Many of us grew up with Stranger Danger training. You know, the classic scenario; Mr. Creepy pulls up in his car and offers candy or asks for help to find a lost dog. The children are told to run away and tell a grown up what happened. Furthermore, they were told that when Mr. Creepy reaches out and grabs them they have permission to kick, bite, scream, punch, drop your weight to the ground, break free and run away. And with that all the adults felt better knowing that their children were biw equipped to combat evil.
If it were only that simple! While strangers do account for some child abuse the vast majority, 85-95%, occur within our own family circle and the molester/abuser is a family member or friend. So while stranger danger training is important, the real priority needs to be teaching our kids about strangeness and how that can lead to abusive behavior.
Gavin DeBecker, author of Protecting the Gift, has some great tips (this is a must read for anyone with kids in their lives):
- Be deliberate about talking to your children about inappropriate touch, trusting their gut and telling someone who can help them
- Look for ways to allow your child to practice positive behaviors such as speaking with strangers and finding their way around stores and other public places while under your watchful eye
- Empower them by giving them permission to escape to a safe place, tell someone about what just happened and take whatever action they need to in order to protect themselves and keep from being abused.
This is a tough world that our kids are growing up in and the constant sheltering of our children does not prepare them to enter into the real world. In fact some of our “over protectiveness” actually works against them. If you love your kids then equip them to be able to not only survive but also thrive as they explore life to its fullest. Just remember some day they will have to "go it alone". Let's make sure we give them the best chance possible to suceed. As always if you want to talk about this or other issues related to safety and security I’d love to hear from you. Until then, John.
Image courtesy of http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/01/29/