Stranger Danger is one of the most important lessons for children to learn. We all know the catch phases like “Don’t talk to strangers”, “Never get into a car with a stranger”, and “Don’t take candy from a stranger.” The phases are simple reminders for kids, but they can make the child insecure and fearful. How can we teach about stranger danger without scaring them or give them nightmares? Here’s some quick tips to keeping your child safe.
What is a Stranger?
The first thing to teach children is the difference between a friend and a stranger. Statistics show that casual acquaintances perpetuate most abductions. Children wrongly assume that because the parent says “hi” to the clerk at the grocery store, that they are friends. Quiz your child in the difference between a stranger and a friend. Ask them if… a teacher is a friend or stranger, how about the cashier at Blockbuster, or your neighbor that you have know for 5 years, etc.? This drill is an excellent start.
Saying No to Adults
We teach our children to respect adult and listen to them so most children have difficulty say no to adults. Child Predators exploit this tendency to abduct children by telling them to get into a car with a stern voice. The stern voice makes the child feel they did something wrong and comply with the demands.
Teaching your child, that it is okay to say no to strangers and that they ALWAYS need to ask parent’s permission first before meeting stranger’s demands. Parents can role-play the parts of the stranger and have child say no.
What’s the Secret Password?
In the case of an emergency, create a family password that only you and your child know. A friend may need to pick up your child at school or an activity. How does your child know that you asked them to pick them up and it’s not a trick? Yes, you got it, the family password. The child asks the friend for the family password and if they know it, the child knows that you did send them and everything’s okay. Don’t forget to change the password once it is used.
Important Information your child should know
Teach your child some vital information will assist if they get lost. You should quiz them periodically to ensure they remember it. Give them lots of praise and attention for answering correctly. The vital information for the child to know is your full home address, home phone number, both parent’s full names, and cell phone numbers. Many kids are shy around other adults so it’s important to build their confidence so they can repeat the information to a police officer or another person trying to help.
Know thy enemy
Awareness is power in abduction safety. Parents should know if any child predators live in their area. Parents can go to http://www.familywatchdog.us to search for child predators with prior conviction in your area.