I am sure you are familiar with the term “Stranger Danger”. Do you remember as a child how your parents & grandparents always told you not to talk to strangers? That’s a conversation that every parent has had with their child and most of us are 100% confident that we have done such a great job at this that “our” child would never talk to or go with a stranger, right? Well according to all those television specials where the kids are setup to see if they will talk to/approach a stranger we still have some work to do.
Here’s how the scenario works…A stranger will approach a child while a parent watches from a secret location to see how their kids react. Here is my question… If you test your child once and they fail by talking to a stranger or going with them, what would they do if it really happened? Would they think it was another test and they were safe because you are nearby watching?
- We recently had a conversation with a concerned parent about wanting to “scare” their child because her daughter was too trusting and talks to everyone. Is this really the best idea? We don’t think so. Create a “Safe List” for your child instead of the whole conversation being about “Stanger Danger”
- Involve your child when you create their Safe List. When it’s less scary they are more likely to pay attention.
- Keep the list to short 5-7 people is what we recommend.
- Create a fun test for your kids based on their age.
- Are grandma & grandpa on the list? What color car do they drive?
- What’s the make & model?
- Are your neighbors on the list? Does your child know their first and last name?
- Does your child carry a cell phone? Be sure to program the people on their “Safe List” to the phone.
- If you want to test your children
- Discuss the shows on TV and ask them what they would do?
- If you say hello to an acquaintance on the street who you know isn’t on your child’s list, ask them if they would go with them. Remember, safety can be simple!
Tracy Vega, Co-Founder Simple Self Defense for Women