Teaching our children "Stranger Danger"
One of the most important jobs as a parent is keeping our kids safe.
It's a conversation no one wants to have: one of "stranger danger". But every parent needs to have this conversation with their children.
"We teach kids to be real compliant with adults," says Amy Scarmon, director of the Mercy Child Advocacy Center. "Even if this person is an authority figure to you, or someone that you are supposed to be able to trust, if they make you feel uncomfortable in any way, it's important to tell our kids that."
We don't like to think of adults harming our children, but teaching our kids the importance of their safety is vital.
Scarmon suggests families create a "safe word" for instances where a parent is not the one picking up a child after school or from an activity.
"If someone were to approach you and say your mom asked me to pick you up today, does that person know the safe word? Maybe that would tell the child that it is okay to get into the car," says Scarmon. "But if they don't, and the child doesn't necessarily know them, then maybe that's a situation where you do not."
Scarmon believes these conversations should happen early on and frequently, to ease any anxiety that either you or your child may have.
"Once you make them more normal that you are having these talks with your kids, both normal for you and for the child, that it's just an expected topic you guys are going to talk about, then there's less anxiety about them," says Scarmon.