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Is “Stranger Danger” Part of the Problem?

Speak to your Children

Parents, do these four things IMMEDIATELY for any child that can SPEAK:

Step One: Arm Them With Language

Teach your children how to describe their body parts in medical terms.

Teach your children the scientific name for their body parts. They need to know there ARE different parts of their body and they need to know how to identify *exactly* where someone touches them.

Here is a great place to start, from Psychology Today.

Step Two: Choose your Allies

Doctor, mom, and daughter
Give your child people they can speak with outside their family

Because abuse happens inside families, and by close friends to your family (including neighbors), you have to think defensively.

Give your child at least 3 people outside your family they can tell anything. Doctor, nurse, teacher, you name it. They are your allies that are going to help your children navigate their challenges throughout their lives.

Choose wisely, and add / remove people from that team as time goes on.

Step Three: Encourage Trust

Be cautious with “Stranger Danger.”  That phrase can keep abuse inside a family, so your child has to feel SAFE telling allies you have chosen to be part of their safety team.

Get your children to tell their allies (see #2) any time they think something needs to be told or if they have questions. They should feel comfortable talking to you, but they always need to know they have those allies. Repeat this conversation in front of those allies with your child. They need to know you’re all on the same team, and that they will contact the appropriate authorities.

Here is an article from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that has a LOT more to say about this.

Step Four: Secrets are Supposed to Feel Good, Like a Birthday Present

Surprises should be good, like a present

Tell your children that secrets are supposed to feel GOOD, like a birthday gift. 

When someone tells your child something like “It’ll be our little secret,” that’s a red flag and needs to be shared with one of their allies. 

A secret should never make anyone feel scared or threatened. Ever.

Pass This Along. Now.

Pass this along to other parents. Now.

And if any of this information is out of date, please let us know immediately. We want to be sure we’re sharing correct advice.