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Teaching Your Child To Avoid Strangers

Posted by in Home: Parenting  ~  June 07, 2012 07:19:59 PM

Children are raised with a number of what seems to be conflicting signals from the adults in their lives. One of the most confusing lessons we are taught as youngsters is to “never talk to strangers” and to stay away from them. This lesson on the surface seems clearcut, but to a child it is confusing. Every person that your child meets as a child is a stranger. A new teacher, a new classmate, and a new doctor are all strangers to a child. How do they know who is okay and who is not? That is a question parents find themselves asking as well. Here is how to teach your child about strangers so that they are not confused.

The first step in teaching your child about strangers is to talk with them openly. Explain that there are men and women out there that are friendly, and there are men and women who are not. The ones that are not often act like they are, so your child should not depend on that. Explain that your child should never speak to someone they do not know without Mommy and Daddy there, or unless they are introduced by Mommy and Daddy. Even then, they should stay with Mommy and Daddy until they say otherwise.

To help your child understand who is and who is not a stranger, make a little card for them. On this card, list all of the people that your child can safely trust. My family called this the trust card. Include every last person that you would feel safe being around your child alone. Teachers, parents, sisters, brothers, Aunts, Uncles, childcare professionals and anyone else that can safely be added onto the list. Explain to your child that anybody that is not on the list is a stranger. Explain that no matter what the other person says, they should not be alone with them, or go with them anywhere.

Children are remarkably smart and remember everything. They will have little problems remembering this list as they grow. Do not forget to have a talk about policemen and firemen. All public service officials should be included on the list, but only with an explanation. Explain that the child should always be aware that strangers can sometimes act like they are police and so on. Make them show a uniform or badge before your child listens to them. Also, teach your child to ask to call Mommy or Daddy before they go with anyone. Any policeman or public serviceman will gladly oblige this offer and be impressed with the child’s intelligence.

The biggest mistake as parents that we can make is to think our children are unable to handle reality. The truth is, reality is going to come to our children one way or the other. It is better to let them know the dangers that are out there, and how to deal with them. Our children are much safer when we know that they are aware.