Most of us probably grow up being told by our parents not to speak to strangers, but Lenore Skenazy actually advocates the opposite. In fact, one of the most important child safety rules to teach your child is not to be afraid of speaking to strangers. By telling them to refrain from any communication with strangers is essentially creating a big gap in the safety net when they encounter ill-intentioned individuals.
For example, if your daughter senses that she has been stalked, you would want her to feel comfortable seeking help from passers-by. If you made a habit of drilling into her not to talk to strangers under any circumstances, she’s likely to go into panic-mode and feel helpless. Of course, the catch is that while it is okay to talk to strangers, your child should never go off with them. At the same time, tell your kids that should they feel uncomfortable with any stranger or they are asked to keep secrets, they should always report it to you. Assure them that you will not be angry to eliminate any fear of approaching you.
If it’s any comfort, we are living in much safer times compared to decades ago. It is important to maintain a balanced perspective on the dangers of the world. While there are child predators out there, statistics have proven that more children die in car accidents than dying at the hands of murderers. As Lenore Skenazy has put it aptly, all the fear in the world doesn’t prevent death, it prevents life.