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« Success or Failure? | Main | Life With Out A Formal Education: Living Teachable Moments »

January 01, 2007



Thanks for writing this. We so rarely see sensible advice on this topic. And I think many people are raising kids to be fearful rather than giving them useful tools to avoid harm.

A friend had a good story about a police talk about stranger-danger to a school group. His nephew came home and talked about all the things he had learned and the boy's dad then asked "What's a stranger?" The kid had no idea.


The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's web site says that teaching children the "stranger danger" message is confusing and not effective and that the biggest child safety myth is that danger to children comes primarily from strangers.


Great post! I got so much out of Gavin De Becker's book, Protecting The Gift. I want my children to be aware, not fearful. Helping our children learn to trust their intuition is one of the best things we can do... giving them confusing (and anxiety provoking) messages like "don't talk to strangers" doesn't serve to protect their wellbeing or allow them to develop their instincts.


What do you think about the Stranger Safety DVD starting "Safe Side Superchick" made by John Walsh and the founder of the Baby Einstein video? I love it. It's not really an "anti-stranger" video..actually, it's done in a positive, upbeat way and teaches children tools like saying, "Help, this is not my mom!" My four year old got a lot out of it but wasn't scared or upset while viewing it. Here's my review:


Martin Saenz

That is a very interesting story about talking to strangers. Appears you have a good balance with your teachings.


Yes, it's the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that put out this DVD. The actress talks to the children about "kinda knows" such as teachers, soccer coaches, etc.


I agree completely, Shay. I always tell my children that if they happen to get separated from me to immediately find another 'Mama' and ask her to help them. There's no guarantee that the woman they choose will actually be a 'Mama' but just about any woman who helps will be better than a security guard or other man in 'uniform'. The whole 'Stranger-Danger' concept is really sad when you consider that the people who pose the greatest danger to children are those who are trusted by them and their families. Unfortunately the usual scenario does not make for sensational press like 'stranger' abductions/abuse does! How often do we see headlines such as "Child Repeatedly Abused by Mother's Boyfriend/Trusted Family Friend/Clergy/Uncle/Step-Brother, etc."? It might make us feel safer to think that the greatest danger is from strangers but it's just not so.

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