Teaching My Children About Stranger Danger – A Total Failure

I think it’s important to teach your children about the danger of strangers, although I acknowledge that it’s a fine line between educating them and scaring the crap out of them. However, even though I have talked to them about it, explained that a stranger is anyone they don’t know, told them what to do if someone tries to take them away, and role played with them, I have utterly failed.

Case in Point 1: My daughter and I got out of the car and walked into the house while Buddy took 7,654 years to get his backpack out of the car and walk in. After a minute or so I went out for him, to find him crouched down in the back seat. When I asked him what the heck he was doing, he informed me he was hiding from the strangers in the parking lot next door in case they would try to take them.

Case in Point 2: I let my kids play outside while I keep and eye on them from inside after we get home from school. At the back of our yard, next door, are municipal recycling bins. I peeked outside to find my daughter HELPING a woman get her cardboard boxes OUT OF HER CAR. I ran over, now walking the fine line between being a protective mom and not being a total nasty bitch to this otherwise unassuming woman, and asked my kids what the HECK they were doing. Sass replied “We’re helping this lady. She’s not really a stranger.” And, to the woman’s credit, she (a mother herself, I later learned) replied “Well, actually, I am. You don’t know me.” I told the kids it was dinner time and, once inside, I asked them what they were doing talking to a stranger. Buddy’s defense? “Sass did it first.”

Case in Point 3: After clearing up that they were not to leave the yard EVER, I see Sass standing in the garage, trying to talk to a worker in the lot next door. When I asked her what she was doing, she informed me she “didn’t leave the yard, MaMa.”

Any tips on how to get this through to them?

One Comment

  • Alan commented on March 25, 2011 Reply

    Seems to me your kids are listening to you. What more do you want. They are children and do not reason like you. And that is a good thing.

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