Children encounter strangers every day and while most of these strangers are non-threatening, there are some that children need to be aware of and take steps to stay safe. In today’s society, educators and parents must teach children about stranger danger for kids.
Who is a Stranger?
Simply put, a stranger is anyone that the child does not know well. Many times a bad stranger, or someone who is out to hurt the child, is portrayed as a villainous and scary person. This is not always the case and children need to be made aware. A bad stranger can be anyone that the child encounters. It is best to stay alert and keep their guard up even if the stranger looks nice.
When talking to a child about the dangers of strangers, emphasize that strangers can look like anyone. Give them a list of the strangers it is alright to seek help from if they are in a situation where they need to get away from someone trying to harm them. Be sure to list who these safe strangers would be and to always go to a public place to ask for help. Reinforce who the safe strangers are by pointing them out when you are in public with the child or you see them on television.
Stranger danger revolves around children recognizing dangerous situations and knowing how to handle them. Help them understand what the warning signs are of someone acting suspicious. This can include an adult asking the child to disobey their parents and do something without permission. Tell them that an adult should never as a child for help or ask them to keep a secret. Instruct the child to immediately find a safe adult for help.
One way that parents are teaching their children to stay safe is the “No-Go-Yell-Tell” method. This teaches the child to tell the stranger no, back away from the stranger yelling and screaming and then to seek a safe adult for help.
Parents are also responsible for keeping their children safe and there are a few precautions that they can take to help.
- Keep tabs on your children by knowing where they are and who they are with. Make sure your children have your cell phone number, work phone number and other emergency phone numbers.
- Reinforce where safe places are located and tell them how to get there should they find themselves in trouble.
- Let the child know it is alright to trust their instincts. If they are scared or uncomfortable with a situation, it is okay if they walk away. Let them know that they still need to tell you or another adult if they encounter such a situation.
- Assertiveness will get the child far when presented with a stranger danger. Let them know it is alright to say no to an adult if they are threatened.
Begin teaching children about stranger danger at an early age and keep reinforcing the same concepts over and over. Parents are the first line of defense against strangers threatening their children and by giving them the tools necessary to get away from a stranger, they could be saving their life.