This post may upset you, it may hurt someone’s feelings and it may frighten people. Oh well, put on your big kid panties and suck it up, buttercup, because what follows needs to be addressed.
The Meat of the Matter
Stranger Danger does not seem to be a thing that exists anymore. I grew up in the 80s and 90s and this concept was stressed on me from as long as I was old enough to understand the phrase. You don’t talk to them, you don’t listen when they talk to you, you certainly don’t accept anything from them and you absolutely never walk away with or get into a car with them. The incentive to follow this very important rule was the second half of the phrase – DANGER –.
So what happened? Nowadays parents seem to tell their kids, in an almost half-hearted way, to “not talk to strangers”. Where is the danger? Why don’t parents tell their kids why they should not interact with strangers anymore? Because they don’t want their children to be frightened? Because they don’t see it as a real threat the way most parents did when I was a child?
When I was a kid I remember not only hearing the spiel on Stranger Danger, but hearing why it was so dangerous. Hearing what could happen was the incentive to follow the advice. I did not want to be kidnapped, molested and/or murdered, who does? But watch this:
Was that scary? How about this one?
Why was it so incredibly easy for this guy to get these kids to walk away with him? With their mothers sitting feet away on a park bench no less! I have to conclude that these kids were not taught the actual reason for why they shouldn’t talk to, approach, or leave with a stranger. Not all parents fail to educate their kids, of course…
The next one illustrates the different reactions that people in public have depending on whether the potential abductor is a male or a female. Horrifying to say the least.
So what happened? Why is my generation forgetting the important parts of parenting?
Teach Your Children Safety
Don’t be complacent, don’t have a false sense of security, don’t think that it “couldn’t ever happen to my kid” because it could. Teach your kids to not speak to anyone they don’t know, to not respond to anyone they don’t know and to never, ever walk away with someone they do not know. Create a “safe word” for your kids in the event that you have to have someone who is known to you but not them pick them up for whatever reason. Teach them that if a strange adult tries to grab them or lure them away they should immediately create the biggest scene possible. Teach them to curse in this situation, teach them to hit, kick, bite, thrash and attack in any way they are capable of attacking.
I have two sons, I have taught them these things, and randomly I reiterate the lesson to keep it fresh in their minds. The phrase my children have been taught to scream at the top of their lungs in a situation like this is “Stranger Danger Motherfucker!”. They have been taught to say that, loudly and repeatedly until the person either flees or they get enough attention on the situation to stop it. Don’t let complacence make your child a victim.