It is our duty as parents to teach our kids to be wary of strangers and teach them certain rules they should follow to ensure that they are safe. Teaching your child about stranger danger is so important, and to do this, you need to teach them that they have control and responsibility for themselves and their bodies.
When teaching your child about stranger danger, it is important to reinforce the idea that they are in control, and if they feel uncomfortable when approached by a strange adult, or minor, then they have the authority to do something about it.
Here are some things to remember when teaching your child about stranger danger:
Never Accept Rides From Strangers
Teach your child that an adult has no business trying to offer them a ride, or trying to entice them into a car. No matter how convincing their story might sound, you should teach your child to always walk away and call for help.
Abusers Don’t Look Like Abusers
We are all so familiar with the idea of a stranger lurking in the darkness, all dressed in black waiting to pounce. Allowing your child to imagine dangerous people like this can actually endanger them. You need to teach them that abusers don’t look like abusers. They can be men, women, or even other children.
Don’t Only Be Wary Of Strangers
Danger doesn’t just come from strangers, often it can be from adults who the child is familiar with. Due to this, you need to enforce the idea that their body is their own, and they need to decide what they are comfortable with.
You definitely need to teach your child the concept of consent. They need to understand that they control who can and cannot touch their body. They should also feel empowered to be able to leave a situation when it does not feel right.
Finding Their Voice
It is a good idea to get your child to practice saying no, and how to get out of situations. For a child, standing up to an adult and saying ‘no’ can be really scary! Roleplay with them and give them the confidence that they need to stand up for themselves in a situation.
Don’t let them think that because they are younger, they have no say. Once again, they are in control of their own bodies, and they are the only ones who have a say with what they feel comfortable with.
Always Back Them Up
If your child decides they don’t want to hug a family member or a friend, or they don’t want to be tickled, always back them up. You need to show that you respect their decisions over their own body. This gives them their own authority, and the confidence they need to stand up for themselves.
As a parent, you need to back your children up. You might not always agree with them, and you might beg and plead for them to hug a family member, but this will go against what you are teaching them about stranger danger.
Teach your child that abusers don’t always look scary and that an adult has no business approaching a child or asking them to help find a lost pet, or even offering them some candy. As sad as it is, we need to protect our children from these potential dangers, and the best way to do that is to teach them to protect themselves!