It’s been almost a year since Chelsea King was abducted and murdered in San Diego. Parents are still concerned about their children’s safety and children want to know if it will happen again. As a self defense instructor, the two questions I am asked the most are, “What is the likelihood that my child would ever be abducted by a stranger?” and “How do I talk to my children about strangers without scaring them?”
The likelihood of a child getting abducted is one in 347,000 or .0003% according to Dr. Phil and his research team. The reality is that victims of sexual assault know their attacker 90% of the time.
The best way to prepare your child without fear is by talking to them. After teaching more than 20,000 children, I can tell you assuredly they want to know what to do! Knowledge is truly power for them. Once they know that they have the power to “self-protect,” they will feel more confident when moving about their world. When I teach children, I always emphasize to them that, “there are not a lot of bad strangers in the world who take children.” The reason we learn about bad strangers and how to protect ourselves is “just in case.” Like “Stop, drop and roll,” we learn this safety lesson on the off chance it could happen.
So how do you talk to a child without scaring them? I don’t suggest using the term “Stranger Danger.” We don’t want children thinking that all strangers are bad. I like the term “Stranger Awareness.” Your child needs to know that we don’t know if a stranger is bad or not. Most strangers are good, but it’s not up to the child to find out. They can talk to a stranger only if they are with a parent or trusted adult. I highly recommend John Walsh’s DVD “The Safe Side” for younger children.
The keys to self-protection are:
- Projecting confidence
- Trusting your intuition
Like any lesson, this information must be (more…)