8 unsafe help requests from strangers that should alert you and your child
A stranger is asking a child for help
This is the second part of the series "Help requests from strangers". Read the first part here: "A stranger is asking a child for help".
When kids turn 3 years old it’s time to start teaching them:
- the difference between safe and unsafe help requests
- how kids should behave to be kind and stay safe
- what to do if they find themselves in a situation you haven’t discussed yet (for example, if a good-looking old lady is asking for something and you didn’t talk about it)
The biggest questions spinning in the child’s mind are:
- Shall I go ahead and help?
- Shall I run away?
- Am I rude and unsympathetic?
Let's balance it.
Most of the time we encourage our kids to cooperate, answer questions, be nice, polite, and cute.
That's why today we will talk about a very important and commonly neglected skill: Rejection.
A freedom to reject
A child’s ability to reject, to say No, to express his disagreement, dislike, or unwillingness to participate in something is the cornerstone of his ability to stand up for:
- his boundaries,
- his physical and emotional space, and
- his interests and opinions in the future.
3 weak spots predators are looking for
- Feeling important and involved.
- Curiosity: luring surprises, adventures, or unknown things.
- Being a helper: when your child sees a kitten, a puppy, or someone helpless, old, little, sick, or otherwise in need of help, children are thrown into an unusual and disruptive situation
What happens to unprepared kids
- Most strangers who ask your child for help do it with good intentions (hoping they will help to build good character, for example) or without thinking much at all.
- The line between good people and those with bad intent is very subtle for the child.
- Harmful people are well-prepared and aware of a child’s psychology. They know and use tricks.
! Unprepared kids cannot figure out when a help request might have bad intentions.
What your child needs to know
Make sure you've discussed all these scenarios and what to do - because they should raise a huge red flag in your child's mind:
- A request that is forcing a child into something uncomfortable
- A request that must be kept secret
- A request to open the door (for inspection, treatment, using a restroom, in need of calling 911, package delivery, baby crying on the porch, injured animal, etc.)
- A request over the phone when parents are not around
- A request requiring a child to enter a house, a building, or move into a different location
- A request involving money or other incentives
- A request from someone following a child on foot, or in a car, or inviting a child into a car
- A fake request for help on behalf of a parent
What kids should do to stay safe in each situation
(If you feel this topic is important, pin this list for other parents, please):
Download the check-list for the future reference:
How kids can recognize these 8 requests,
+ how they should behave,
+ how they can help safely or reject properly,
and finally, how to explain it in a positive, non-scary way.
P.S. If your child learns how to help and reject to help properly when he is little, not only he will be much safer when communicating with strangers, but he will also have higher self-esteem and lower risk of being involved in trouble during the teenage and adult years.
We will talk more about the skill of rejection in the topic of kids’ sexual safety as well.
You can raise your kids to be both caring and safe.
And they will not let anyone into your house or break some other rule.
Not because they will be scared, but because they will understand.
Don’t wait until it is too late.
Enroll in a Free online course for parents of kids 3-10 years old
"Teach Your Child Safety With Strangers"
Act, do not react.