As adults, we understand what is meant by this term and it is our job to make sure our children do to for their own safety, however by teaching them ‘not to talk to strangers’ are we putting them in greater harm?
Lead by example, it’s what we are teaching our children from a young age. We teach them to say please and thank you, to let others out of a doorway before we enter, to be friendly and polite.
They see us say hello to the lady walking her dog in the street, to the postman or the man behind the counter in the shop. They see us talking to the cashier in the bank, to parent in the playground and that cold caller selling double glazing. These are strangers, we don’t know them yet we talk to them.
To ignore them would be rude yet we tell our children to do just that!
Instead of giving them the instructions not to talk to strangers we should teach them the dangers of the world. Explain to them about people who aren’t nice to children, who want to steal them away from their parents or hurt them. We don’t need to go into the ins and outs but they do need to know such people are out there and not everyone is nice.
They should know the people they can go to if they are in trouble, feel threatened or are scared. Teach them they can run to the shop for help and tell the cashier if something bad has happened.
They shouldn’t be scared to talk to a ‘safe stranger’ in these instances. They can talk to the family walking to school if they think they are being followed, thy can make it known they are worried – that family won’t mind.
I would happily keep an eye out and help protect kids walking to school if they wanted to join us and I’m sure other families would be just as happy to.
It’s important to make your children aware of the dangers around them.
I’ve often spoken to Emmy about strangers and explained she isn’t to go off with anyone but me, her Dad, Auntie, Uncle, Grandad or a friend’s Mum who takes her home after clubs.
I’ve explained that if someone comes to pick her up who she doesn’t know then she isn’t to go with them, even if they say Mummy says it’s OK. We have a pact that if the arrangements change I call the school and her teacher lets her know but I actually prefer to tell her myself so I ask the receptionists to call me back so I can speak to her personally…..she then knows for sure.
We’ve spoken of not accepting sweets from people in the streets and not getting into other people’s cars etc BUT what did scare the life out of me was when I asked if someone offered her her favourite toy what would she do? She replied, “take it and say thank you.”
Try it with your children. Remember it’s not just sweets which could be offered.
We’ve tightened up our stranger awareness talks with both children currently as there have been incidents of children being approached by a man in a van on the way to and from school last week in my town and it’s blooming scary. This is not a message you want to receive from school two days in a row…….
But we have, and although they aren’t out of my sight we’ve still talked about what to do if they get into trouble and where and who they can run to/go to.
It’s very important to make your children aware of strangers and the dangers around them but please consider what you tell them because you’ll want them to know where a safe haven is and who they can turn to should they ever need to.