Perhaps the most important way parents can protect their children is to teach them to be wary of potentially dangerous situations - this will help them when dealing with strangers as well as with known adults who may not have good intentions. Help children recognize the warning signs of suspicious behavior, such as when an adult asks them to disobey their parents or do something without permission, asks them to keep a secret, asks children for help, or makes them feel uncomfortable in any way.
Also tell your children that an adult should never ask a child for help, and if one does ask for their help, teach them to find a trusted adult right away to tell what happened.
Handling Dangerous Situations
You should also talk to your children about how they should handle dangerous situations. One ways is to teach them "No, Go, Yell, Tell." If in a dangerous situations, kids should say no, run away, yell as loud as they can, and tell a trusted adult what happened right away. Make sure that your children know that it is okay to say no to an adult in a dangerous situation and to yell to keep themselves safe, even if they are indoors.
Practicing Different Scenarios
It's good to practice this in different situations so that your children will feel confident in knowing know what to do. Here are a few possible scenarios:
- A nice-looking stranger approaches your child in the park and asks for help finding the stranger's lost dog
- A woman who lives in your neighborhood but that the child has never spoken to invites your child into her house for a snack
- A stranger asks if your child wants a ride home from school
- Your child thinks he or she is being followed
- An adult your child knows says or does something that makes him or her feel bad or uncomfortable
- While your child is walking home from a friend's house, a car pulls over and a stranger asks for directions