Stranger Danger

This episode is focusing only on the basics of talking to your child about strangers.

Cherylyn Feierabend,
January 12, 2008
Episode #048

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Hey there! You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some quick and dirty tips for practical parenting.
I recently had a problem with my four-year-old daughter. The doorbell was ringing and she assumed that the person coming for a visit was her cousins, Grandma, or a play date friend. I asked her to stay away from the door and window, but she didn’t want to comply. When salesmen or other strangers come over, I don’t want them seeing my children. I don’t really want them coming to my house at all, but it happens to most people who live in suburban or urban areas.
This episode is focusing only on the basics of talking to your child about strangers. I cannot cover all aspects of keeping your child safe in one episode. I recommend that you contact your local police department to have a speaker come out and speak to you, your children, and your fellow parents and their children about stranger danger and other safety issues. If you can request that the speaker come in uniform, it will help your children recognize a police officer’s uniform in the future. It’s good to have a refresher visit at least once a year as well.
As far as what you can do to alert your child to the presence of strangers and how strangers can be dangerous, there are several things you can do. The hardest part, I’ve found, is teaching my child to be aware and cautious of strangers without scaring her. I’m a very outgoing person and my daughter has taken after me in that respect. When we are out in public we smile and say “hello” to people making eye contact, but there is a line between being polite and being overly friendly. Since children learn from watching their parents, I have had to cut back on my own friendliness a bit. I don’t want my kids to think it’s acceptable to talk to everyone we meet.
You will need to talk to your kids about strangers and the dangers that are out there. Let your children know that not all strangers are bad. In fact most strangers are not bad, but since you never know and you cannot tell by looking at someone, you must be cautious with everyone. Being cautious is not the same as being scared. It simply means that if your child doesn’t know someone and Mommy or Daddy doesn’t know the person, then this person is a stranger. You’ll need to give your child the rules about Stranger Danger.
  • A stranger is anyone you don’t know. Even if someone is pretty or looks safe, that person is still a stranger.
  • Never go anywhere with a stranger or get in a stranger’s car.
  • Never take food, candy, or any other gifts from a stranger.
  • Do not pet a stranger’s animal, even if you are invited to pet it.
  • You are a kid. A stranger should not ask you for help. If a stranger asks you for help, get away from him as fast as possible.
  • Always stay away from the doors and windows when someone comes to visit and let an adult greet the visitor.
  • If anyone ever makes you uncomfortable in any way, tell your parent or another trusted adult immediately.
  • If a stranger tries to take you, yell “No!” and fight as hard as you can to get loose. Run to a public place and keep running until you find an adult who can help you.
  • When you are in a public place, always stay with your parents. Never wander off by yourself.