Children can be very trusting of others, an issue that can lead to serious problems if a stranger’s intent is malicious. While many strangers are nice, a child needs to learn to recognize a situation to avoid stranger danger from those who aren’t trustworthy.
A parent can help a youngster by teaching and reinforce the following concepts.
Defining a Stranger
It’s important to emphasize that a stranger is someone not known to a child or to the family.
A common perception established through cartoons and other avenues is that a stranger looks scary, but this may not be the case in real life. Help a child to understand that a person’s appearance alone isn’t enough to determine whether they are nice or not.
Additionally, explain that being recognized or called by name by a stranger doesn’t mean that the child or family know that individual.
Some strangers have jobs of protecting or helping others, and a child may need to approach safe strangers in instances of need. For example, firefighters and police officers are easy to recognize.
In work settings, school officials such as teachers and office staff may be strangers who can help. An employee in a store at a cash register or desk may be helpful, especially if a youngster is lost. Provide examples of situations and locations where help may be safely sought.
Understanding Dangerous Scenarios
Role playing or discussing dangerous situations can help a child who needs to better understand how to deal with strangers.
Warning signs of suspicious situations may include:
-An adult asking a child to disobey his parents
-An individual asking a child to keep a secret
-Any situation that makes a child feel uncomfortable
A youngster should be taught to deal with these situations as well. “No, go, yell and tell” is a simple mnemonic device to help a child remember what to do when in an uncomfortable situation.
-It is okay to say no to a stranger.
-It is important to go someplace else, leave the situation.
-It may be necessary to yell for help.
-It is important to tell an adult about suspicious individuals.
Parents play a key role in keeping children safe from stranger danger by knowing where their youngsters are at all times.
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