Stranger danger, are the buzz words commonly used to refer to the important topic of teaching children about the inherent dangers they may face as they venture out into the world.
Unfortunately the world is a scary place and there are people out there who prey on children.
No doubt, it is a very important issue that all parents must address – and one that requires ongoing, open communication with their children.
The single most important thing to remember when teaching your children about stranger danger is to instill confidence, rather than fear.
You want to equip your child with the knowledge and strategies they will need to protect themselves in dangerous situations. Also, keep your child’s age and maturity level in mind and base lessons upon that.
Again, stranger danger lessons should be ongoing – adapt the conversation as your child grows as he/she is likely to encounter different types of situations.
First and foremost, children need to understand what you mean by stranger.
Not all people unknown to them are necessarily dangerous – they need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” strangers; an overly simplistic dichotomy, but one that puts the issue in terms a child can understand.
This is important so children understand where and to whom to turn if they are ever lost or feel scared, threatened, or if they think someone may be following them.
Examples of “good” strangers may include police officers, security guards, teachers, store clerks, etc. These are all examples of people to turn to if when your child needs help.
On the other hand, in many situations where your child may be approached by a “bad” stranger – the park, residential street, etc – those easily identifiable people may not be around.
Your child should know that there really are many more “good” people, than “bad.”
If they are approached by a “bad” stranger who tries to lure or physically pull them away, the best thing they can do is get the attention of other adults - whether that is by running to the nearest home, or making enough noise to be heard by someone, the vast majority of adults will help a child in danger.
Additionally, the following are important tips and strategies for children to protect themselves:
While sharing the above tips with your child is extremely important, the best way to teach stranger danger lessons is through role-playing scenarios.The Safe Side - Stranger Safety: Hot Tips To Keep Cool Kids Safe With People They Don't Know And Kinda Know