- by Dr Gowher Pebbles n Pearl Pediatrics and Child Care
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- Mar 10 2017
Teach ‘Stranger Danger’ in 4 Easy Steps
Discussing Stranger Danger is a must whether your child is entering preschool or high school, says Alan H. Rosenthal, MD, pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic’s Chagrin Falls Family Health Center. There’s no ideal age to stress the importance of staying away from people who could harm you.
Steps to reach the goal:
1. Start young
Teaching Stranger Danger is a critical part of a child’s development — just like learning to look both ways when crossing the street.
As soon as you begin reading to your children, start drilling in the concept og Stanger Danger, as it takes years of repeating these words ‘stay away from strangers, don’t go with them, don’t take candy from them, stay away from strange cars,’ it becomes ingrained in the brains of our children. This isn’t something they should hear for the first time when they become teenagers. Talk to them in appropriate ways at times you might need to use visual aids to teach small kids or through play you can send the message across.
2. Define “stranger”
Make sure your kids know that a stranger is anybody who is unfamiliar to them — even people who seem friendly. “If an unfamiliar person says: ‘I’m a good friend of your father/mother,’ they’re still a stranger to your child,”
3. Choose any method
What you say and the way you teach your kids about Stranger Danger is up to you. JWhat ever method you choose, should be repeated as often as posible and should be consistent, then only you can expect your desired result.
- Role-play and practice responding in different scenarios.
- Establish a family code word. Anyone sent to pick up your child must use the code word so the child knows it’s safe to get in the car.
- Identify safe adults, like police officers, whom children can go to if they sense danger.
- Set walking rules, including what to do if walking alone or with a friend.
- Make guidelines for being home alone, such as how to answer (or not answer) the door or phone.
4. Be frank
Children like honesty, certainty and predictability, so don’t withhold any information from your kids. If you impar the right information to your children then this will remove all the uncertantites and anxieties the kids might face in any given risky situation.
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