Unfortunately, today’s society makes it essential that children be taught how to act around strangers. No longer can adults let their children play outside without supervision or fear of a possible abduction? Even small towns are not immune to the threat of a child being abducted and harmed in some way. Offending strangers may search for their prey in parks, supermarkets, arcades, and neighborhoods. Even your own front yard may not be a safe haven for your child.
What can you do to ensure that your child knows how to react to a stranger? First, you need to help your child understand just what the definition of a stranger might be. Your child may have a preconceived idea that a stranger is a scary looking man who lurks in the shadows just waiting to pounce. In reality, a stranger could be a pleasant-looking lady walking her dog or a sad old man who says he is lost.
While many of the strangers your child will encounter will be perfectly harmless, there is always the chance that he may meet someone who is full of harmful intent. Educating your child can be the best defense. You should begin talking to your child about how to react to strangers as soon as he is old enough to understand.
One of the first things you need to explain to your child is that strangers come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and ages. Your child could just as easily be abducted by a teenage boy as he could a man in his thirties. He also needs to understand that a stranger doesn’t have to be someone he doesn’t know or doesn’t know him. A stranger could be his soccer coach or troop leader. Although they are acquaintances, you may not know them well enough to trust them completely, and neither should your child.
It is important that you talk to your child about certain precautions she should get into the habit of taking. She should never walk up to a person in a car who tries to call her over. Help her understand that there may be certain scenarios that a stranger may use to entice her close enough to him that she could be taken.
He may say he is looking for his dog, or he has lost his way. He may try to tell her that her mother is hurt, and he was sent to pick her up and take her to the hospital. Tell her that just because he knows her name, doesn’t mean she should trust him. He may have seen her name on her shirt or backpack. He may have heard a friend call her by name.
Be very explicit when you tell her that you will never send anyone to get her that you and she don’t know personally. Give her examples of specific people that she will be allowed to go with, such as a family member or close friend. You can even have a predetermined code word that only you, your child, and a family member, or friend knows. That word would be a code that someone familiar to you would say if there was ever a problem.
Instruct your child that he should never come within arm’s reach of a stranger. If a stranger does grab him, he needs to yell loudly and kick as hard as possible. You may want to instruct him to yell specific words, such as I don’t know you! Help! You’re a stranger You can have him practice these words with you. Let him know that he should never get into a vehicle with someone, even if it is someone he knows unless he has your permission.
You should also tell your child not to believe someone if that person says he will hurt your child or you if your child tells about something that person has done to him. Stress to him that the person is lying, and that he should never keep secrets from you! Don’t forget to tell your child that even another young person could harm him and that he should never go off with anyone without your permission.
Times have certainly changed from the innocence of decades past. Child abductions and abuse are every parent’s nightmare, and we must educate our children so that they have the knowledge and the understanding of what could happen in order to keep them safe.Times have certainly