hard.


Doug (21:26.382)



CJ Scarlet (21:49.898)

Because the ones that are closest to you can push your buttons like nobody else’s business and you see them all the time. So it gets much, much more difficult. But it’s something that is so liberating to do. And it took a lot of time. It took me doing it over and over and over again with me initially not really meaning it when I would say I forgive you. To me going,  what? They, I, when I made stupid mistakes, I was doing the best I could with what I had. Maybe that’s where they were.


Maybe they are evil people, but I can’t carry that evil feeling about them any longer. It’s hurting me. And so to let it go, I had to let them go. And again, it was not saying what they did was okay, because it was not in any way okay. But it was saying, I’m okay. You’re not okay necessarily, but I’m okay.


Doug (22:39.707)

When did you decide to use what had happened to you to teach others and help others learn how to find their own inner badass self?


CJ Scarlet (22:51.854)

In 1990, when I first got into therapy at the local rape crisis center in Norfolk, Virginia, I, at the same time, within a few months, I was volunteering at the rape crisis center. And then after that, shortly after that, I joined the board of directors of the rape crisis center. And I was just on a tear after that. And so that’s when I got my master’s degree. After I finished my graduate degree, it was a couple years into my healing process. And when it came time to determine what my course of study would be, I chose criminology and sociology.


Because I wanted to understand how people could do the terrible things they do to each other. Because I thought if I had the answers, it would make sense. It would make more sense to me. And in a way, I learned a lot about what the causes of violence are and, human evil are. And so that settled my mind a little bit. I didn’t answer all my questions, but it answered many of them. But after that, I got that job at the Child Advocacy Center and then at the Attorney General’s office. And then I started writing books to keep people from being harmed at all.


Because I got burned out, did the crime after it happened. And Kelly, I know you can relate to this. You want to do something to stop it from happening at all. And that’s when I started writing books. For my first book for women and girls was the Badass Girls Guide, Uncommon Strategies Dout With Predators. And then when I had grandkids, oh my gosh, I started having nightmares about every awful thing that could happen to them. And I thought, well, I’m a writer, I’m gonna write. I’m gonna write books for my son and daughter-in-law to teach.


For them to not know how to protect my grandkids, but for them to know how to teach my grandkids to protect themselves. And I know you can relate to that, Kelly, because you don’t want, the parents think they can protect their kids as long as they’re in sight. As long as they’re there, they can protect their children. And that’s not true. Not always true. My son was 13 and we were at a community swimming pool and I saw a man, he was across the pool from me and I saw a man side-alop to him, an old man, and I saw the look on my son’s face and I beelined around that pool.


And the man ran off and I was screaming, somebody stop that man, but he got away. I got to my son and the man had been trying to bottle him under the water. I cannot tell you how devastated I was because I thought, here I am, I’ve done all this healing work on myself, but I did not teach my sons how to protect themselves, how to say no to somebody, how to get themselves out of a bad situation. I felt like a terrible mother. And so part of writing these books was to arm my grandchildren and every other child out there.


CJ Scarlet (25:16.694)

With the knowledge and the tools and techniques they need to be able to safely navigate this world that is often very hostile to kids.


Kelly (25:26.062)

I think that’s a great segue into talking about because so often parents are like, how? Yes, I want to do this, but how do I do it in a way? Because I don’t know. Maybe they haven’t, they’ve definitely not had the same journey you’ve had. Everyone’s had their own journey. So can you share some of those tips with us for our listeners? And this is all in the book that you’re publishing in January, correct? January of 2024.


Doug (25:26.215)

And go.


CJ Scarlet (25:50.93)

Yes, I have three books in the Badass Parenting series. The first two were written in 2020 and they’re for parents of kids zero to nine. And they’re Badass Parenting is the first book and Heroic Parenting is the second. And they’re the same book, but Heroic Parenting is PG rated and Badass Parenting is not PG rated. And they sell 50-50, which is really interesting, I think. And then this book is for parents of kids, Raising Badass Kids coming out in January is for parents of kids 10 to 18, for tweens and teens.


Kelly (26:06.198)



CJ Scarlet (26:16.802)

And it’s got the same basic content within additional chapters on sex trafficking and also the most important thing I’ve ever written, which is on how to teach your kid about sexual consent. And a lot of this is about simple things. Parents and their kids have so much more power than they know to protect their children. Teaching them to say no to other kids and adults. If I had known that I could say no and that it was okay, so much of the stuff that happened it would never have occurred, never. That they can have boundaries and trust their intuition.


I mean, you teach us, Kelly, what situational awareness is. I have the worst situational awareness on the planet. I mean, I can miss things that just amaze me. But when it comes to my intuition and my boundaries, I’ve cultivated strong ones because those are your first lines of defense. The number one product of repellent though is confidence. A confident kid is more likely to avoid being targeted than a child who is unsure of themselves and needy and not needy in a…


victim blaming way at all, but needy as in they need affection, they need attention, they need something. And people who are, yeah, predators look for those kinds of kids and they target them and they groom them because they know that these children are less likely to tell, they’re more likely to be coerced into a situation that they’re uncomfortable with because they’re not, they don’t have the confidence and the boundaries and the skills to be able to extract themselves from a situation that’s sketchy.


Kelly (27:21.443)

They seem to be validated.


Doug (27:45.undefined)

I’ve heard you talk about that, Kelly, in the past using the example from Gavin De Becker’s books.


CJ Scarlet (27:49.186)

Oh, I love Gavin De Becker. What example?


Doug (27:52.046)

about where he talked about criminals targeting folks that are weaker and that are less confident and that are looking down and unsure of their surroundings as opposed to those who are confident walking out as if they deserve and belong to be there.


CJ Scarlet (28:06.742)

That’s right.


Kelly (28:07.034)

I think there’s a big difference when you’re talking kids, you can talk to adults about carrying yourself with confidence, but for kids, I feel like part of growing and maturing involves a lot of testing. And so you’re not ever really sure or it changes and that’s natural. So how do we help evolve? So I love that CJ, you broke down your books into age, age brackets. Can you maybe share your top tips in that zero? What was it? Zero to nine?


CJ Scarlet (28:20.959)



CJ Scarlet (28:36.401)

0 to 9.


Kelly (28:36.678)

Can you share a couple of tips for our listeners on how they can help their kids in those age brackets start to build some of that confidence or just the tips that you gave in that book?


CJ Scarlet (28:49.886)

That’s a great question. I actually have a whole chapter in my books, each one of my books on how to do a confidence makeover with your child. What a confident kid looks like. They tend to like themselves and feel more confident about their skills. And that’s attractive energy to other kids and other people. And so it’s kind of a feedback loop, a positive feedback loop where the more confident they are, the more they get a positive response from others, which builds their confidence.


The confidence makeover includes things like teach them how to properly bathe and dress. I mean even families on a limited income can go to Goodwill and find contemporary clothing for their kids so they look like they’re dressed like other kids in their social circles. And kids that smell good and look healthy are more attractive, have more attractive energy and are less likely to be bullied. So it is a virtuous cycle.


Doug (29:40.33)

virtuous cycle.


CJ Scarlet (29:43.122)

It is. They can do things. You can do things like teaching them how to make and keep friends, how to enter a conversation with another kid. So introduce teaching them things like when you walk up to somebody, you can say, Hi, my name is Joey. And what’s yours and teaching the art of mutual disclosure so that they’re not blurting  everything about themselves, which is a repellent energy. Hi, I’m Joey. What’s your name. I go to this school. Where do you go to. Oh, I see you have an Imagine Dragons t-shirt. Did you have your been to one of their concerts, 


Kelly (29:56.51)



CJ Scarlet (30:12.694)

Kind of that give and take. You can teach them about this through what I call the two ways of bonding with your kid, which are the daily check-ins and the monthly family meetings. The daily check-ins are so important because most parents are so harried at the end of the day. They’re trying to help the kid with their homework. They’re trying to get the dinner fixed. They’re trying to get the kitchen clean. They’re trying to finish up their work stuff and talk with their partner. And so they ask their kid, how was school today? And they’re gonna get a fine.


Well, their day wasn’t fine. Their day was filled with funny things and scary things and epic fails and all kinds of things. And if you ask your kid, how was your day? You’re gonna get a monosyllabic answer. If you sit down with your child and put your damn phone down and say, tell me about your day. Did anything funny happen today? Did anybody get picked on? Has that person ever picked on you? Asking open-ended questions that your child can respond to.


Is going to create a bond between the child and the parent that’s going to pay off it later. They feel more confident about coming to you with challenges or concerns or red flags that they have. The monthly family meetings are to keep the family on track, to bring dads into the loop on what’s going on with the family, to talk about getting the family dog or what the next vacation is, to talk about a monthly body safety topic, and also increase your child’s confidence by switching, by changing up the roles so your child gets to be the leader of the month one day, one time. And then the next time they’re the secretary and the next time they’re the timekeeper. And they learn these skills and these roles and they begin to feel more confident about their ability to speak their truth and make choices for themselves. So there are all kinds of little ways parents can do that are going to instill confidence in your child, because the parents are the number one confidence builders in their child’s life. But they have to give them the time and attention they need or undermining them.


Doug (32:05.148)

or undermined.


CJ Scarlet (32:07.455)



Kelly (32:07.658)

Yeah, good point, you were talking about the daily questions and I’ve been, I’m not perfect at this by any means, but I try when it’s sitting down at dinner and having conversation, it’s not, yeah, how was your day? It was, so tell me about something funny that happened today. Tell me about something that was hard today, tell me about something that, did you do anything kind for anyone? Because I’m trying to bring that into is


CJ Scarlet (32:25.014)

That’s awesome.


CJ Scarlet (32:33.458)



Kelly (32:35.862)

is like, hey, be kind to others. Going back to what you mentioned, if you’re being kind to others, it does come back to you. I firmly believe that. And it’s helping to me get in touch with their feelings. Did that make me feel good? How did that make I laughed or I felt frustrated because that was a difficult thing that I had to do today?


CJ Scarlet (32:44.059)

And that’s going to make them want to do kind things to be able to tell you about.


Kelly (33:01.198)

And so it’s trying to get them thinking about it. And it is fun to listen to him. And it’s not like they know how to answer every time. It’s not like they have an answer every time. And sometimes my youngest, who’s a tad sarcastic, I’m not quite sure where he gets it from, but sometimes he’ll say, sometimes he’ll say, I didn’t do anything kind today, mom. I didn’t feel like it. And I’m like, wow, maybe tomorrow. Like I don’t feed into that, but it’s like, yeah, I get it. Not every day you’re gonna feel like.


CJ Scarlet (33:16.726)

I sense a story there.


Kelly (33:30.194)

doing something kind, but I’m not also going to just let off the hook and be like, oh yeah, no, you don’t have to do kind things. But it does.


CJ Scarlet (33:36.798)

You’re planting amazing seeds that are gonna bear fruit for that child.


Kelly (33:40.302)

Right, you’re hoping.


CJ Scarlet (33:42.31)

Yeah, it will. It absolutely will. It can’t help but do so. We are always planting seeds with our kids, positive or negative. They’re either weeds or they’re flowers.


Kelly (33:46.234)

And I love them. Yeah.


Yeah, that’s a good point. And those monthly check-ins, I like the idea of having the kids in charge. That builds their confidence and shows them that even if you don’t know what you’re doing and you try and you quote unquote fail, or you don’t feel like you did a good job, there’s always next time and you can try again. It’s a learning experience. And I think in my mind, this is the time that I want my kids and with me to try things and fail and feel safe to do that.


CJ Scarlet (33:53.418)





CJ Scarlet (34:20.258)

Oh, that’s perfect because you are giving them a safe environment in which to make these, because what’s the quote I love so much? Judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment. And kids’ job is to make mistakes, to figure things out, to bounce, to go, to make these mistakes in hopefully what is a safe environment with bpers, with boundaries that the parents provide for them to bp up against and test. And the older your children get, the more they’re gonna test those boundaries.


Kelly (34:31.826)



CJ Scarlet (34:49.846)

If you maintain your rules and your firmness with these boundaries that are there for their protection, they’re going to feel safer. They may resist them and claim that they hate them and you’re the worst parent in the world, but they’re going to be safer and healthier kids because of these boundaries you put in place.


Doug (35:09.738)

You find ways to move those boundaries a little bit further out as they age, as their experience grows so that the boundary or the bumper becomes a safety net, which becomes a parachute, et cetera.


CJ Scarlet (35:24.466)

Oh, that’s a fantastic analogy. I love that. Wow, that’s really clever.


Doug (35:27.822)

Thank you. It does, because at the end of the day, at the end of the day, our goal is to actually teach our kids how to assess and decision risk, because when they get out of our homes, they’re gonna have to do just that. We can’t protect them from risk. There’s life inherent. Life has risk inherent to it. But you get them out there and you want them to have had these experiences of learning how to apply that risk decision process in ways that…


Kelly (35:30.93)

That’s why we have Doug on the show for his Dougisms.


CJ Scarlet (35:32.551)



Doug (35:57.898)

Might end up with a little bit of pain involved, but pain that can be learned from. And then as they’re experienced, their age and their ability grows, the tools they use for self arrest in essence, become more theirs to manage and less ours to manage.


CJ Scarlet (36:16.302)

Yeah, and you want to, among the seeds you plant, you want to give them ways to have these conversations with their other kids, because they’re more likely to be molested by another juvenile than by their own parents. People don’t think about that, but they are. But with other kids and with adults, if they know if you’ve taught them, and they know because you’ve taught them things they can say to get out of situations where they feel uncomfortable or awkward. Things like, I have to get home now my mother’s waiting for me and then just leave.


Or just scream no and run, whatever they’ve got to do. Or if they’re at a friend’s house at a sleepover and something sketchy happens with the older brother or the dad, they can call mom and say, or they can text mom and mom will call and say, my son forgot to take the trash out and this sleepover is canceled and I’m coming to get him right now. And rescuing the child because we can’t expect kids to always speak up for themselves to other adults. I mean to adults, it’s very difficult. So we can give them these outs.


And ways by just having a conversation with them. I’m so excited to share with you that I’ve been working on online courses based on my books where I will actually, yes, I will actually not only tell the parents what the kids need to know and how to teach them, but do videos for the kids. I’ll be talking, because parents, the main reason parents don’t talk to their kids about body safety is because they don’t know what to say or how to say it. So I’m gonna say it. And the parents can watch it with the kids and then they can have a conversation about it.


Kelly (37:25.33)

Really, that’s awesome.


Kelly (37:40.914)



Kelly (37:47.61)

And when it, when is the, what’s the timeline for that project?


CJ Scarlet (37:48.146)

So I’m hoping January, February timeframe. I’m working on it right now. Yeah, I do have a lot going on. I’m sorry, what? I’ll start filming the videos probably in December. Yeah.


Kelly (37:53.434)

Okay, you’re busy. Got a lot going on.


Doug (37:56.254)

So you are filming the videos now. You’re filming the videos now.


Okay, cool. Very cool. We look forward to finding ways to introduce them to our listeners as well.


Kelly (38:03.782)

Yeah. thanks.


CJ Scarlet (38:07.994)

Oh, I really appreciate that. There’s nothing else like that out there. The only self-defense courses they have for kids online cover Krav Maga and all these other complicated moves. If kids don’t develop mastery in self-defense techniques or martial arts, it’s not gonna do them a whole lot of good. So you can take it. I’ve taken several self-defense courses and as soon as I leave, I can’t remember if I’m supposed to put my hand this way or this way and it’s gone, it’s forgotten.


And so what I teach parents in all of my books is how to train their kid to fight like a rabid Tasmanian devil, to fight like Taz. They go bonkers, they bite, kick, scratch, pinch, gouge, twist, every little thing that comes within their way. They’re screaming the whole time, they’re making a fuss, they’re flailing their arms, they’re going bonkers. They’re making a scene, which is what predators do not want. And they’re more likely to be successful getting away doing that than trying to take one or two self-defense classes or a couple of martial arts classes.


And trying to do some sort of complicated kick that their little five-year-old body or 10-year-old body can’t stand, can’t compete with an adult. But if you ever try to lift a kid who wants to do that, a three-year-old take them anywhere they don’t wanna go, it’s like they’re a slinky, they do that slinky thing. You can’t make a move. Kids can do that. Yeah, it is.


Kelly (39:17.054)



Kelly (39:27.61)

It’s very challenging. Yes. And I would love also then to get into that 10 to 18 year old age, because I think that’s even scarier sometimes for adults, because we’re like, oh, now there’s more threats. Like I can’t keep them as contained, especially after they get their license. And I feel like Doug’s gonna have way more input on this because his kids are older, mine are in the younger stage. But I wanna learn from both of you.


As I go forward. So if you could kind of talk about that 10 to 18 year old range.


Doug (40:01.326)

And they may be less likely to talk to you in that 10 to 18 than they were in that zero to 10.


CJ Scarlet (40:05.35)

Yes, you’re exactly right. And Doug, I know  this, crime has gone down, a one-on-one crime has gone down dramatically. We live in a safer time now than when I was a kid in the 60s. But it’s where it’s going up. People don’t believe it. They don’t. But where crime is going up in a seriously bad way is online. And the older your child gets, and the more likely they are to have a cell phone, and that’s where another electronic device is gaming systems pose a threat, because if they’re playing online with other players.


Kelly (40:15.63)

And people don’t believe it though. People don’t believe that. No, it’s true.


CJ Scarlet (40:35.566)

There are 50 year old guys pretending to be 17 year old boys, and where the real danger happens is when the child takes the phone into their bedroom at night. Never, never, never let your kid take any electronic devices to bed with them at night. I don’t care if it’s a tablet or gaming system or whatever, do not do it. Because if you do, you’re basically inviting a predator into your child’s bedroom at night.


There’s no reason for them to have that. They’re supposed to be sleeping and getting rest. And you don’t want to open up the Pandora’s box because what predators will do is they will say, they’ll pose it as a younger person, their child’s age, your child’s age, and they’ll say, let’s swap photos. And they’ll send a photo from some stock photo site. Send me a cute picture of you in your jammies. That’ll be fun. And then it’s “send me a picture of you in your bra”. That’ll be fun. And the next thing , the child has sent a nude selfie to this predator and then they’ve got them. That’s when the sixth extortion begins.


That’s when they start saying, if you don’t do what I say and give me more and more explicit photos, I will share this with your friends and family, with your parents, with your school buddies. I’ll post it online. And the child terrified, does whatever the perpetrator asks, sometimes giving him thousands of photos, that they are trading online or selling online, like Pokemon cards with other pedophiles. And that’s where children are committing suicide over this.


Doug (41:57.774)

And for those parents who are listening to this, I think, and you may have let your kids have their phone in their room, it’s okay. You’re still the parent and you can stop today. And it won’t necessarily be easy. We know it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be really angry. But it’s worth it and it’s worth dealing with it now.


CJ Scarlet (42:08.586)

You can.


CJ Scarlet (42:20.478)

Yes, it absolutely is. Your child will get over it. They’ll scream and tell you you’re the worst parent in the world. They’ll stomp up and go to their room and they may not come down for several hours, which is an opportunity for you to read a book for once. They’ll come down when they’re hungry enough. They’ll be furious with you and they’ll let  it. But if you don’t stick to your guns, you are making your child more vulnerable. And I’m sorry to talk about such a scary topic, but this is the reality for a lot of people. A lot of kids are sending these nude selfies.


and it endangers them, even if they’re just sharing it with their boyfriend, what happens when they break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend? And suddenly that person shows it to their friends. We’re talking federal charges here. We’re talking national sex offender registry stuff here. There are kids as young as 10 who’ve been put on the national sex offender registry for this.


Kelly (43:03.622)

Well, and I think.


Kelly (43:07.718)

Right. And that’s, you mentioned it’s scary or, sorry to bring it up. It’s like, no, that’s why we started this podcast is to have the real discussions about the real threats that we’re facing, not sugar coat it, not pretend like it’s not happening, not shy away from having those difficult conversations because then we’re not going to learn. And I thought of something of a story. Even if let’s say you have your electronics,


CJ Scarlet (43:26.55)

That’s right.


Kelly (43:34.314)

Not in the rooms, they’re in, let’s say a central location in your kitchen or your dining room, they’re all plugged in. And I don’t want to like, but there may be somebody in this session right now that may have a story from catching one, perhaps one of their kids, but like kids sneak to sneak down, they can come down and get that in the middle of the night. So establishing some of these rules and maybe explaining


Why? Do you think that helps with kids get it and understand why you have the rules that you have?


CJ Scarlet (44:09.458)

No, they don’t. Put simply, they don’t. Kids are gonna be angry over this. Some kids will understand it, of course, but a lot of them are gonna resist it. No, no, I suggest you get Bark. I have just become a brand ambassador for bark.us, which is the leading parental monitoring app company, and they cover more than 30 social media apps, YouTube, TikTok, all of those. And what they do is you put the app on your kids, any electronic device your kid touches.


Kelly (44:15.474)

So then are you saying we should lock electronics up at night maybe? Oh.


CJ Scarlet (44:37.638)

And it will let  where your child’s location is at all times. You can use the app to limit their screen time. You can use it to see where they’re going. You don’t have to spy on your child and read through all their tests because your kid deserves a private life. What Bark does is it will notify you if something sketchy happens. If the child talks about suicidal ideation or sexting or selfies or…


Meeting someone they don’t know online, it will notify you so you can take action and not have to worry about spying on your kid all the time to find these things out.


Kelly (45:14.854)

Because it’s filtering certain words or images even. Because I think that’s something that parents are like, well, how does that know?


CJ Scarlet (45:16.37)

It’s filtering the conversations. Yes, exactly. Yes, yes.


CJ Scarlet (45:26.258)

I don’t know how it does it, but it does a great job of it. That’s why they’re the leading monitoring app company. They also have a bark phone, which you can db down. So if your kid sends an inappropriate text, you can literally take texting off their phone and make it a brick. They can call you and they can call 911 and that’s it, until they show more responsible behavior. So there are a lot of options they have for protecting your kid, but rather than trying to…


Hyper-monitor your child to keep them from all dangers, get the app, whether it’s Bark or another monitoring company, and put it on your kid’s devices that they’ll use, including your family computer and his gaming system, and let that take the heavy lifting off of you, the parent.  that they’ve got your back, and they’re gonna notify you if anything’s happening. And you let your kid know, too, that it’s there, so they maybe be on their best behavior. Maybe.


CJ Scarlet (46:19.999)

Because I was sure I sure was really sneaky at 15. I thank God every day they didn’t have girls gone wild or Facebook when I was a teenager.


CJ Scarlet (46:29.934)

I thank God every day I would have been in trouble.


Kelly (46:30.093)

Oh my goodness.


Kelly (46:35.234)

Oh, that’s excellent. Well, we’ll definitely add the information. I’ve heard about bark for a couple years. And I’m now at that stage of life, or I guess I should say my kids are at the stage of life where that is more something I’m paying attention to. Because we’re getting to that point of wanting their own electronics. And right now it’s, it’s pretty tame. They’re pretty, I’ve got them pretty locked down. And, and of course I say that and it’s


I don’t like the idea of sneaking and looking at my kids’ iPads or their phones, and yet I’m the parent. And so I am going to look at that every once in a while, but I don’t do it every night, I don’t do it all the time. So having an app right now that is working all the time would be helpful.


CJ Scarlet (47:17.241)

You’ve gotta be at a great age.


CJ Scarlet (47:24.85)

Yeah, and I talk about in my books about how to have the conversation with your child, introduce them to Facebook and things like that. Let’s pick a safe username that’s not too provocative. Let’s talk about your profile. What does that look like? Here are the sites you can go on. Yes, I get your password. Choose a password together that’s safe and let them know what some of the rules are. Don’t ever share your address. Don’t ever share your school because predators can use these to track the child. So there’s ways to have conversations with them that are going to guide them to safe behavior versus unsafe behavior. And if you’re the one giving them this information, they’re not getting it from their clueless friends.


Doug (48:00.906)

Success of this, so CJ, is predicated upon parents understanding, A, the need to do this, and B, the willingness to engage with their kids in a society where so often, the kids kind of seem to be in control versus the parents. So how do you encourage those parents that are struggling with where to start on this?


Kelly (48:00.936)



CJ Scarlet (48:23.446)

I start them where they are. In my books, I first talk about what the dangers are, which can be scary. I mean, it’s not pleasant to talk about sex trafficking and kidnapping and sexual molestation and assault, but the parents who are attracted to my books are ones that already have a bent towards safety consciousness. I wish I could reach out to every parent and shake them and say, please, for the love of God, read my book or somebody else’s book on how to protect your child, because it’s so worth it. Otherwise, you’re gonna be paying for therapy bills for the next 30 years.


Frederick Douglass said, and I’m paraphrasing here, it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults. That’s absolutely true. The more effort you put into your child now, the less you have to pick up the pieces afterward. And so having these conversations with them at a level that is at their age and maturity level and your comfort level, according to your morals and family values, things like that, can save your child so much pain. My parents did not have these conversations with me.


Doug (48:59.978)



CJ Scarlet (49:20.746)

We didn’t talk about boundaries, we didn’t talk about sex, we didn’t talk about any of those things that would have protected me. And I suffered as a result of that. And I’m determined to do as much as I can to prevent other parents and kids from having to go through that same kind of pain.


Kelly (49:35.774)

I love it. Well, and one thing that you had shared is that you, a super simple exercise to identify people in your kid’s life who may pose a danger to them. Can you share that with our listeners as kind of a good takeaway for this episode? Not that you haven’t given a lot of good takeaways already. I should have changed how I said that.


CJ Scarlet (49:51.89)

Yes, this is called the trust circle. This is called the trust circle and it’s very simple. You get out a sheet of paper with your child and you have them, let them do it. Have them draw a circle in the middle about maybe two inches in diameter and they put their own name in the circle as a person they should most trust. They’re at the center and tell them that. You should trust yourself and your intuition more than anybody else in the whole wide world. So you go in the center of the circle. Have them draw a slightly larger circle where they put.


the names of people that they’re especially close to and that should hopefully include that they trust. Mom and dad, grandma, Uncle Kenny, school teacher, coach, whatever. And then another circle, slightly larger, for people that they know and they like and trust, but that are not super close to them. So it may be a teacher, it may be a minister, it may be a friend’s mother or whatever. And outside all of the circles, you say to your child, put down the names of people.


outside all the circles that you don’t feel comfortable with, that you don’t trust. And then zip your pie hole, shut up and do not speak and let them think about it. And if you’re lucky after a few minutes and keep quiet the whole time, if you do a few minutes, they’ll go, I can’t think of anybody to put there. Or they may say, I don’t trust my coach. That has to lead to a discussion about why they don’t trust their coach. That’s a cue for you.


that there’s something going on that makes your child feel uncomfortable. And it may be something as simple as he tickles me or he wrestles with me and I don’t like it, it makes me feel icky. And it may not mean that person’s predatory. It may mean that they have very poor judgment and boundaries themselves, but a conversation needs to be had with that person clearly, or it may indicate something more serious. On my website, on my freebies page and my resources section, I have actual articles about what to do if your child’s being bullied, what to do if they’re being abused, the criminal, what the criminal justice process looks like.


things like that parents can get access to if something is happening, and I’m also very accessible. If a parent doesn’t know where to go or how to get help, and there’s so much help out there, but if they don’t know, they can email me and I’ll guide them. I’ll tell them where to find the help they need.


Kelly (52:00.518)

That’s awesome. And we will list links to all of your websites and your social media handles. You had shared those with us, Facebook, Instagram, linked in YouTube as well. So we’ll definitely share all of those links in the show notes. So anyone listening.


CJ Scarlet (52:13.894)

And I also can offer them a 10% off bar if they’re interested in it. I’ll give you that link too.


Kelly (52:19.362)

Okay, awesome. I will make a note to add that. Is there anything else before we’re getting close here to ending time, Doug, that you wanted to say as a takeaway or any last thoughts?


Doug (52:30.686)

I think my primary encouragement is to our listeners out there to get involved with your kids. It’s worth it. Stay involved with them, even when it’s hard, because through that, they will know you love them. Right? It’s the creation and the holding of those boundaries to help them grow into learning how to assess and decision risk that is kind of that manifestation of how much you love them.


CJ Scarlet (52:56.35)

And I want to speak directly to your listeners as well and say, thank you. You are a total badass to whoever’s listening to this because you would not be listening to this podcast if you did not already care about your child or children. And so I say good for you and I applaud your efforts and just the fact that you care like that is an indicator to your child that you are somebody they can come to that.


that they can trust when the going gets tougher, when they have red flags or things like that. So congratulations to all of you for just listening to Kelly and Doug and paying attention to these speakers that they bring on who are sharing these little bits of information and wisdom.


Kelly (53:33.918)

Well, Mike dropped to that, CJ. I’m not even gonna say anything after that. That was phenomenal. Thank you so much for coming on the show. That went really fast, that conversation. And we will definitely tell all of our listeners to connect to these links that CJ mentioned so that you can get that information. Because a lot of our listeners listen while they’re driving cars or out walking, so they’re not exactly pen and paper handy.


CJ Scarlet (53:36.827)



CJ Scarlet (53:45.62)

It did.


CJ Scarlet (53:56.486)

I’m sorry.


Kelly (53:59.79)

And that’s why we put it all in the show notes on the website for thediamondarrowgroup.com. But with that, I am going to sign off. Thank you to all of our lovely listeners for again, downloading and listening regularly to all of our fantastic guests. It’s been just so much fun having so many different people on, but all striving to empower individuals to build their own safety skills. 


Doug (53:59.935)

Be safe.


Kelly (54:26.386)

With that, I will sign off and remind everyone to just live life on their terms and thrive unafraid.