It is impossible to insulate our children from strangers all the time but it is possible to teach them appropriate behaviors and what to do when they feel uncomfortable. We tell our children on a consistent basis never to talk with strangers but the truth is, school-aged children speak with strangers every day.
Instructing our children not to speak with strangers may be placing them at greater risk if they were ever in a situation where they felt alone and vulnerable. Instead of making it a rule for children not to speak with strangers, teaching them how to communicate may be more helpful in providing them with an understanding about the appropriateness of communication.
Naturally, most children will be afraid of people who look scary to them in some way or another, but most predators are able to blend into society and look very normal and even approachable. Therefore, it is of vital importance to teach our children how to trust their own instincts. Helping children to understand when a person makes them feel uncomfortable or if they feel like something’s not right,t even if they are unable to explain what they are feeling, they need to know to walk away immediately.
Communication is not simply verbal
Communication is also very much about body language and an important skill that we can teach our children. One way to assist your child with becoming more in tune with their emotions and feelings and build on their emotional intelligence is to help them to identify and recognize their feelings.
An example may be to look through magazines or books with your child and describe them emotional expressions shown on people’s faces. It is important not to dismiss your child’s feelings or emotions so they can become more aware of them. Maybe you can try to verbally express the word of the emotions your child is experiencing such as “You look sad right now.” Oftentimes, children simply need help in managing and understanding their emotions.
When you feel your children are ready to understand, you can begin teaching them how to engage in simple conversations with others. One way may be to allow them to interact with others when you are out together. You may choose to allow them to order their own meal in a restaurant or respond when a person speaks directly to them. It is important to follow up with your children afterwards to discuss your thoughts about whether you think that would be a safe person to ask for help. It is also good to test your children while you are out together in a busy place by asking them to point out who they would ask for help if they needed it and why.
Statistically, predators are more likely to abuse a child than women
Most experts recommend that children in need seek out women with children or an older woman when they need help. Additionally, encourage your children to find a person in uniform like a police officer, security guard or a store employee. These are the people children must seek to get help from if they ever feel alone. Teaching your children how to talk with strangers may not be the traditional approach and may fly in the face of how our parents raised us, but it is the safer and more practical method for today’s day and age.