Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stranger Danger

As a special prosecutor, I have seen and heard horrible stories about sexual abuse and violent crimes. I have sat across my desk from victims and garnered all my strength not to cry along with them when they recount their stories to me. This is why I am constantly, some may say incessantly, giving my kids safety tips: don't talk to strangers, know your phone number, if you get lost go to someone in uniform, if someone touches a private part tell me or teacher immediately. I could go on and on.
However, I never know if the kids are retaining any of this information, until now. With Captain Jack I don't think the "Stranger Danger" talk is working. He talks to EVERYONE! I swear he is like the mayor. He always has been and I guess always will be. I live on a busy street with a lot of foot traffic. When we are sitting on the terrace he shouts "Hello" to the passersby, asks a few questions and has even invited a few up to play! Its quite funny! I try to explain to him about strangers but he really doesn't care, he likes to talk. So for now I let him hone his social skills on the terrace.
Fashi is another story and I realized on Halloween that she has been listening to my tips. I took Captain Jack and Fashi Trick or Treating alone, Papa stayed home with #3. The side walks were very crowded and at one point we ran into some kids and their mothers from school and started walking together. I took the front of the group with Captain Jack and Fashi was at the end of the group. I told her to come along but I guess she didn't hear me with all the commotion. I was about 2 doors down and and a mother ran over and said Fashi wont go with "Kelly". Kelly is a mother of a classmate, but Fashi didn't recognize her. I went to the back of our group to get Fashi. Kelly commented that "Fashi didn't know me, I'm a stranger to her and she got nervous". Kelly also complimented me because Fashi knew NOT to go with a "stranger".
I thought, Yeah! all my "talks" worked. I told Fashi who's mom Kelly was and told her how proud I was of her to "go with her gut" and not walk with someone she didn't recognize.
I think it is important to talk to kids about "stranger danger" but at this age I don't think it is necessary to give all the gory details about what can happen if a stranger "gets" them. I just tell my kids if a stranger talks to you or asks you to go with them don't go and run away. I try to repeat these tips when I know we will be at a crowded place and the potential to get lost is a little higher. Fashi passed a huge test on Halloween, one that she didn't even know she was taking. I'm so proud of her !
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  1. Good for her, SG! As you know, though- kids have to be as careful with people they know as much as with anyone. Stranger Danger is terrifying, but kids are more at risk with "trusted" adults. Not in your case, though. Great job!

  2. Yes Roger, danger with "trusted adults" is a whole other topic. I think the first step to keeping our children safe is: open communication and teaching your children to trust you and to never keep secrets.
    Thanx for reading. Follow Roger @