Most parents begin teaching their children not to talk to strangers when they begin school, or even as early as when they begin talking. However, teaching your kids not to talk to strangers isn’t that simple a task. There are some strangers they should learn to speak to, such as store employees and new kids at school.
Most strangers children meet each day are friendly people, but there is a chance that at some point your child will come across a stranger that is not so nice and may have bad intentions towards your child.
This is why it's important to not just teach your children not to talk to strangers, but to teach them how to suspect suspicious behaviors and how to protect themselves in situations where a stranger scares them, otherwise known as stranger danger.
11 So, who’s the stranger?
A stranger is anyone that isn’t known well by a person. Just knowing someone’s name doesn’t make them any less of a stranger. It’s important to let your children know that unsafe strangers don’t always look like bad guys, like movie portray.
Strangers that look safe can be dangerous too. You can’t tell if a person is nice or not just by their appearance. That is why it is important to be careful when it comes to being around any new people you don’t know well.
10 Who’s a safe stranger?
While explaining the significance of strangers to your child, be sure that they know not all strangers are bad, and at some point they may need the help of a stranger if they get lost. Those people they can go to are safe strangers.
Safe strangers include firefighters, police officers and medical personal, as well as teachers and librarians at school. When you are out with your children, point out safe strangers around town so that they know where they can go for help, include showing them safe places too.
When it comes to approaching a safe stranger, encourage your child to do so in a public place where other people are around.
9 Recognizing stranger danger
Teach your children what a dangerous situation looks like so they understand what stranger danger is. If they learn the warning signs of stranger danger they will be better prepared to protect themselves. Warning signs include any suspicious behavior.
This can be an adult asking them to disobey their parents and do something without parental permission, asking them to keep a secret, or anything else that makes them feel comfortable. Adults asking children for help are also suspicious.
They aren’t being mean turning down helping an adult because an adult should never ask a child for help when another adult would be better at assisting.
8 Non-stranger danger
Strangers aren’t the only people that ever have bad intentions towards children. Teacher your child about the suspicious signs of an adult that may mean them harm will also help protect them from known adults that might not have the best of intentions.
7 What to do in the case of stranger danger
When it comes to handling a dangerous situations, one easy way to teach them what to do is the saying “No, Go, Yell, Tell.”.
They should yell “No,” run away, keep yelling as loud as they can to attract the attention of others, and then tell a trusted adult what happened as soon as they can. When it comes to stranger danger it is definitely OK for your child to say “No” to an adult.
6 The dangers strangers pose
While you might be worried about scaring your child, it is important that they understand why they need to be careful around strangers. There are strangers out there that may want to hurt them physically, sexually and even mentally.
Molestation is just as frightening to children as being kidnapped and they need to know that they can protect themselves by being aware of their surroundings, and knowing what to do when danger shows itself.
5 What else can you do?
Don’t just teach your children to be aware of their surrounding but also learn to stay aware of where your children are at all times. You don’t need to keep them on a leash or be with them every moment of every day, but set up rules and boundaries for them.
4 Rules and regulations for safe kids
Have your child, no matter whether they are a pre-teen or a teen, ask your permission before heading out or at least let you know exactly where they are going. Require them to check in often. Cell phones make this an easy task for both you and your kids. Make sure their phone has more than just your number for safety calls, just in case they can’t get a hold of you in a sticky situation.
3 Instincts and being assertive
Often times our instincts save us from bad situations, which is why it is important to teach kids to trust their instincts.
If a person or situation makes them feel frightened or uncomfortable there is probably a good reason for that and they should get out of that situation and away from that person quickly and get to a trusted adult. This also goes for situations with adults they know too.
2 The buddy system
Once upon a time the buddy system was used all the time, from school to summer camp. Teach your child about the buddy system. Instead of walking or playing alone they should have a friend, or many friends, with them. A stranger is more likely to approach a lone child then a group of children.
1 Let them know the most important thing…
Most importantly, let your children know that you will always be there for them and you will always protect them.
If they know they can come to you with their fears they are more likely to be open about situations they’ve found themselves in. If they feel like they can’t trust you they may keep something bad to themselves, like being molested by a family friend. Also, make sure you tell them you love them!