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How Are You Preparing Your Children For Stranger Danger?

Parents must constantly work with their kids to avoid becoming victims of crime.

This was going to be a happy Thanksgiving question until

Last Sunday afternoon, while walking alone along Lark Avenue, a 17-year-old girl was approached by a man who then attempted to physically pick her up and put her in his car. But this resourceful young woman was having none of it. She punched the perpetrator, then kneed him in the groin. The would-be kidnapper went back to his car and sped away.

After reading the story, it just popped into my mind. Have I prepared my kids well enough to face an emergency situation such as this? I have yammered at them many times, “Never go to the second location. Never get into a car with a stranger even if he has a gun, or a puppy or a cool electronic gadget. If you do your dead.” But is parroting this information at them enough to keep them out of danger?

What have you done to prepare your kids for stranger-danger?

BTW, bravo to the girl who got away. Her mamma didn’t raise no fool.

Thanks to Moms Council member Dyan Chan for last week's timely question about where to draw the line on media our children consume.

Here's what some members of our council had to say:

Hi Dyan, This is a great topic for discussion; the appropriateness of TV and music are the two most wildly-debated subjects in our home, and there's never a shortage of discussions since the argument starts anew with every new show. (I've found that ratings don't work all that well as a guide for our family. I'd rather have my kid run into a little nudity now and then than violence or blatant disrespect. Some PG-13 stuff is awful.) In answer to your Glee question: my son watched it for a couple of seasons. We watched as a family, in fact, enjoying the music but cringing at actions of some of the meaner kids and more inappropriate comments. (It was kind of a love-hate relationship. We liked parts of it so much that we sure we'd like all if it a lot if we kept at it.) We all finally got tired of the writers putting more effort into trying to shock the audience with edgy content than developing interesting story lines. It's not forbidden at our house, but my kid is older. I wouldn't want my 10 year old watching it. (BTW, Carly refused the kiss; she just said she'd do it to catch the bad guy!)

Thanks for the great column, Dyan. We also debate this very heated topic in our household. My daughter would watch Caillou (which is a very cute show) on demand 24/7 if we'd let her. I think the line should be drawn early as to what's appropriate and as to how much is okay. Thanks for writing!
Sunshine Mom

I just read a Denver Post column that says behavioral scientist Rebecca Collins believes watching TV with children and talking about sex preferences and situations is the ideal situation! So there you go, I guess it's not so bad to watch these shows, as long as we talk to our kids about it. :)

Dyan Chan November 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM
We share stories like this one with our children and talk about what they should do if a stranger approaches them. This stuff makes me crazy! I am so glad that girl fought back!
Chigiy Binell November 18, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Yes Dyan, The good news is we can use this story to teach our children the right thing to do in this particular emergency situation.
Sheila Sanchez November 22, 2011 at 04:33 PM
In my family, we've taught our children the secret "password," so that if they're approached or contacted by a stranger wanting them to join them in their car, or to an activity, or whatever, they can ask for that clue. The other thing we've done is practice. We practiced many times with the girls when they were little. My favorite one and most memorable was me telling them that if I let them play outside and I walked out to my driveway and I couldn't see them, they had gone too far. Tell your children they must be within eye view to avoid them going too far. Finally, when I'm with my children, even now that my oldest is 19, LOL, I still repeat the acronym: DTTS when I let them go to the bathroom by themselves or need to leave my immediate company. DTTS stands for Don't Talk To Strangers! Hope this helps. Thanks, Chigiy, for posing this important question to us parents. Much appreciated.
Maaliea Wilbur November 23, 2011 at 05:34 AM
Yikes...scary that this story was close to home in our community. Stranger danger is an issue that I have yet to need to discuss with my 1 year old...however, this helps me realize that I better start prepping for this conversation in the future!

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