Family members in custodial disagreements abduct the majority of missing children, fewer missing children are actual stranger kidnappings, and many more are endangered runaways. Yet, there remains a very real danger for children when it comes to dealing with a stranger. As parents, we cannot let our guard down knowing one of the dangers our children face daily is how to handle strangers. As a grownup, we realize not all strangers are bad people, child abductors, or child predators. After all, we are strangers to some oneís child and we are not a bad person or a child predator. Yet, children are not capable of deciding who is a good grownup or stranger and who is not a good grownup or stranger. This is why as parentís we need to teach our children some basic safety rules on what to do in certain situations, especially when it comes to how to deal with a stranger.
The first rule of thumb, when a child is alone and without an adult, is all strangers approaching the child represent danger. Teach a child when a stranger approaches the child who is alone, the child should never talk with the stranger. This eliminates the opportunity for the stranger to use a lure. A lure is something that strangers use to attempt to attract a child with the promise of a reward, to entice the child to go with him or to do what they ask. Teach children to quickly turn, running in the opposite direction, away from the stranger. This will catch the stranger off guard, and by running away from the stranger, a child does not give the stranger an opportunity to grab the child, or abduct the child.
If a stranger drives up in a car, to ask a child for directions, teach children this is a red warning flag. Initially a child may think it is cool that an adult wants a childís help, yet the truth is adults should only ask adults for help. An adult asking a child for help is another form of a lure. The lure is to get the child close enough to the car to pull the child into the car, abducting the child. When a person in a car asks a child a question, teach the child not to answer, turning quickly in the opposite direction the car faces, and running like the wind. We teach a child to run in the opposite direction the car faces, so the car will have to turn around in order to follow the child, and that takes time, giving the child a valuable head start.
As parents, we try to teach children to take care of and value their belongings, often becoming disappointed f they lose their important or expensive items like schoolbooks, game boys or computers. What we need to teach them before school starts is that if a situation arises and they are in fear of their personal safety, they need to drop everything and run like the wind to a safe place. A safe place would be to find the nearest home or person for help. Children need to understand by dropping their backpack and books they can run faster, and get away from danger better. Tell them they will not get in trouble for dropping everything. A child is more valuable than any backpack or any schoolbook. Children are priceless. Teach children to drop everything, run like the wind and to come home safely to you no matter what it takes.