Like the rest of the nation I'm upset about the abduction of April Jones and hoping she is safely reunited with her family soon. I remember as a young child being told never to talk to strangers, take sweets from strangers, get into strangers' cars etc. I instilled the same fear of strangers into my 3 children.
The difficulty I have is how to inform children that some strangers are 'bad people' whilst at the same time protecting the child's innocence. It's horrific to go into details about what some strangers may do to some children. As parents, Rob and I can't remember telling our children any reason why not to talk to strangers, apart from telling them some strangers may want to take them away from us to live with them. I know some parents mention sex crimes, murders etc. but I chose not to do so, on purpose.
Childhood, I believe, should be an age of innocence, so how do you explain about stranger danger to young children? With my own children they grew up knowing some strangers weren't nice but the majority were. If they were with Rob or I they could reply to questions from strangers. If they were by themselves then they weren't to speak to strangers just in case they were 'bad' strangers. When my children were young the James Bulger case with the child murdered by other children was in the news. The main way I protected my children was the fact that they were always with a responsible adult. If my children were playing outside an adult was with them watching them.
How have you dealt with the stranger issue and warned your children? It would be great if we could share tips to keep our children safe.
Photo by Flickr xoxoryan