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Why Just Talking to Your Children About Strangers is No Longer Effective

By: Krystle Crossman

Parents always want to ensure that their children will be safe when they are out and about in the world. There are people out there who will kidnap children the first chance that they get and so we as parents make sure that we inform our children of the dangers of others who may harm them. The problem is that teaching them about “stranger danger” no longer applies and here is why:

1. Kids see their parents and other parents talking to strangers all the time. You can’t tell them not to talk to strangers and then do what you are telling them not to. If a child sees their mother talking to someone who is nice and friendly they don’t think of them as a stranger. When someone comes up to talk to them and is friendly they will think about the time that their mother spoke with someone they didn’t know who was friendly and they won’t think about the fact that they are a stranger.

2. Children need to be reminded of why they should never go anywhere with strangers again and again. One talk with them about strangers will not do the job. You need to make sure that you have a clear set of rules for them when it comes to someone approaching them. If someone comes over with a dog and asks if they want to pet the dog make sure your child knows that they need to run back to you and ask first. The same goes if they are offered candy or something along those lines. Before you go out somewhere make sure that you reiterate the rules and do a little role playing exercise with your child to make sure that the lesson is really driven in.

3. Strangers can hurt your children but it is a documented fact that 90% of s*xual abuse in children happens with someone that they know. While you are focusing on strangers and how to help your children make sure that you are mindful of the other people in their lives as well.

4. Strangers usually don’t look scary or menacing like a child may imagine. They look like everyday people and are generally very friendly to try and lure the child in.

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