Thursday, September 4, 2008

Time to Talk to Your Kids About..

A few things have happened over the last couple of months and especially within the last week that have made me realize that it is probably "time to have a talk with your kids about a couple of things...". While I’m not saying that now is the time for the dreaded “birds and bees” speech that make so many parents feel awkward and tongue-tied(that is a somewhat different topic for another occasion), you should take the time to talk about not going with strangers and that your child should not let people touch them in inappropriate places.

I know of one child where a neighbor boy tried to touch her and play games that were inappropriate for kindergarten age kids to be playing. Fortunately, the parents had explained that other people touching her private parts was forbidden and things did not proceed as they might have, if the parents hadn’t discussed this with her previously. I also know of a boy that was molested by a bigger boy in kindergarten. While you sometimes hear horror stories of children being molested in kindergartens and in daycare, you need to also consider that this often happens by people that the kids know and trust.

Just the other day I got word that there is a van that has been trying to lure kids away with Gummy Bears. When I was a kid, many parents tried to teach their kids not to talk to strangers. I remember that the police visited my elementary school and tried to explain the danger of going off with strangers. While I don’t want to say that kids shouldn’t talk to strangers, they need to be careful. Candy, toys, puppies, kittens, and other things are often used a lures. Sometimes potential abductors will pretend to know people that the kids know, to try to gain their trust.

Sometimes these strangers will pretend that one of the parents or family members is seriously hurt and they’ve been sent to bring the kids to their parent(s) or family member. Because most younger kids are trusting of adults, they will often take these strangers at their word, without questioning the validity of it. The strangers are playing on a fear that kids have about losing their parents or family. You might want to come up with a strategy of how to handle emergency situations before this happens. Maybe you can come up with a code word or something so that in the unusual event that someone would need to retrieve your kids, that they can trust it to be authentic and not that it is someone trying to lure them away.

If your kids walk to school, they should try to do as much of that as possible in groups and watch out for the other kids. While it might be easy for adults to easily overpower younger kids, they don’t generally want to deal with groups, so there is safety in numbers. These people might try to talk to a group of kids and try to lure one or more away, but if the group sticks together they can usually walk away from the situation. When they’re riding their bikes, they should avoid talking to people that they don’t know. If someone does try to lure your kids away, they should report it, hopefully to you or a teacher or so on. If they’re able to describe the person or get a license plate number, this might be able to lead to the capture of such people.

While it probably doesn’t make sense to try to explain either of these things to babies or maybe even toddlers, you should start talking about the topic as soon as your kids could be exposed to opportunity for either of these things. If your kids are going to a pre-school or kindergarten you should probably start talking about both of these topics. The younger your kids are the simpler the explanations need to be. You also don’t want to scare them or give them nightmares, so you don’t want to go overboard. As your kids do more and more things away from you, you want to make sure that they’re prepared as much as possible.

So, please take some time and talk to your kids about not going off with strangers and not allowing other people to touch them in inappropriate places. With a few words you can help protect your kids. Do you have any other tips about how to protect your kids or any other comments. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

Looking ahead I’m planning posts…

  • Commemorating our one year anniversary
  • 2008 Blog Action Day
Along with the normal posts that you read here.

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