The world is a scary place, and as a parent with a young child it can be tempting to buy into the stranger danger training model. This is where children are taught skills to resist everyone else other than their parents and become aware of the fact that someone could want to take them.
As I write this, I feel sick because this model down not in any way work. In fact, I believe it robs a child’s mind of the ability to experience a carefree childhood, where adults are responsible for a child’s safety. Did you know that according to facts, 93 percent of all crimes are committed by someone the victim knows, as apposed to a random abuser. With this truth, you can keep your child safe by knowing where they are at all times and allowing them to be only in the company of trusted adults. This alone should alleviate fears about strangers.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, the group encourages parents and teachers to teach children warning signs, give them tools to handle a stranger, such as running away and yelling for help. The development of a child’s mind tells us that between the ages of three and six years old, children are developing the concepts of courage and independence. Implementing a sense of judgement and developing the ability to test the limits of their world are what children of this age focus on. Risk taking behaviors such as crossing the street alone or jumping off a play structure are common amongst preschoolers.
I believe this age is re-visted at adolescence, a time of risk taking and independence from parents. Parents can help children when they do feel anxious about anything in life by role modeling an attitude of trust and calmness.
At the end the day, we need to be aware of our job as the parents and caretakers of the children we love. To keep them safe, at all costs.