Children are more vulnerable than adults, especially when it comes to strangers. Kids are often told that they should do what an adult says, which could lead to serious trouble when that adult is up to no good. When an adult approaches a child, they may not be inclined to protect themselves from harm. Here are five tips that you can teach your children so that they can better protect themselves, and possibly escape injury in the event they are approached by an adult that may intend to do them harm:
- Teach your children to always stay vigilant about their surroundings and always be aware of those around them and what they are doing. They should be aware of anyone that might be watching them or following them. Be sure that they definitely know their address and phone number—including area code, as well as the phone number of a trusted contact.
- Teach your children that nobody should ever touch them in an uncomfortable way. Talk frankly about the possibility of abduction and sexual abuse, and some simple examples. A simple “Don’t talk to strangers” is not enough. While you want to be sure to not overly frighten your children, they should understand some dangerous things that could possibly happen and that they are entitled to try and protect themselves. They should know what some of the most common lures that pedophiles or child abusers may use. When children are encouraged to protect themselves and taught that they are strong, smart and have good instincts, they are less likely to fall victim to stranger danger.
Teach your children to run at the first hint of danger. They should be taught to run toward other people or populated spots, rather than away. Teach your children to try and find an adult that looks like a “mom,” perhaps a woman with a stroller, as a person appearing this way is less likely to be dangerous.
- Teach your children to yell “No” as loudly as they can if they are ever approached by a stranger. When they react with aggression, observers may notice something is going on and step in, or possibly startle the approaching stranger and cause them to move on. Despite the fact that we want our children to act politely, they should also be empowered to protect themselves at all costs.
- Teach your children to use anything they can to ward off an attack. A hard head butt or elbow to the groin may cause just enough pain to release their grip on a child. Biting can be very painful, too. However, since this is likely to anger an attacker, this type of move should only be used in the event that danger is imminent.
Sadly, too many children are approached, abducted, abused and worse each year. Teaching your children how to effectively protect themselves from danger is a very smart thing to do. Ideally, they will never be out of your sight long enough for danger to happen, but this is impractical and often cannot be avoided. A confident and knowledgeable child is less likely to become a victim.