To ask how you deal with stranger danger?(108 Posts)
I have always told my kids not to go off with strangers and thought he would be reasonably streetwise. However, a conversation with my 8 yr old DS tonight has really made me think. I have been reading about little Keith Bennett and I asked him if he would go off with a stranger and he said no. I then asked him what he would do if he was playing in the front garden and a car pulled up - the person in the car said he had a new toy for him. I asked DS what he would do and he said he would say thank you very much. I asked him if he would run to the car and he said of course he would. I asked him what he would do if he was estranged from us in the park and someone asked him if he would look for their lost puppy and he said of course he would help. I have told him that no, he does not do that. He asked why and I told him that there are not many but some people that like to hurt children. He was asking what had happened to the children that had been hurt and I couldn't bear to tell him. What do you say to your kids?
Tell you child DO NOT TALK TO STRANGERS. It's not difficult. What situations will they be in that this is an issue before aged 12 or so?
I say that some people don't know how to look after children
We've had conversations about what to do if you're lost -
go into a shop
ask a lady with children
look for a policeman or someone wearing a hi vis jacket
Looking for a lost puppy - oh heck, that's too awful - lots of kind, gentle children would fall for that. I think it's unrealistic to expect an 8 year old to be streetwise.
I rely on the fact that stranger danger is the least of most children's worries. It is a very small threat to children. Vastly more important to teach children about boundaries with people they know.
Good point MrsTerryPratchett.
Regarding stranger danger, my son's karate class always spends 5 mins doing a role play of what to do if q stranger approached them. It's all very light hearted so as not to scare the kids, but even so, the kids are reluctant to scream/ shout/ fight back/ raise their voice, even in a setting like that. I would say that role playing regularly is a good idea.
YY ThisCake. I have taught DS to ask before: going through a door, going off with an adult, going into a lift/onto an escalator.
we have had a few issues here in Aus of a man (men?) trying to grab kids near primary schools. Schools are very hot on this.
So less of the 'stranger danger' (my names Fred- what's yours...no longer a stranger) and more of the 'don't do things without telling a parent/someone you know well first.
If an adult asks you to find a puppy- say you have got to ask mummy/daddy as adults are great at finding things and you can help your mum/dad find the puppy. Silly adults should know kids are not as great at finding puppies as grown ups.
Never go with anyone unless mum/dad/school/ very trusted parent has permission to take you. Mostly because your parent would be worried and upset as they are not sure where you are/think you are lost.
Our school has been fab and all kids from 5 know this message. My 7 year old knows all the rules and understands (i believe!)
I have also told her that if someone insists you go with them and tries to make you, shouting and hitting/punching is OK- because if they are not listening to you, they need to be made aware of your answer of 'no'
I genuinely have no problem in telling my DD that if anyone tries to take her anywhere (and it isn't her family) to scream "I don't know you, I want my mum!" and kick right off. Seems dramatic in the instance of it may just be someone innocent but in that case they would be understanding (I would hope) and rectify their behaviour. I tell my DD that if she's ever "lost" just to stand exactly where she is and shout, and I will find her. I know staff in a supermarket would try to take her to a till but she wouldn't know if someone was genuinely staff or not, so it's not worth the risk.
Eg: Stranger: "I'll help you find your mum come with me"
DD: "No my mummy says she will find me. MUM. MUM!"
If I found someones lost child and they reacted like above I would say "ok you're right. Why don't I stand right here close by and make sure only your mummy finds you" and call over a member of staff/person of authority to announce it/help. Only a guilty person would want to remove the child in my opinion
Speaking as someone who's worked in cp stranger danger 'education' is now widely recognised as having done more harm than good for several reasons.
Parents not explaining what a 'stranger' is, as in just because they introduce themselves to you does not mean they're not a stranger, just because you've seen them in your neighbourhood does not mean they're not a stranger, just because you know them through their job does not mean you know they're safe (Ian Huntley?), just because they're a child doesn't mean they're safe (James Bulger? That's an extreme case but there have been other less known ones).
Parents not being clear that a 'bad person' is not a caricature, lots of paedophiles are good looking, well groomed and very charming. Not some version of the child catcher.
Most molesters are known and known well to not only the child but the family. They tend to groom the adults first. Position themselves as someone to be trusted.
So, bearing all that in mind what I taught my daughter was
Never go anywhere with anyone, even friends of mummy's without checking with mummy first. Anyone asks you to, for any reason, that's what you tell them. Then come find mummy (or nursery teacher or daddy) and tell them.
As she got older and was out and about with friends/alone, taught her how to walk safely (away from the road especially if a car slowed near her, but wide at corners so someone couldn't jump at her, not to be on phone or listening to music but be aware of surroundings).
If anyone ever did try and get her near a car to always stay at least 2 arm lengths away.
Now she's a teen, still encourage her to be aware of her surroundings. If she thinks she's being followed go into a shop or other safe public place and call me or if for any reason she can't get me the police, or if there's only houses one where children clearly live (toys in garden etc - yes not perfect but best of bad options).
From little taught her that she has bodily autonomy, the pants rule.
Also if anyone ever touches her inappropriately or tries to snatch her to shout, scream, scratch, kick, bite whatever to get away. Victims (including adults) who fight back are less likely to be further victimised, less likely to be moved to a more secluded area preferable to the attacker, more likely to frighten attacker off. I've done it myself.
If you really must go stranger danger route, do pants rule, staying away from cars and vans, telling mummy/daddy/trusted adult every time someone tries to get them to go somewhere else, teach them that a 'stranger' is anyone make female old young that she doesn't know really really well, that even 'nice' looking people can hurt you.
And despite this post my daughter is confident, sociable (talks to EVERYONE) and friendly.
Oh re screaming/shouting I taught her to be clear to others around 'you're hurting me and I don't know you!' Particular emphasis on I don't know you.
And some parents like to use a secret password if unexpected collection of children may occasionally be necessary (kids love playing 'spies' anyway). So the adult must know the password.
Thanks for that guidance, Baconsmum, but can you also just briefly explain what the "pants rule" is? I'm just starting to teach my DD this stuff and wonder what is best.
I don't think anyone would have a problem with telling their child to scream and shout if someone was trying to abduct them!
But yes, what TerryPratchett and Baconymum say.
Also, as not a day goes by without some muppet on my FB (so I presume everyone else's unless you are all muppet free zones ) saying that there's a big scary man (usually with, of course, a swarthy complexion and a foreign accent and a white van ) trying to abduct children from primary schools in the area. The children are then taken to Asda to have their hair dyed and then sold off into slavery (or other such guff)
And meanwhile a blind eye is turned to Uncle Jimmy or Grandad having a bit of a stroke when he shouldn't. Which as others have said, is much much much more common.
Floris - in DD's school they teach the 'swimming costume' rule; no-one is allowed to touch parts of your body that would normally be covered by your cozzie.
We don't do stranger danger, we do stranger aware.
Most strangers are nice, some aren't. You can't tell which so you never go anywhere with a stranger without telling your parents or friend. If they try to get you to its 'no, go, yell, tell' and the children are taught to yell 'stranger' or 'you're not my dad' not 'help'. Karate had spent a lot of time in this.
First off I don't teach my children that strangers are dangerous. Strangers can be very helpful after all a Police officer is a stranger. I tell them who to look for for help I.e Police officer, lollipop lady/man, go into a shop and tell the shop assistant etc. Or if we go to an event I show them what uniform the security staff/marshals are wearing. I also tell them no adult needs their help to find a lost puppy etc if an adult needed help they would ask an adult not a child. Also if an adult wanted to show them something they would ask me first.
Great post baconsymum
Stranger danger is outdated
I teach children strategies to deal with situations that might arise
I think its such a shame that people are teaching their children not to talk to other people
Except online. It seems most parents are clueless about the very break dangers of their children's internet use
As has already been said, children are far more at risk of being hurt by someone they know and trust, so I find the "stranger danger" concept a bit useless. However, I've taught my DS that he should kick, scream and make an almighty fuss if he were to be approached under some of the circumstances listed above (lost puppy/child/sweets/toys). When they respond in a polite way, it doesn't draw any attention to them and makes it more likely that someone could persuade them or move them somewhere quieter.
Privates are private
Always remember your body belongs to you
No means no
Talk about secrets that upset you
Speak up, someone can help
Ive also included with my dd that she's never had to hug, kiss even shake hands with someone if she doesn't want to - my mother thought this was too far and rude but it confuses kids if you SAY they have bodily autonomy bit x y z is OK, plus molesters don't immediately rape! They stretch boundaries.
And yes I despair at the parents who let their kids on any social media, x box online etc etc with no guidelines. Dd isn't allowed any 'friends' she and I don't know IRL, I have full access for checking and any inappropriate posts (even if just liked or shared) she gets into trouble for, had words last month as she liked a post that was fat shaming! She was telling me the other day about a boy at school has decided it would be 'hilarious' to share pics of his penis. Her attitude was very much of the eye rolling what an idiot variety. I've contacted the school.
Stranger Danger is a totally outdated ineffective concept... (I have just spent the past month researching this for my child protection module)
We've told our kids that anyone who tries to take them anywhere they need to tell her the special code word. It's a word you'd never hear used usually so she wouldn't hear it by accident.
I agree that Stranger Danger is totally misleading and ineffective. Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and April Jones were not murdered by strangers but by someone known to them. Most abuse is the same. We've always told 5yo ds to ask us/ tell us where he's going. I sometimes set him hypothetical tests like 'if someone you know asks you to go with them so they can show you a puppy/ offer you sweets what would you do?' Correct answer 'tell them I'll just go and ask my mum/ dad/ cm'. In the vast majority of cases people are good and mean well and so we've never told him not to talk to strangers. We've also been very open about inappropriate touching and told him he will never get in trouble for telling the truth and there are 'good' secrets (a birthday surprise) and 'bad' secrets (something that makes him feel bad/ sad/ uncomfortable).
We were in our caravan recently and he was playing outside with a little boy from a motor home near us. The boy asked ds if he wanted to go to his motor home to see inside. Ds said "I'd like to but let me just ask my mum". Job done.
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