Are you teaching Stranger Danger correctly? 8 Important Lessons

by thenibecamemum

A group of children were shown a photo of a man in a suit. The teacher gave the children a scenario in which they must choose whether or not they should trust the man and leave with him. You would think…hope…that most of the children chose to walk away, but sadly this was not the case. With an overwhelming majority opting to trust him, it highlighted a worrying gap in our children’s knowledge of Stranger Danger and how they perceive danger.

In this instance, the children had completely forgotten about the scenario they were in. Their attention was focussed on the fact that he wore a suit “just like a teacher”.

Man in a suit

This is where teaching Stranger Danger often goes wrong with parents. Instead of teaching our children about the circumstances they might find themselves in, we are teaching our children to look out for “bad people”. Ya’know, the one with the creepy, staring eyes or the one inviting your children to go and see their “puppies”. When statistics show that many abductions are committed by family and friends of the victims, we are potentially putting our children at risk.

In my job, I teach Stranger Danger to primary aged children. I thought it would be useful to put together a list to teach Stranger Danger effectively.

8 Important Lessons for Teaching Stranger Danger

    1. Establish who a child can trust – It is important to not scare your children into feeling like they can’t talk to anybody that they don’t recognise. Discuss with your child which strangers they can trust – policemen, teachers, other servicemen, officially uniformed people. It is also useful to let children know that it is okay to talk to a stranger in a safe environment.Stranger danger police
    2. Discuss where to seek help – If your child feels like they are in danger, they should know where to look for help. The number one rule is to seek help in public places where there are lots of people around. If there isn’t anybody else around then they should run until they come to a busier area or are able to run into a shop or similar public building.
    3. Help them to identify suspicious behaviour – The last thing you want is your child screaming blue murder because the little old lady in the park dared to make conversation with them. Help your child to recognise inappropriate behaviour. Discuss with your child that no sensible adult would ask them to follow them, help them or visit somewhere without a parent or guardian.
    4. Teach them to trust their instinct – Let your child know that if they are uncomfortable then they should remove themselves from the situation. Tell your children that even adults should respect their personal space and it is okay to say ‘no’.
    5. Let them know that *sometimes* it’s okay to hit an adult – As parents, we teach our children to have respect and to not hurt others. However, we should make children aware that sometimes it is okay. If they are grabbed then they should be taught to scream, bite, kick, scratch or whatever else it takes to get away.
    6. Teach them the importance of being where they say they’ll be – We’ve all done it. You tell your parents you’ll be in one place with no intention of staying there. Encourage your child to update you regularly and to always inform you if their plans change. If your child owns a mobile phone then make sure that they always charge it before leaving the house.Charging phone
    7. Safety in numbers is key – Stress how important it is to stay with friends and not wander off alone.
    8. Use passwords – For younger children, establish a password that you can use. This is useful if your child is often picked up by different people. This way, the child can be confident that this has been arranged by their parents. It is also worth saying that any decent school would not allow your child to leave with somebody they are not familiar with. You should always inform the school in the first instance.

Remember to also teach your children to keep safe online too!

Updated: 14th August 2018

15 comments

Laura Findlay 30th October 2017 - 8:08 pm

Some really useful information. Thanks for sharing x

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Suky 1st November 2017 - 1:06 pm

Sadly it isn’t always the strangers that are the real danger though is it? My daughter was sexually assaulted by a fellow student. How do we prepare our kids for that? Be scared of everyone and everything?

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thenibecamemum 4th November 2017 - 10:34 am

I’m sorry to hear that this has happened to your daughter! This is exactly the point of my post that ‘Stranger Danger’ (as we call it in school) is not about ‘strangers’, it is about giving your children the skills to assess the situation for themselves. Of course, there are times when you cannot prepare your child (like the situation your family have sadly experienced) but our opinions seem to be the same that we SHOULDN’T be scared of everyone and everything.

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passion fruit, paws and peonies 10th November 2017 - 6:47 am

IIt’s terrifying that this stuff happens! Great and important advice here x #Blogstravaganza

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thenibecamemum 11th November 2017 - 8:20 am

It is! Thanks for reading 🙂

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thetaleofmummyhood 10th November 2017 - 1:48 pm

This is so, so important. IT’s common knowledge that often when bad things happen it’s someone we think we can trust who iis behind it. Education in this area is key to keep our children safe. Thanks so much for sharing such an important post with #Blogstravaganza xx

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thenibecamemum 11th November 2017 - 8:35 am

It really is! Thanks for reading 🙂

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talkingmums1 10th November 2017 - 7:52 pm

Thanks for this, some really useful tips. Strangers who mean harm can look friendly and we must try to teach our kids where safe places are, who are safe people and yes, that it’s ok to hit a adult if they are grabbed.
#Blogstravaganza

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thenibecamemum 11th November 2017 - 8:22 am

Definitely! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Jo - Cup of Toast 10th November 2017 - 8:23 pm

Really useful tips here. Thank you so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza

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thenibecamemum 11th November 2017 - 8:19 am

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Nicole 11th November 2017 - 12:32 am

Such a fantastic post with such useful and important information. Sharing across all my social media – important to get the word out:)
#Blogstravaganza

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thenibecamemum 11th November 2017 - 8:18 am

Ahh thank you so much! I’m glad you think so. It’s such an important message and something people often just assume their children know.

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Jennifer 13th December 2017 - 11:01 am

Definitely saving this list for when my niece grows up ♥ Thank you!

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thenibecamemum 14th August 2018 - 9:58 am

Glad you found this useful 🙂

Reply

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