Monica | 2010-02-23
I have become totally paranoid with safety and the whole aspect of strangers - talking, touching, smiling, waving... I forbid my kids to talk, smile or wave at strangers. They are 3 and 2 years old.
They often tell me "If they touch me I will smack them, mommy". But seriously anyone else freaked out with all the child snatching and your child's safety? What more or else can one do?
It is absolutely normal to be concerned about your child's safety, especially in times like these, and kids are never too young to be taught about stranger danger. To teach your children to be sociable, confident and friendly, but then tell them not to talk to strangers and to be cautious is not an easy task.
So what can you do to teach your child about stranger danger? Here are some simple guidelines:
* Teach your child, if a stranger tries to take you somewhere, you should yell out, “this is not my mother” or “this is not my father!” at the top of your voice. This will draw attention from bystanders and it will be obvious that it's not just a temper tantrum.
* Tell your children never speak to people they don’t know. Alot of children will equate bad strangers to fairytale monsters so you need to explain that bad strangers look like normal people and not like the "big bad wolf".
* Never give out personal information to someone you don’t know and don't have have your child's name visible on their clothing or belongings. Children will trust a stranger more if they know the child's name.
* Teach your child is to use a “buddy system” when going places without a parent, that is always stay close to a friend and never go out alone.
* Teach your child NEVER to get into a car with a stranger, despite bribes of candy, chocolates and/or cute animals. Also tell them that mommy or daddy will never send anyone to fetch them from school or a friend, unless they are told otherwise.
* Teach your child their telephone number and home address in case they get seperated from you. You can also use identification bands for smaller children.
* Teach your children that touching is a no-no! No-one should be allowed to touch them on their face, neck, head or private parts. And no-one should see their private parts (of course with exception to parents and caregivers). When they are young, children do need to bathe, potty-train, get dressed etc and they are too young yet to understand the concept but you can start letting them know the rules from an early age.
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