Beyond stranger danger: How to talk to your kids
Picture yourself in this situation: You're in a mall parking lot, a man comes over to you. He's frantic, screaming that his baby in his car has stopped breathing and he needs your help. Fast! What do you do?Posted — Updated
Picture yourself in this situation: You're in a mall parking lot, a man comes over to you. He's frantic, screaming that his baby in his car at the other end of the lot has stopped breathing and he needs your help. Fast!
Do you go to his car to help, your heart breaking for that tiny baby? Do you call 911? Do you go back into the mall to find somebody else? Do you ignore him? When it comes to your safety or the safety of your kids, sometimes those decisions you make in those split seconds can make the difference between life or death.
Thinking about what you would do or helping your children figure out what they'd do in a tough situation means there's a better chance you'll make the right decision, she said.
The focus here isn't on stranger danger, which most of us heard all about when we were kids.
Instead, the message is positive, but practical. Kidpower says it's OK to talk to strangers when mom or dad are right next to you, for instance. As Tiemann reminded us at the talk, strangers aren't the ones who pose the most danger to our kids. It's people we know - family, friends, the coach or neighbor down the street.
At the same time, Kidpower teaches kids that when some guy walks up to them as they're playing outside, they should go right inside the house to tell mom there's somebody out there. It teaches kids to use their intuition. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't so they need to walk away.
It's been tricky for me to figure out exactly how to talk about all this with my older daughter. I don't want to scare here about the world around her. But at the same time, I want her to be wary and cautious about the people she meets. It's a fine line.
In the end, Tiemann says the best we can do is be prepared and know, for instance, that you wouldn't go to that man's car to help his baby (because you wouldn't go with a strange man to his car), but you would offer to call 911 or go inside the mall to get others together to help him.
"We can't control everything," Tiemann said. "Worry is a corrosive emotion. There is a level of acceptance that life is not predictable."
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