Preparing children for stranger danger.
Dear Stop It Now!,
How can I advise my children about not talking to strangers in the best possible way?
Dear Alert Parent,
I’m so glad that you’re asking about how to keep your children safe. While many of us have been taught about “stranger danger,” please know that it is actually very rare for strangers to sexually abuse children or young teens. In fact, 90% of child sexual abuse is committed by people a child knows and trusts – like family members, teachers, coaches, family friends, etc.
The best way to help your children stay safe is to teach them about healthy boundaries – with strangers as well as with people they know. That includes their right to say ‘no’ and to have that no respected, their right to privacy, and their right to personal space. You can model these ideas with your children, and remind them to trust their instincts and come to you when someone breaks the rules or makes them uncomfortable.
Please take a look at our tip sheet, Talking To Children And Teens – it can provide some helpful tips on how to have these conversations with your children. It also provides information on specific things you can talk about to help keep your children safe, like avoiding tricks or secrets.
We do have a selection of advice columns that address different aspects of Talking With Children and Teens About Safety. While these may not address talking to strangers, they do cover other situations in which people have needed guidance talking to their children about saying safe.
I hope this information is helpful for taking preventative steps to protect your loved ones.
Stop It Now!
Last edited on: July 25th, 2019