Kid Smarts: Talking to Strangers

If I were a songwriter as talented as Taylor Swift, I’d probably write a song called Don’t Talk to Strangers (alternately entitled, “Who You Don’t Know Can Hurt You”).  That’s probably one of the early life lessons passed on to me by my parents which has stuck like crazy glue.  They have always stressed the importance of not talking to strangers as a precautionary form of action to ward off people with bad intentions.  Although there is a whole lot of truth to that, I do think it needs a little bit of tweaking in this day and age.

We parents must realize that there are some instances- although few and far between- when our kids may just have to talk to people they don’t know.  This is especially true when they’re lost or need help.    If they have to ask a stranger for help, remind them to look for people in uniform: policemen, security guards, etc.  Older people or those with kids can help too.  Tell your kid to be wary though, as not all good-looking people are necessarily kind-hearted.  Criminals now know better to shave and put on decent clothes when they’re on the prowl.

Here are the instances when your kids should not be talking to strangers:

A stranger offers them treats.  That sugary donut may look irresistibly scrumptious, but if it comes from a total stranger, there is a huge possibility that it may be laced with something which you’d find on a Top Ten Highly-Toxic Substances list.  Even toys can be covered in some harmful narcotic too, so remind your kids to just say no.

A stranger asks if your kid can keep a secret.  This act simply spells sleaziness, as he is trying to lure your kid and put him under his spell.  There can’t possibly be anything good that person has to do or say.

A stranger asks to touch your kid’s private parts- or asks your kid to touch his.  The stranger may say all sorts of things to try to earn your kid’s trust enough to make him do all sorts of unimaginable things.

It just doesn’t feel right.  Your kid should use his or her instincts too.  When he feels uncomfortable talking to someone, he should just walk away and find someone else to turn to.

Hard as we try, we parents can’t and will not always be there to protect our dear children.  If we arm them with the right knowledge about what goes on around us, they will be better-equipped to take care of themselves when the need arises.