When it comes to strangers, children get several mixed messages. They are told not to take candy or food from strangers, then parents take them out trick-or-treating to accept candy from strangers. They are taught not to talk to strangers, yet they see their parents talking with strangers as they go about their day. How do you overcome these mixed messages and help your children understand the basic concepts? Here are a few tips to make this process easier.
Reassure Your Children
Your kids need to know that you love them, but that's not just for their self-esteem. If they are know they are loved and trusted, they are more likely to come to you if something happens that scares them. Let them know that they can tell you anything and you will work to help them and that you will love them regardless of what they tell you.
A Little Fear is Natural
It's important to keep the conversation age-appropriate, but you should not worry too much that you might scare your children. A little fear can be a good thing if it means that your child will run if a car stops next to them at the curb. Let them know that there are bad, dangerous people out in the world, and then start empowering them to protect themselves.
Empower Your Children
Let your kids know that it's okay to say no if they are being asked to do something they think is wrong. Teach them that they can yell, scream and even fight back if someone grabs them and tries to take them to another place. Encourage them to come to you if they ever feel threatened by a stranger or even a known adult.
Use Real-Life Opportunities
Watch for opportunities to teach your children about stranger danger. If someone at the store asks you for directions, and you stop to give them directions, explain what you did to your children. Tell them that you were giving directions, but you would not go anywhere with that person or get in their car.
In addition to teaching children about strangers they may encounter in the world, you should protect your home from intruders. Invest in a home automation system to deter criminals and help the entire family sleep better at night.