And Strangers Aren’t All Bad Guys

In my last blog entry, I talked about how the Bad Guy isn’t always a stranger. So, teaching kids about Stranger Danger and painting anyone they don’t know with an “evil” brush doesn’t help them as much as parents might think. First, as I mentioned, it becomes confusing if a neighbor or “friend of the family” takes indecent liberties or otherwise tries to hurt them. The child doesn’t think, “Stop touching me; I don’t like it and I’m going to tell!” but rather, “This person is our friend, so this must be okay.”

Second, it doesn’t prepare a child to look for help outside of a known circle of adults. What if your young son or daughter is in an open, public place—the movies, a playground, even a store—and the accompanying adult steps away momentarily? Maybe they want to make a call, go to the restroom, or ask the salesperson a question. And what if your son or daughter is then approached by a predator?

Your child may be able to run away. But who will he run to for safety? Who will she tell to call 911?  Kids need to be taught how to pick a safe stranger out of a crowd, especially if they’re alone or just with other kids. Having their own cell phone isn’t the answer. Having sound judgment and knowing how to make smart choices is.

There are ways to choose whom to go to for help in a crowd. They’re simple and clear, and kids understand them. We teach them in radKIDS because knowing who to go to for help can help save a kid’s life.

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