Teaching Your Child How to Deal with Strangers

Teaching Your Child How to Deal with StrangersRaising a child today is nothing like it used to be. Doors are locked, everyone has a cell phone, and there aren’t any more pen pals. But there’s also more crime, more strange people taking children away and disappearing, and more concerns for your child. The old adage we all grew up on “never talk to strangers” means even more today than it did when we were kids. We could simply tell our parents that we were going to a friend’s house, and be gone for the rest of the day with no worries. Our parents could forget us at a store and still expect to see us when they come back, sheepish and blaming us for being left behind. Nowadays, people can’t even risk their kids walking to the neighborhood park by themselves. All for this fear of strangers. So how do you teach your child to deal with strangers? “Never talk to strangers” doesn’t really work anymore… after all; sometimes talking to a stranger is necessary.


Tell Your Child the Truth

It’ll be easier if you sit your child down and explain the truth to him or her as best as you can. Tell the child that there are bad people out there that would not hesitate to hurt him or her, and would lie to do so. Tell your little one that while there are many bad people out there, there are also good people, such as police officers and shopkeepers, so that he or she will not be afraid to turn to a person of authority if he or she needs help. If you are calm and matter of fact, your child will not panic or be overly worried. You are their parent, made to protect them, and they’ll trust and believe you when you say that while there is bad, there is also good.


Keep it Simple

A child can’t always understand the finer points of reading a human being. It’s difficult to understand who might be good and who might be bad. So don’t try to explain why a “creepy man” would be bad, but a police officer standing in the middle of a well-lit store would be good. Keep it simple so that he or she can understand who is worth speaking to or turning to in an emergency.


Have a Plan

To keep a child from worrying unnecessarily, set up a plan. If you’re ever not around, or if he or she gets lost, you might have to rely upon a stranger’s help, or a friend that your child has never met. Now, just anyone can walk up to your child and say “Hey, your mom told me to come and get you, she’s waiting for you over there.” And being a child, he or she won’t be able to tell whether it’s a truth or a lie. So set up a plan with them where if you are ever in the situation where you do need to have her picked up or found by a stranger, that there is a question that your child can ask them. For instance, a nonsensical question such as “Where is the bluebird?” As long as it is a question both you and your child know the answer to, and no one else, it will provide your child with a sense of confidence. If the stranger can’t answer the question properly, then your child will know that it is a “bad” person, and will head for a person of authority.