Having a hard time teaching toddler about stranger danger - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 16 Old 02-10-2012, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
LittleBlessings's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,145
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Having a hard time teaching toddler about stranger danger. DC tries to talk to everyone we come in contact with and is a very fearless child. Is it possible to teach a toddler about strangers?

LittleBlessings is offline  
#2 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 04:37 AM
 
homeschoolingmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 950
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I do teach my toddlers about strangers but I don't feel they are old enough to understand consequences.  I will gently give reminders but other than that I watch them.  My children are 9, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 8 months.  I know that my older girls are capable of knowing the safety rules.  My 6yo son, not so much.  He knows the rules but I am not sure he would follow them if enticed with something like candy or a puppy.  Forget it for my 4 and 3yo's.  No matter how many times I share the safety rules I know that they would probably go if enticed.  Creeps can be smart.  They can rephrase something and confuse them easily where the right and wrong answer is blurry.  I would not trust my toddler not to go with someone. 

Here is a conversation that I have had with my different children when they were young.

 

Mom:  Say we are at the park.  A man or woman comes up to you and tells you that they lost their puppy.  Will you help them find him/her?

 

Child: Yes!

 

Mom:  No.  They don't have a lost puppy.  There are bad people in the world that would take you.  They would be lying about the puppy so they could take you away from mommy and daddy. (I am honest but my children don't scare easily.)  So you never go with someone without asking mommy and daddy.  You run away screaming if someone asks you to come with them.  Ok?

 

Child: Ok.

 

Mom:  What if a man or woman wants you to see their baby in the car?  Would you go?

 

Child: Yes!

 

I watch them closely until they really get it.

homeschoolingmama is offline  
#3 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 06:56 AM
 
eirual's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: GTA, Canada
Posts: 4,418
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I've never been one for "stranger danger"....statistically speaking a child is more likely to be abused/abducted by someone they know.

 

I don't think the pros outweigh the cons....the chances of anything bad happening=slim to none. To me, the comfort and joy and sense of community they get from being social outweighs the fear of "stranger danger".

 

I'm much more inclined to speak about limits and social norms.


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

eirual is offline  
#4 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 07:54 AM
 
sosurreal09's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 3,446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by eirual View Post

I've never been one for "stranger danger"....statistically speaking a child is more likely to be abused/abducted by someone they know.

 

I don't think the pros outweigh the cons....the chances of anything bad happening=slim to none. To me, the comfort and joy and sense of community they get from being social outweighs the fear of "stranger danger".

 

I'm much more inclined to speak about limits and social norms.


This is me too I think a more sociable child would not be a target anyway they would be too vocal...

 


 Young born-again mama and loving wife peace.gif to DH jammin.gif and SAHP to two crazy girls dust.gifwehomebirth.jpgfly-by-nursing2.gifslinggirl.giffamilybed1.gif and believe gd.giflactivist.gif  signcirc1.gif !

sosurreal09 is offline  
#5 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 07:57 AM
 
MotheringBliss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Northern Idaho Mountains
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I showed my son this example of a child fighting back...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4PxkTiU0yU

 

He is now more keenly aware of how bold the pedos have become and how necessary it is to stay close to us.  Abduction stats have skyrocketed and nearly half of those are strangers.

 

Washington state now has this protective device available  http://www.projectlocate.org/the-device.html  Similar options are sure to follow.

MotheringBliss is offline  
#6 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 08:52 AM
 
mama2soren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: slowly making a way home
Posts: 690
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by MotheringBliss View Post

 

He is now more keenly aware of how bold the pedos have become and how necessary it is to stay close to us.  Abduction stats have skyrocketed and nearly half of those are strangers.

 

 



Curious about this... do you have sources?


OB RN, partner tobikenew.gif and mama to jog.gif (2008, 31 weeker) and babygirl.gif (2011) vbac.gif femalesling.GIF   novaxnocirc.gif  cd.gif

 
 

mama2soren is offline  
#7 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 09:44 AM
 
MotheringBliss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Northern Idaho Mountains
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I personally consider an "acquaintance" a stranger...regardless of the stats, when I see attempts of child abductions in public places during business hours, I know my children cannot enjoy the freedoms I once knew.

 

http://www.klaaskids.org/pg-mc-mcstatistics.htm

MotheringBliss is offline  
#8 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Imakcerka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)

I've heard parental abductions have gone up.  Other than that not much else.

 

My kids are good about suspicious behavior identification.  If they see the same car circle the neighborhood numerous times they tell a parent.  Other than my kids being alone in the front yard with half the neighborhood they're usually not out of my sight. 

 

DD1 is anxious about everything and she's full of DOOM and what ifs.  On her own she's decided that someone will try to take her little sister because she's cute.  So she watches her like a hawk.  DH and I have been helping her through her anxieties, however I'm pretty sure at this point all little kids in our neighborhood are safe because of DD1 and her radar! 

Imakcerka is offline  
#9 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 02:12 PM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,427
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Read Protecting the Gift and please rethink your stance on strangers.  Your children are more likely to be hurt by someone they know than some random friendly old guy at the grocery store.  Children should be taught how to respond when they feel uncomfortable or threatened in a situation, not to treat every situation as a potential danger.

Norabella likes this.
mamalisa is offline  
#10 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 04:41 PM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,570
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

OP, please read "Protecting the Gift".

 

Second, I think it's both impossible and detrimental to teach a toddler stranger danger. They simply don't understand the nuances of how we interact with people yet. You tell them not to talk to strangers, and yet you have short, pleasant conversations with strangers in the check out line or at the library. How do you (as an adult) make friends if you never ever talk to a stranger? Furthermore, we, as adults, sometimes encourage our children to talk to our friends, who are strangers to the children. Can a toddler really  understand "don't talk to someone that your mother doesn't know?" Even my 7 year old doesn't know everyone I know and would probably trust someone if they said they were a friend of mine.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotheringBliss View Post

I personally consider an "acquaintance" a stranger...regardless of the stats, when I see attempts of child abductions in public places during business hours, I know my children cannot enjoy the freedoms I once knew.

 

http://www.klaaskids.org/pg-mc-mcstatistics.htm

 

When did you last see an attempt at a child abduction in a public place? Read about one in your hometown? The website you cite conflates stranger abductions (which account for a very small proportion of kidnappings) with family abductions and runaways. Many runaways are indeed classified as endangered. For example, there are posters up in the neighborhood where I work about a 16 year old who has run away. He's endangered because he has serious mental illness, not because some stranger abducted him.

 

If you look at the website, they also are summarizing data over multiple years (1982 to 2000), not a single year. Why would they do that? Because to get people to donate to their cause, they need to create a sense of immediate danger. Furthermore, they cite REPORTS not actual confirmed instances. Much of the increase in reporting is due to an increase of awareness, not actual crimes. The appalling information for me is not how many more reports have been made, but how little reporting of child abuse there was when I was a child (in the 1970s) or when my parents were children (in the 1930s). It was simply something you didn't talk about. And if a child did, it wasn't uncommon for them to be ignored.

 

REAL stranger kidnapping is very rare:  https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/196467.pdf

Stereotypical stranger kidnappings = 115 a year.

 

Injuries by lightening strikes = 300 a year

 

In other words, there's more of a chance of someone you know being struck by lightening than a child being kidnapped by a stranger. Furthermore, "teenagers were by far the most frequent victims of both stereotypical kidnappings and nonfamily abductions."

 

Other fun facts from: http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6143427/k.38C5/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Statistics.htm

84% of sexual assaults on children occur in a home

90-95% of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know (who often spend time grooming the child and the family)

The number of identified incidents of child sexual abuse decreased 47% from 1993 to 2005-2006 (Sedlack, et. al., 2010)

 

We've lived in our current metropolitan area for 13 years. There has been one case of a child disappearing in all that time that has been unresolved. The major suspect? The step-mother. That's hardly a stranger. There have been a number of really tragic cases of child murder in the last 5 years. In all but one of the cases, it was a parent who was responsible (usually murder-suicide). In the other case, it was the father of the girl's friend. Hardly a stranger, and someone who would be classified as an 'acquaintance' in the stats.

 

So, OP: The best defense you can teach your child is to trust their gut, and if someone asks them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they need to say STOP! If the person doesn't stop, they should tell you. Make sure you believe and listen to your child. Your toddler isn't going to be out of your sight for a good long while. It's YOUR job to watch out for him. He doesn't need to worry about stranger danger yet. Teach him to be strong, healthy and confident. Give him the love and attention he needs at home. Let him try things (and fail) so that he knows he's resiliant. In other words, be the kind, caring, nurturing parent it sounds like you already are.

 

TiredX2 and dejagerw like this.

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#11 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 05:35 PM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,570
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

OK, since I feel really strongly about the danger fearmongering and the misperception that the world has become a more dangerous place. It hasn't. In so many ways the world is so much more safe than when I was a child. This misperception is increasing anxiety and fearfulness among parents and children. Children are no longer learning life skills that they need.

 

From the Polly Klaas foundation:

99.8% of the children who go missing do come home.

  • Nearly 90% of missing children have simply misunderstood directions or miscommunicated their plans, are lost, or have run away.
  • 9% are kidnapped by a family member in a custody dispute.
  • 3% are abducted by non-family members, usually during the commission of a crime such as robbery or sexual assault. The kidnapper is often someone the child knows.
  • Only about 100 children (a fraction of 1%) are kidnapped each year in the stereotypical stranger abductions you hear about in the news.
  • About half of these 100 children come home.

 

Yes, it's a tragedy for the 50-60 children who don't come home. But are those numbers so high that we need to create a whole generation of children who think the world is a crazy, scary place?

TiredX2 and dejagerw like this.

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#12 of 16 Old 02-12-2012, 04:09 AM
 
ThankfulMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 293
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

Read Protecting the Gift and please rethink your stance on strangers.  Your children are more likely to be hurt by someone they know than some random friendly old guy at the grocery store.  Children should be taught how to respond when they feel uncomfortable or threatened in a situation, not to treat every situation as a potential danger.



yeahthat.gif


Me and DH, parents to:

DD1 (06/09), Twin DD2 and DS1 (born 3/12- 6 weeks early due to IUGR)

ThankfulMama is offline  
#13 of 16 Old 02-12-2012, 06:38 PM
 
Just1More's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks, Lynn.

 

I've been really struggling with this lately.  I had *just* started letting dd (6) out of my sight for little bits of time in public when I read an article in our local paper about FOUR random abduction attempts within a 15 mile radius of our house in the space of one month.  It was unusual, but parents were warned to be cautious.  I've not read of anymore since, and I've been keeping an eye out for it.  But...the impact on me was huge.  So, Lynn, thanks again.  I really appreciate the perspective.


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

Just1More is offline  
#14 of 16 Old 04-05-2012, 08:03 PM
 
BabyBearsMummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 838
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

 

The issue of protecting children has been on my mind lately with some recent stranger abduction attempts in my area. I have been teaching my child never to go anywhere with a stranger or anyone she feels uncomfortable with. Also if someone attempts to take her against her will she is to kick, scream, bite, etc and yell as loud as she can "No I don't know you you are a stranger" anything she needs to do to remove herself from the situation.

BabyBearsMummy is offline  
#15 of 16 Old 04-08-2012, 04:27 PM
 
pammysue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Mountains of S. California
Posts: 1,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

Read Protecting the Gift and please rethink your stance on strangers.  Your children are more likely to be hurt by someone they know than some random friendly old guy at the grocery store.  Children should be taught how to respond when they feel uncomfortable or threatened in a situation, not to treat every situation as a potential danger.


YES! Read this book. It will change how you look at the world and your child.

 

A toddler is too young to understand safety issues, it is still the parent's job to be super vigilant. The same way you always hold your child's hand in parking lots and near streets now but won't do the same when they are ten. My children are shy with new people, but my 22 month old thinks nothing of turning and running away from me no matter where we are. If I yell his name or say STOP he speeds up. This is normal for toddlers but means I have to have a iron grip on him at all times.

 


Pamstillheart.gif Cliffguitar.gif Malachi 5/08 bouncy.gif   Judah 5/10 jog.gif  Eden 8/12 babygirl.gif Asher 8/12 babyboy.gif

 
 You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~CS Lewis

pammysue is offline  
#16 of 16 Old 04-11-2012, 02:24 PM
 
eeem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

One more vote here for "Protecting the Gift"! If you can't buy a copy, you can get it through your local library- and if they don't have it ask them to inter-library loan it for you. It is a MUST READ (and a quick, easy read) for all parents.

eeem is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off