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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At what age did you explain kidnapping to your child? How did she/he respond? Was she/he at all scared?

My daughter is 6, and we haven't touched upon it at all, but I want her to start teaching more about safety.

Thank-you =)
 

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I haven't discussed it with my kids yet but I really liked the book 'Protecting the Gift' by Gavin DeBecker which has lots of good advice about kids and security.


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Hi,

I started teaching my kids about "stranger danger" when they turned 6-7. I started off with telling them how to avoid speaking to strangers, particularly those trying to chat with them and how to scream for help and fight back should anyone try to kidnap them. While my daughter took the information calmly, my son became scared and asked me not to talk about that stuff anymore, so I had to gently remind him that what I was explaining was important for his safety.
 

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Our area offers a week long "safety town" which kids usually attend either the summer before Kindergarten or the summer after. I think googling "safety town" would come up with programs in your area. That's where my kids received this information.
 

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I would often use opportunities when my child would look at me sort of funny after an interaction with someone who behaved inappropriately to talk about this; trusting one's gut, getting away from someone who seems to have strange behavior or poor boundaries.

I think it is vital to talk to your kids not just about stranger danger but about inappropriate touch with a familiar person to the family. Most sexual abuse incidents with children happen with someone that the family "trusts."

I realize you are talking about kidnapping, not sexual abuse but I wanted to throw that in the mix.
 

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I don't talk much to my kids about kidnapping because the chance for them to be kidnapped is so remote.
I teach them to be friendly and polite with strangers and answer when someone says hi.
However, they must not go ANYWHERE with ANYONE without telling me first. That's because for most kids who are kidnapped/abused, it's almost always someone they already know, so teaching them stranger danger doesn't help.
Also, they must always stay visible (at the park, on the street) and stay together - or with a friend.

I started talking about safety when they were around 4 and they started playing in the front or back yard without supervision.
 

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I haven't discussed it with my kids yet but I really liked the book 'Protecting the Gift' by Gavin DeBecker which has lots of good advice about kids and security.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


:thumb
 

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I had talked to dd about it by 6 and maybe even earlier. She gets it but I think I'm going to be worried at an older age like when they are 13 when they are beginning to become independent and have to make some independent decisions. We have a teenage neighbor who does not talk to any neighbors unless he is spoken to and usually when his parents are around. I'm okay with it. I think it keeps him safe especially since both his parents work and he stays home alone for a while.
 

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They taught us about this every year in school through creepy videos of strangers coming to knock on people's doors, etc. when I was growing up and I was terrified well into my teen years. To this day I am pretty sure I would be frightened to be home alone in a house (I live in a condo building happily surrounded by neighbors and with 24 hr security). The real kicker is I remember reading somewhere that abductions and molestation both almost always occur from a known person not a stranger.

As a result, instead of "don't go with a stranger because they could hurt you", I say "don't go with anyone unless you've asked mommy or daddy so we know where you are and who you are with." I think there are ways to make the messages age appropriate and also to be all more encompassing because stranger danger isn't actually so much about strangers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank-you everyone for the great replies. I decided to order a couple of books through the library about safety about no meaning no. I realize that most risk comes from known people, but at the same time, I feel a need to mention strangers to my kids. I really liked the comments about teaching children to trust their instincts. That makes a lot of sense to me.

While I was looking for more info on safety, I came across this great article at ahaparenting:

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/safety/top_safety_tips_kids
 

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This is really good info. My almost four year old and I talk a bit about private space and I try to throw in some positives, since she is an anxious child, about her being in control of her body, not anyone else (except help from mom and dad for toilet wiping, which is rarely needed anymore). She really likes the idea of empowerment, that she decides what is okay. I'm saving some of the stranger danger for when she is a year older.
 

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Might be worth talking about perceived authority figures, because kids might assume the rules don't apply to them the way they do to other "strangers". I remember an animal control guy once trying to convince me to get in his truck because my dog's tags were expired. I was a young teen and old enough to know better, but it was a pretty good gambit, really. Police-types inspire obedience.
The creepiest stranger-types are the rarest attackers, and more likely to use force a kid would have no hope of resisting, so there's probably less benefit and more cost (scaring kids) in talking about them, at least until a kid is a tween or teen.
 

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I was molested as a child by known and unknown people. I know I might end up scaring dd but I'd rather be safe than sorry. If I find anyone remotely creepy looking/behaving creepy I warn dd that both of us will strictly ignore the person. I will blatantly ignore a person I know if I find they are getting weird with either me or dd. I go with my instinct and my instinct is usually pretty good.
 

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As a result, instead of "don't go with a stranger because they could hurt you", I say "don't go with anyone unless you've asked mommy or daddy so we know where you are and who you are with." I think there are ways to make the messages age appropriate and also to be all more encompassing because stranger danger isn't actually so much about strangers.
Exactly. Far more abductions are committed by someone known to the child. Only a fraction of a percent of missing kids were abducted by strangers- FAR more were abducted by family, friends, etc. Most strangers are safe.

A better idea is to teach kids to trust their guts and that they're allowed to have boundaries. Which can be really hard to do because it means sometimes our kids refuse to do a societally expected thing. Like refusing to hug a relative. It's important to let kids have that boundary, but it can be difficult for us as adults to navigate because we don't want to hurt our loved one's feelings. We also need to have age appropriate but open conversations about abuse (even sexual abuse) and such so that our kids have the tools if they're ever faced with it, and hopefully will feel safe to tell us what's going on.

A lot of abusers take the time to groom children (again: most often close to the family so have access to the child), by the time they cross the line, they've laid the groundwork so the child won't feel safe telling their parents what's going on.
 

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"Protecting the Gift" is excellent and really helped inform my parenting around these issues.
 

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If I find anyone remotely creepy looking/behaving creepy I warn dd that both of us will strictly ignore the person.
I agree that it's a good idea to teach and model that you can walk away from people whose behavior makes you uncomfortable. I am concerned about the idea that you can tell who is "creepy" by the way they look. Some perfectly nice people do not present well, but more importantly, most molesters/kidnappers/etc. look perfectly normal.
 

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If someone has taken your child and make you threatening calls that do anything as per our advice as your son/daughter is in our custody. This is kidnapping.
 
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