When it comes to being a parent, we know we’d do anything and everything to protect our children. Often times it is hard to trust the outside world, and we are extremely cautious about who our children interact with. Realistically thinking, we know that we can’t prevent and filter every interaction our children have with people. However, what we can do is educate them to be able to recognize dangerous situations, and how to react to ensure their safety.
Break the Myths
It is important that you address the stereotype that dangerous people are only people that look scary. This is many times depicted in cartoons and the media, which makes it a very common yet false stereotype. Be clear with your children about this common misconception and be sure they know a pretty stranger can be just as dangerous as a scary looking one.
Recognizing Safe Strangers
Part of helping your child stay safe is making sure they are able to recognize safe strangers. Safe strangers are people your child can go to if they need help. Prominent examples are police officers, firefighters, and teachers. If these types of people aren’t accessible tell your children seek help in a public place and look for an employee or person of authority. Also point out homes of family and friends that your child can safely approach.
Recognizing Dangerous Situations
The ability to recognize dangerous situations is crucial to your child’s safety. It is important that they understand that not everyone has good intentions. Your child should learn to look for warning signs of a person with bad intentions such as:
- Asking them to disobey their parents or do something without permission
- Asking them to keep a secret
- Asking them for help
- Making them feel bad or uncomfortable in any way
Handling Dangerous Situations
When it comes to a potentially dangerous situation, simply recognizing it isn’t enough. Your child must know and be confident in handling a situation to keep them out of harm’s way. Let your child know that it is okay to say “no” to an adult if they feel they are in danger. After saying no, they should leave the scene as fast as possible, yell for help, and let a trusted adult know what happened. It is a good idea to practice identifying a bad situation with your child. Talk with him or her and present them with scenarios in which they can deem safe or dangerous.
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