Getting the Family on Board with Home Defense

Small steps can take you a long way in preparing your family and loved ones for self defense, home defense, and other tactical emergencies. 

I have very little doubt that if you’re reading this blog, you’ve given some thought to how you’ll defend your home in the event of a home invasion or other tactical scenario. 

Here’s the problem I’m seeing–we’ll get training for ourselves,  get the guns and tools and be ready to use them, but our families don’t really have a plan for the moments when we’re not around. We kind of just act like we’ll always be there to take care of them. 

So they do nothing to prepare. In fact, a lot of times our families look at us like we’re crazy.

But what if you’re not home? What if you’re out of town? What will your wife and kids do if someone kicks in the front door?

Do they know the plan? Do they have the skills and mindset to respond quickly and effectively when you’re not home?

I love the approach my friend Paul Barlow has taken to prepare his family for tactical emergencies so they can escape harmful situations even when he’s not around. Paul is an alumni of one of my night vision classes and is an avid student of tactical skills for home defense.

Paul has successfully acquired the tactical skills he needs, but he’s also done what many of us haven’t done–an amazing job of also involving his wife and family in their preparation. Here are some things I think we can take away from Paul’s approach to protecting his family.  

Get the Wife on Board with Home Defense

One big step in teaching his family was to involve his wife. So sometimes their dates involved going to the firing range and attending classes on how to handle yourself with firearms in tactical situations. 

If you’ve never had the experience of seeing your wife handle a gun like a pro, you’ve really missed out on one of the great joys in life. 

So I encourage you to enroll you and your spouse in a reputable firearms training course. It’s an important skill for you both to have, and you both may be surprised just how much fun it can be.

Teach Your Teens That Home Defense Isn’t “Lame”

As you might have predicted, when Paul began talking with his 14-year-old daughter, Megan, about learning home defense tactics, she wasn’t all that ecstatic about it. 

“I honestly thought it was lame,” Megan told me. 

So Paul approached the whole thing in a way that still irritates me to this day–and it worked.

“I used the age-old approach that all parents have employed,” Paul said. “I bribed her.”

Paul paid his 14-year-old daughter $100 per class to learn how to shoot, to learn how to administer advanced first aid, and a bunch of other cool skills. Let me reiterate–Paul’s teenage daughter got $100 for something the rest of the world pays more than a hundred dollars a day to train.

I’m still shaking my head at this, but I’m also glad he pulled this trick out of the parenting playbook. Giving his daughter the skills she learned is worth a lot more than the money he paid out for classes and bribery. 

They’re life-long, life-saving skills, and he successfully made a very serious skill set into something that was actually fun. I understand if it seems like an unusual daddy-daughter date, but get this–she actually got excited about learning this stuff herself.

Home Defense Training Isn’t Strange

Once Megan realized how much fun and how useful and non-weird the classes were, she was kind of hooked. It became a hobby that Paul and Megan were able to share together. 

And since those initial classes, Megan has gone all-in.

“I’ve just trained in tactical response, fighting pistol, immediate medical action, fighting rifle, advanced fighting rifle and I’ve role-played for all the force-on-force classes,” Megan said. “I’m also taking car tactics.”

So, in summary, a teenage girl who thought this stuff was lame and strange has become an operator. Small steps, a little bribery, making it fun, and making sure you’re providing some legitimate, high-quality training–these are small increments that can accrue big results. 

For Spouses Resistant to Home Defense Prep

Here’s one final note. For you guys who have reluctant wives, you’re not alone. As I said before, our spouses sometimes look at us like we’re crazy and probably because…maybe we are a little crazy. But what’s not crazy is helping our families to protect themselves. 

Here are some of my thoughts on how to approach the subject of home defense with your loved ones–especially a reluctant spouse. Simplicity and small steps are key.

DON’T SAY.  “This Saturday we’re gearing up in our camouflage and we’re having a mission and an emergency planning day for the family.” 

A lot of families just won’t really be into that. So maybe take a different tack.

DO SAY. “Hey baby. I love you. And when I’m not with you, I worry about you. And so that I can have good peace of mind, would you mind if sometime this weekend you gave me a few minutes to show you what you do in the event that somebody comes into the house? Maybe it’ll never happen and maybe I’m a crazy person, but so that I can feel good when I’m gone and because I love you, could you give me a few minutes somewhere in the week? I’ll let you pick the time.”

Obviously this script will take some adaptation for your particular situation, but you get the point.

Once you take that low-commitment approach and can add several more of those moments into your weeks, you’ve given your spouse a lot of valuable tools to use (that hopefully she’ll never have to). Those moments might even make her interested in more training.

As always – Train hard. Train smart.

For more on emergency preparedness, home defense, tactics, and beyond – check out the WPS Field Guide here.