We’ve all heard, and probably have told a kid, about the stranger = danger thing. We grew up with it, but guess what? We were all wrong.
Most molestations of children occur with people they knew. People they are taught to trust. To listen to. Instead of teaching kids to worry about strangers, we should be telling them to look out for tricky people.
A TRICKY PERSON CAN BE SOMEONE YOU KNOW WELL, DON’T KNOW AT ALL, OR KNOW JUST A LITTLE BIT… LIKE YOUR MAIL CARRIER OR THE ICE CREAM MAN. ANYONE WHO TRIES TO GET A CHILD TO BREAK THEIR SAFETY RULES OR HURT THEIR BODY IS NOT OKAY.
Patti Fitzgerald of Safely Every After, Inc. came up with the idea. I really like teaching kids to be suspicious of what people do instead of who they are. A relative, a coach, a teacher, etc. are usually thought to be good people, but that doesn’t make it so. Check the news any day about how many “trusted adults” have hurt children. There are too many stories to count.
Instead, let’s focus on what these tricky people are doing and saying. Here are some tips from the Safely Ever After, Inc. website:
#1 REMIND YOUR CHILDREN: SAFE GROWNUPS DON’T ASK KIDS FOR HELP.
#5 LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD. IF THEY DON’T WANT TO BE AROUND A PARTICULAR PERSON, SUCH AS A BABYSITTER, RELATIVE, OR FAMILY FRIEND, DON’T FORCE THEM. THEY MAY BE GETTING A “RED FLAG” SIGNAL THAT YOU ARE UNAWARE OF.
#12 LET CHILDREN DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES HOW THEY WANT TO EXPRESS AFFECTION. DO NOT FORCE THEM TO HUG OR KISS ANOTHER PERSON.
#16 TEACH SAFETY CONCEPTS IN A LOVING, EASY-GOING MANNER. SCARE TACTICS CAN MAKE A CHILD FEARFUL AND ARE NOT NECESSARY.
There are tons more on the site, but those are my favorites. Tale a look at the website and think about talking with your kids about tricky people.