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Teach Your Kids to Be Safe, Not Scared

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Even a playground can become an unsafe place
CARY — They've gotten a lot of leads, but Cary Police are still searching for aman they say is preying on children. On Tuesday, a man driving a whitevan sexually assaulted two children in two separate Cary neighborhoods. What happened in Cary should serve as a reminder of just how important itis to talk to your kids about dangerous people.

But that's not always easy. So how do you warn your children withoutfrightening them? One psychologist says kids take their cues from us.If we're afraid, they're going to be afraid. But educating your kidsabout danger doesn't have to be frightening for you or for them.

A child's world is supposed to be fun, carefree and magical. But whenadults prey on children, their world becomes dangerous, frighteningand sad.

Being aware of such dangers and talking about it doesn't have to be aterrifying experience for kids. You can talk to your children aboutmolesters without frightening them. Clinical Psychologist DonAzevedo suggests you first get accurate information. Rehearse your talkwith a friend or family member. And talk to your child when both of youare calm.

"If you present it in a frightening way, they'll be frightened," Azevedo explains. "If you present it as 'if you learn these things, you'll besafe and you'll be OK,' they'll take it that way."

In the case of the children assaulted Tuesday, Cary Police Lt. SteveLee says the kids knew what to do and did the right thing. They ran awayand sought help immediately. They didn't keep it to themselves, they toldsomeone.

There are several places where you can get specific information about whatto tell your kids. Police agencies, schools and non-profit groups oftenhave programs to help educate children.

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