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Raising Children Topics..

You are here : home > Raising Children > Safety For Your Family > Don't Talk To Strangers

Don't Talk To Strangers

A child's concept of a stranger is very different from ours. Teach your child what exactly is meant by this word.

There are few thoughts as terrifying as the abduction of your young child. The fear causes parents to think long and hard about their children's safety. They tell them in a very clear voice, "Do not to talk to strangers."

The problem is that a child's view of a stranger is very different from a parent's view. From the child's perspective, because a stranger is someone they are supposed to be afraid of, they expect a stranger to look ugly or scary. In fact, few, if any, strangers actually look like the child's notion. Then to make matters more confusing for children, we teach then to respect and listen to their elders and to be polite. Then as role models, children see us talk to people we have never met before, day in and day out. We even have them hug relatives whom they may never have met before!

So young children get it and will not to talk to 'strangers'. They will very willingly avoid scary looking people. However, when confronted by a friendly, kind looking older person, they will likely respond politely, which in most cases means "speaking when spoken to" and as they are taught in school, they will follow their directions.

Helping young children not to talk to strangers or not go with them, takes much more than the simple admonishment, "Don't talk to strangers."

Parents who want to increase the likelihood that their child will avoid or leave from persons unknown must spend a good amount of time talking about the issue and teaching their children on an ongoing basis. These tips may help:

1. When out in the community, in a matter of fact voice, point out the various people and ask your child if s/he knows them. Use this as an opportunity to explain that a stranger is any person we do not know, regardless of what they look like.

2. Next it becomes very important to differentiate the rules for grown-ups and the rules for children. Sometimes simply phasing it as, "Are you old enough to talk to people you don't know by yourself?" and then explain that they must have your permission to do so.

3. In the event a stranger approaches a child, they then must be equipped with strategies to manage the situation. Some parents provide a "code word." Explain to the child if someone doesn't know the code word, they do not have permission to go or talk with the person. In such situations, the child must be instructed to leave the person and immediately go to another adult they know or to an older child if an adult is not available. It important to also teach the child that this is not rude. The child must understand that they have your full permission to leave the situation and to do so immediately.

Managing your child's safety in your absence is truly a scary thought for most parents. We do not want to put undue fear in our children, but we do want to keep them from harm. It is important to understand how our own behaviour may contradict what we want children to do when approached by people they do not know. We have to talk about the difference between what parents may do and what children may do. Only parents may touch the stove… only parents talk to strangers.

Finally, in addition to teaching who NOT to talk to, we must also teach, who they CAN talk to. If for instance, your child is lost in the store, who can they talk to? Develop a list of safe persons your child can talk to - even if they do not know them. The list may include police, fireman, teachers and even cashiers in stores.

Remember, keeping children safe is an ongoing discussion and not a simple one-time set of rules.

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Rajni.8 years ago
as a parents we should make our child relise that the stranger is the person, of whom you don't know any thing about him. instead of making him fear about the stanger we should explain him something
about the stranger. talking is ok. but if he offers you anything then you should not take it.
nancy.8 years ago
nice article on strangers. but does anyone realise, the education board the principal of nursery class etc. give admission only to those children who interact with them. where can a child talk to a principal whom he or she has met only once. how can the authorities expect that our child talk to them, where we only tell the children to be away from strangers. how do we cope up.
Victor Panico.8 years ago
i am a siiiingle fauther and i was raped as a kiiiid and i dont wat my son to go through that and how do i tell him that?
michigan grandma.8 years ago
in this day and age there is no such thing as a safe person unless specifically named by the parent or guardian, ie: grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, an aunt, or uncle, etc. you cannot teach children that all public peoople ie: police, firemen, etc. are safe because of the relative ease of obtaining uniforms for any profession you wish. it is not even safe to assume that a coach or teacher is necessarily a safe person, everyone must evoke a lovel of suspicion. i think the best thing it beginning with the first signs of readiness, very early, teach chiildren to yell, scream, kick, bite, pull hair, etc. if approached by anyone and continue to do so until in the presence of someone they know! i also think that starting with pre-school and going through
high school self defense for age appropriatness needs to be taught and in high school it needs to be made mandatory for boys and girls to have four years of self defense classes in order to graduate. this is not only physical but mental self defense.

because the judicial and legislative system in this country is too stupid to take action against predators which is permanent and stops them in their tracks we, as parents and family members, must pick up the slack. this is not proposing being a vigilanti but being vigilant!
omari midgette.8 years ago
i should not go with strangers stay with my dad and listen to him if i see them don,t go with them and leave them alone.don,t open a door for a stranger don,t let them in the house don,t listen to them irgore them i want to be safe i would,nt go with them do follow them at all they can hurt and take you away stay safe don,t follow them at all do not go with them leave them alone don,t be lost in the store stay with the group get away from them fast as you can
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