Bob Stuber, an expert on the prevention of abductions, says teaching your children to fear strangers is a liability, not an asset, in keeping children safe from kidnappers. Here's what parents need to know.
How to Protect Your Child
1. All children need a plan. Parents, you are the safety expert for your family. It's your job to develop a plan your child can use.
2. Be specific. To get out of a dangerous situation it takes smart choices, not scared reactions. Scared reactions are predictable, and a kidnappers are looking for them. Come up with techniques that your child is comfortable with that teach them to not panic under pressure or when they're scared.
3. Don't equate stranger with danger. Teach your child how to recognize a potentially dangerous action instead of a potentially dangerous person.
4. Focus on what your child can do. Giving your child a long list of what not to do will only confuse them. Ominous warnings don't fit their world.
5. "No" is more than a word, it's an action. Teach your child that they can say "no!" by running away, kicking and/or screaming. The action that goes along with the word is what will keep your child safe. Let your child know that if they are in a dangerous situation, saying "no" might mean being rude to an adult.
Published on September 24, 2002