As all parents know, teaching children how to be safe outside of the home is very difficult. The last thing that you want to do is scare kids so much that they lose their confidence to approach and tackle life challenges. Yet, you also need to be sure that they can handle danger wherever they encounter it. The problem is that the ‘rules’ for staying safe can be fairly complicated.
For example, how do you teach a child to be wary and reasonably suspicious of strangers, without convincing them that they are all bad people? There will be times when your child need the assistance of strangers. On roads, at school, in stores, and certainly if lost and separated from you – how do you explain the distinction?
This handy guide to ‘stranger danger’ will give you some tips and advice on how to teach your children to stay safe outside the home.
A Question of Monitoring
First things first, there are plenty of mobile apps out there that can be used for parental monitoring They usually incorporate GPS technology, so that parents can pinpoint the location of a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer. These apps are also a popular strategy for employee monitoring, because they can be used to check if a person is exactly where they are expected to be.
It is entirely up to you whether you decide to utilise these apps. In most cases, it is better to speak to a child about parental monitoring and safety through self-defence first. That way, you don’t have to conceal your use of tracking technology. However, teenagers can be notoriously uncooperative; sometimes, keeping them safe requires a little ingenuity.
The Meaning of Security
The most difficult thing about teaching kids to stay safe is the distinction between stranger danger and risks that are familiar and intimate. For example, we are all used to discussions about not talking to strangers or accepting gifts from them, but it is less common for parents to talk about internal risks. This is one of the key reasons why it often takes abused children so long to speak up (some wait until adulthood).
Yes, it is uniquely difficult to explain all of the many nuances of staying safe and avoiding danger, but you can start with teaching confidence and self-assertiveness. Kids who are sure of themselves and their own bodies are much more likely to respond to danger quickly and effectively. Why not enrol your child in a martial arts class? Safety through self-defence is a superb way to build self-assurance and quick thinking.
Putting Together a Safety Plan
One of the most practical ways of keeping a child safe is to put together a safety or emergency plan. You should do this with your child, as a kind of collaborative activity. They should be involved and be provided with the opportunity to work out the problems for themselves. For instance, talk your child through what should happen if they get lost and separated from the adult that they are with.
Be patient and listen to their answers, even if they are wrong. If they do give an incorrect answer, explain why it is wrong and what the right course of action is. For parents who struggle to explain to their child that some strangers can be trusted, particularly in an emergency, a safety plan is an easy way to ensure that they find help. Make sure that they know how to identify a police officer, security guard, or other trusted figure.