I think it’s time for some Stranger Danger Education! So today was a day like any other at the begginning. Little Man and I started the day off with breakfast, and then it was raining so we snuggled on the couch and watched a movie. After the movie I decided that maybe we would go the the mall to take a look at a few things because I wanted to purchase a book to read and I figured we’d go take a look at his fave store and maybe buy him a treat. The trip went really well and since I don’t drive we took a bus both ways. On the way back we stopped at the bus terminal to transfer busses, I had my hands full but Little Man is usually so good and sticks beside me and he holds my hand like a champ. Today was different….
We were standing there waiting for the bus, Little man was standing directly beside me when all of a sudden a man came up from in front of us (I saw him coming) held out his hand to Little Man and said: “Let’s go!” Little Man took his hand and they started to walk away in a different direction away from the busses! They didn’t get very far because I dropped all my belongings and grabbed Little Man’s other hand back and yanked him back towards me all the while yelling profanities I have never even heard myself utter (and believe me that’s saying something) and threatening the man’s life (yes, I know that was all bad to do in front of my child…) Of course the man let go.. I am not sure WHY he did that or WHAT he was thinking but my mind was racing, my heart had stopped and I was just glad that Little Man was ok. The guy just laughed and walked away- Not sure what the heck that was all about but I was terrified. We got on the bus got home and I reported the incident to the police.
This incident led to a serious conversation with Little Man about “Stranger Danger” and why he should NEVER go with someone he doesn’t know. Little man is totally lovely and polite and LOVES people and I don’t want that to change but what I DO want to change is his willingness to just go off with ANYONE. This experience led me to do some research and try to find out the best way that I can go about teaching my Little Man how to be safe without terrifying him and I thought I would share the things I learned with you guys…. You’re Welcome 😉
Stranger Danger Education
The main goal to teaching your child about “Stranger Danger” is to teach them without frightening them about the entire world, which can be quite the task. Of Course we want our children to feel as though the world they live in is a safe place and we certainly don’t want our kids to think that everyone is out to get them and hurt them.
It may seem that your child is too young to teach them stranger awareness but the truth of the matter is that there are many things we can practice and teach to make sure that our child’s safety is maximized.
1. Try to explain to your little one that strangers are anyone they don’t know- but not ALL strangers are bad. Also teach them that the “Bad Strangers” look just like everyone else so that is why they have to be careful with everyone they don’t know.
2. Children need to be taught what is ok behavior and what is not acceptable. Most young children do not understand about touching safety so these are the children predators target. Make sure you teach your children that they have private areas that no one is permitted to see or touch- and that if this line is crossed they need to tell an adult or parent immediately.
3. If your child is school age and intends on walking home from school (Providing its a small distance) make sure that they walk in groups or pairs. Never alone and that they follow the same route every time- if they plan to change the route they take home, have them call to notify you first.
4. Have a special word that only you and your child know in the case of an emergency. Perhaps set up another code word that anyone that is permitted to pick up your child from school or play group will know so that way your child will know it’s ok to go with that person.
5. Make sure that you outfit your Children with tools such as a whistle. This should be kept in a location that is easy to access when needed. Your child should know to bow the whistle if they are uncertain about something. Your child should also (If old enough) know exactly how and where to reach you in case of an emergency situation.
6. Animals and Candy are two of the most common tactics that predators use to lure children into a potentially dangerous situation- tell your children to keep a safe distance away from any stranger with either of these things and never accept anything from a stranger.
7. NEVER keep your childs name visibly printed on ANYTHING strangers could see. If you are going to label their clothing keep it on the inside where no one can see it. If a predator sees a child’s name and uses it, the child tends to instinctively trust them.
8. Your Children need to keep you informed of where they are and when they will return. If they change their plans they need to contact you to inform you of such changes. This should be house rule and should be implemented.
9. Inform your children that if they do get lost they aren’t to change locations. They have a better chance of being found if they don’t wander off any further. If there is a police officer or security guard near by they should inform them that they are unsure of their or your whereabouts.
10. And of course, once they are old enough perhaps role play some situations to gauge what their responses would be in situations and teach them what they SHOULD be.