Just got an email from DD's principal - she's in Year 1 and I still drop her off and pick her up in person....but the school is very near the trains and bus lines which are quite popular. A group of middle school girls were followed this morning and the police are investigating. It is just so scary to think you can be in a great city, your daughter can be in a group doing all the right things and still get followed by some creepy person :( At this age (Kindergarten-Year 1) what are you doing for stranger danger preparedness? We've read and followed Protecting the Gift but I always thought of it as an intangible that would not hit our home...
Well, there was an incident in our school district as well. Dd and I talked about trusting her instincts about people, using an example of a time when she'd done that (nothing dire; she was standing outside a store, about 6 feet from me; saw some guys crossing the street toward her. They made her nervous for some reason and she came back in).
We also talked about never never ever getting into a car with someone she doesn't know, and named names of people she could absolutely trust. To run like a bunny and scream if anyone ever tries to make her do something (she's actually pretty good at that already ). And because it's a little scary to talk about, I reassured her that she is absolutely safe at school and at her after school program.
Mom of two girls.
OMG. I just got chills all up and down my body reading this.
As much as I hate to say it, we've not done much with "stranger danger" with ds. I don't even know how to start. First of all, he has autism. Which makes it way more difficult. He takes *everything* we say, word for word. So if I tell him "you need to stay with x, y and z" then when there's a sub teacher or para he would totally not stay with that person because I didn't say THAT person, ya know?
But they keep a *very* close eye on ds (he's within an adults arms reach at all times) because of his autism (he's a runner and will escape from school without any warning). So I don't have much fear of anything happening to him at school with a stranger. Either I or his para walk him straight to his classroom every morning (and once he's there he's with his para and/or a teacher the entire time). I either go straight to his classroom to pick him up after school or his para will hold his hand and bring him down to me after school. There's not many opportunities where he isn't with his para or teacher.
Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)
Some great stuff I got out of PTG was teaching my kids:
If he's scared pay attention to what is the danger and what would make him safer.
Remember ask me or dad first before going anywhere with someone, or receiving any gifts.
His body is his own, he's in charge of it and can say don't touch me.
He may defend himself, yell, run if someone older is taking or hurting him.
If someone's doing wrong they might say how to stop them: they say "Don't yell" then YELL, "Don't tell" then tell!
If he needs help, is lost, whatever, look for a mom or woman to ask, don't wait for someone to come to him.
The part I liked in Protecting the Gift was the idea of teaching children how to listen to their guts, how to read a situation, and how to pick a safe looking stranger if they need help in a predicament. I've been working on those skills with my children-- helping them to identify someone that they don't trust ad determine 'why' they get the willies, picking out trustworthy looking people out of a crowd etc. No, it's not foolproof and someone who looks safe might not be safe, but I think it's good practice for reading cues and being alert.
I agree it is SO hard to balance them understanding vs. being upset and confused. I'm focusing a lot on trusting her feelings, body is my own, etc. I think it is that much more complex for you Steph - is there any research into what types of Stranger Danger talks work with kids who have autisim?