It's a big bad
Children, for the most part, think
that the world is a delightful place to be explored. Life is particularly
enjoyable as everyone they meet tends to cosset and pamper them. Some children
are temperamentally shy or wary of strangers, but generally they are trusting
and friendly, responding to any positive overtures made to them.
We all know it's a big bad world
out there. Every day the newspapers are filled with gruesome stories of
killing, kidnapping and abuse. Parents worry about letting their children
out of their sight. But you can't always protect your children from every
possible danger. Another point that parents should keep in mind is that
children do not necessarily have to leave their homes to be mistreated.
It's hard to believe but in many cases, child abuse and neglect often happen
in the home itself and family members or close friends have been found
to be the perpetrators. However, such cases are the exception rather than
Wary, but not
Given this scenario, it's no wonder
that parents are filled with trepidation. They realize that their children
will have to move out from under their wing sooner rather than later. It
is important that they do not transfer their fears to their children so
that they become scared of their own shadows, afraid to go out and face
the world. The need of the hour is to make children street smart and savvy,
not scared. The world should be a beautiful place for them, not one where
there is a bogeyman around every corner and where every stranger is a villain.
Tips to make your
child street smart and savvy
Be calm and matter-of-fact when laying
down guidelines about how to act around strangers. There is no point giving
them the impression that every stranger should be looked upon with extreme
suspicion as they are bound to mean harm.
Discuss this issue like you would any
other safety issue such as playing with fire or crossing the road.
If you're leaving your children with
a friend or relative, make it a point to repeat the instructions to them
too in front of your children.
Tell your children never to accept a
lift, or any offers for food or invitations to play without first taking
your permission or permission of the adult they are with.
Tell them not to talk to strangers.
They should also avoid playing or walking
alone. They should always stick to a group of children.
If for some reason they are alone at
home and the doorbell rings, they should not open the door.
Similarly, if a stranger telephones
when they are alone at home they should just take a message without volunteering
any information or indicating that they are alone.
Engage in role-play occasionally. Tell
your children to pretend that you're a stranger trying to talk to them
in a street and ask them what they would do.
Do not create fear in their minds by
going into graphic detail about all the terrible things that can happen
to them if they talk to strangers.
Test your children by getting a friend
to telephone your house pretending to be a stranger when you are out and
see how your children handle the situation.