TEST YOUR CHILD'S SAFETY LEVEL

Why stranger danger is not working and how to teach your child safety instead

Why “stranger danger” is not working and how to teach your child safety instead

Why is the concept of ‘stranger danger’ (or “tricky people”) not working for teaching kids safety?

My son has brought me my phone:

  • “Who is this?” – he asked pointing at the person hiding behind a tree and holding candy.
  • “Eh… a stranger?” – I suggested

“Don’t talk to strangers” is an old-school rule sending confusing messages about safety to your child.

Most products teaching kids safety are outdated.

We need a modern system for teaching safety to our kids.

Why stranger danger is not working and how to teach your child safety instead post cover - a girl smiling
  • Why most kids do not understand the concept of “stranger danger”

You confuse your kids when you tell them:

  1. "DO NOT talk to a stranger"
  2. "DO NOT leave with a stranger"

Because kids do not understand who the stranger is!

Is a stranger a man or a woman? Is he or she old, young, good looking, or ugly?
Is a stranger a man or a woman? Is he or she old, young, good-looking, or ugly?

 

How does your child see strangers:

- Is a waiter a stranger?

- What about the waiter we see regularly?

 

- Is a teacher a stranger?

- What about a volunteering parent escorting kids to the restrooms during a camp?

 

- Is a friend of a dad a stranger too?

- But, should I open the door to a dad’s colleague bringing some documents? Is he a friend, or just (maybe) working at the same company?

 

Your child is confused!

 

What are the safety consequences?

! Unprepared child

may not recognize an unsafe stranger and

may not respond in a safe way.

Why do strangers in films offer candy?

Because most kids’ safety resources are outdated.

In the past cities were small and strangers were odd.

A stranger in a village was a big deal.

But modern kids interact with strangers every day.

 

Kids are misled by the outdated scenarios

What is your child thinking?

- “Oh, a stranger is a mean, ugly person wearing a mafia-style hat and a mask. He is enticing a child with a candy from behind a tree. No good”.

 

What does the child learn?

- “Watch out for the black-hats men offering candy!”

 

What is the conclusion your child makes out of this video?

- “But wait, I’ve got candy on Halloween and nothing bad happened. Mom is overreacting. I don’t think it’s dangerous”.

 

As a result:

  1. Your child is not convinced strangers could be dangerous.
  2. He painted a wrong portrait of the stranger in his mind (white, middle-aged male in a certain environment and scenario)

The biggest safety problem with 3-8 year-olds

! Young kids understand the rules literally.

When you say:

- “Don’t take candy from strangers” 

 

Your child depending on the age and safety level may act as:

- “It’s okay to go with a neighbor to get some cookies”.

 

Because you didn’t specifically mention the neighbors and the cookies.

How safe is YOUR child?

Stranger danger safety level test be with kids

  How safe is your child?

 

  Do you want to improve his safety skills?

 

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What parents say:

 

"The questions of this test made me think of how many important topics my kids yet need to learn about safety.

Thank you for bringing it to my attention"

- Laura Richards, Mum of two

What do your child need to know to be safe with strangers?

Kids need to know a big picture while learning safety.

Do you want your child to be safe when you are not around?

Do you want to teach kids to be safe in the situations you have never discussed? 

 

How can you help your child be safe?

Enroll in a Free online course for parents of kids 3-10 years old

"Teach Your Child Safety With Strangers"

↓↓↓↓↓↓

Free mini-course: Teach your child safety with strangers in a positive, hands-on way - post cover - a girl in white shorts and t-shirt and red scarf

Act, do not react.


 

12 thoughts on “Why stranger danger is not working and how to teach your child safety instead

    • Hello Tereasa, glad to see you here and thank you for taking a moment to comment. We have an upcoming course about helping kids stand up for their boundaries in terms of safety. Feel free to subscribe to the updates to check it out when it’s available. We also will be talking more about this topic in the near future.

  1. I have definitely not thought about strangers from a child’s perspective before, but it makes total sense! One thing we’ve told the kids is if we don’t know someone’s name then they count as a stranger. My task now is to get my 4yo to stop opening the door to delivery men!

    • Hi Laura, thank you for sharing your comment. I’m not sure how exactly you are putting the wording for this, but if your child qualifies strangers by “we don’t know his name”, chances are, someone introduces himself to a child providing his name and from this perspective, he is not a stranger any longer. What I suggest is that “a stranger remains a stranger until he is introduced to a child by a trusted adult” (parent, teacher, caregiver, etc). We talk about this and other subtle details that make all the difference in the full course about the strangers – you are welcome to check it out here https://bewithkids.com/safety-with-strangers-course-enrollment/

  2. My girls are incredibly friendly and we have a habit of calling everyone older than us Auntie and Uncle. It’s a Hawaiian thing and used to respect elders. So trying to fit in the concept of who are dangerous uncles and aunties versus safe is a little tricky. There are some good tips here that I’ll definitely be incorporating, thank you for making your advice so clear!

    • Thank you for finding a moment to comment and for your kind words. Definitely, the edge between being polite and safe is so subtle for kids. That’s why we are working on both.

  3. This is so important! Stranger danger is fine, but kids need to be taught that abuse doesnt just come from strangers; it can come from within the home or extended family too

    • Yes, I totally agree with you. That’s the reason we are teaching that levels of trust and levels of goodness are separate categories. Strangers may be super helpful and relatives may be unsafe.

  4. This was a good read and I will surely keep the pointers in mind while explaining concept of trust & strangers. It is a scary world and we must teach our kids so they know about safety and what to do to avoid getting into an unsafe situation.

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