Do you talk to your kids about strangers? When did you start? For us the first conversations happened last summer when he started karate and one of his classes was (still is) Self Defense. Then that winter he did a drop off basketball camp. Up until then I had only dropped him off at school, so I hadn’t really ever felt the need to talk about strangers and safety…at least not in as direct a way as I now needed to do. This summer he did basketball camp again and so we had the same talk again. The main points I try and make with him…
1) no adult that you do not know ever needs your help (this one was thanks to Pride MMA putting it in such great words!). Your dad, a teacher…they can ask for your help, but someone you don’t know, an adult, never needs anything from you, a kid. This addresses the “help me find me lost dog” scenario.
2) no one will pick you up from camp that you do not know. EVER. My in laws live here, as does RBB’s aunt and uncle. Between the 6 of us, no one else will ever need to get him.
3) I will NEVER wait in the parking lot and ask someone else to bring you out to me. If someone says “your mom told me to get you and walk you to her car.” Nope. I didn’t.
4) If someone asks you to do something and you are not sure who they are (like at camp, they seem like a counselor but you haven’t met them) go ask someone you know, a counselor you know. They will not get mad at you for asking. Just say, “I haven’t met this person and I am not sure if I am supposed to go with them.”
5) If you ever needed to yell for help, you have to yell certain words. If you just fuss and say “no” people might just think you are throwing a fit because you don’t want to go with your mom/dad. They will not know something is wrong and that you need help. You must yell “HELP” and “Stranger Danger” and you must yell loud. And if you see coaches you know yell their name very loud. Call to them.
And this one is not exactly in the same realm, but a valid talking point none the less….
6) No one should ever ask you to keep a secret from me. A surprise is ok, a secret is not. A surprise is a present someone bought me and they want to wait to give it to me. A secret is something they do or say that they tell you not to tell anyone. If you aren’t sure which it is, assume it is ok to tell me. You will never get in trouble for telling me secrets (or surprises by mistake.)
No one likes to have these talks. They are yucky. But we all need to have them. And have them with your kids early and often. Bonham isn’t left very many places other than school so I didn’t really think to have the talk until camp this winter, but I am glad I had it then, and glad we had it again this summer. Anyway, I am not trying to act like an authority or preach to anyone….this is just a reminder from a friend.