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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