Have you been teaching your child about stranger danger by just repeating the same line, “Don’t talk to strangers”? How do you expect your child to react to situations when lost and needs to take help from strangers?
We need to take a deeper look at problem statement of teaching our child about strangers and find a better solution that the child can follow in all situations.
Here are a few tips to help you teach your child about the important safety principle and easy way for your child to tell whether strangers are okay to talk to.
While the general definition of “someone unfamiliar” is usually apt, you need to tell your child that unfamiliar does not always mean that he/she is a bad person. Help your child understand that not every dark looking person is bad and beautiful looking person is good. You will want to tell your child that the first person that he/she should approach in case your child needs help, should be a person in uniform like a policeman, waiter or a coach.
Stay in a group
Teach your child to play in a group and stay together. There are fewer safety concerns if your child is in a group. While it’s not always possible, tell your child to stay in sight and avoid unsafe places.
Help your child identify unsafe places
You can easily mark parking lots, lonely streets, quiet lift, dark playgrounds and other such places as unsafe places for your child to go alone.
Trust your instincts
Teach your child to be able to tell if it is a trap or truth. If an adult is asking a child for help or if a stranger is asking them to visit their home alone, there is probably something wrong with that. Make your child feel confident about his/her gut feelings and follow them.
Equip your child with powerful words
While we have been teaching our child to respect and obey elders, it might be difficult for him/her to raise a voice when the situation arises. But if your child is confident that it is a bad stranger and does not need to be polite to them, he/she is more likely to ask them to get back. Teach them simple words like “No”, “Stay away”. Tell them its okay to shout for help. Also, encourage your child to share his/her experience, if they thought that someone was stepping the line or made him/her feel unsafe.
Define family rules
Safe family rules like never going to a stranger’s home alone, never taking a ride of someone unknown and sharing personal details should be enforced and repeated from time to time.
Be careful about teaching your child about strangers, as you want to protect your child from unknown dangers without stepping on their confidence.