I’d like to think my kids would not go with a stranger but after watching this video, I’m not 100% sure! You have probably seen it bouncing around Facebook, called a “Social Experiment.” A man with a puppy goes to a busy park and speaks with 3 different mothers who all say they tell their kids about strangers every day. The man then approaches each child and shows him/her the puppy. After he talks to them for a minute he asks if they’d like to see more puppies. Every child took the man’s hand and headed out of the park with him! The mother’s are each horrified!

So, what went wrong? It really got me thinking about how to warn my children about strangers. I think the word stranger could be part of the problem. In a child’s mind, a stranger is probably a dark and dangerous looking person who’s up to no good. They’d be easily spotted, and should be avoided. But what about a person who’s nicely dressed and is really kind? And has a cute puppy!? They don’t fit the idea of a stranger.

I read an article years ago that talked about abductions and child abuse. Some of the cases are by strangers, but some are by people the family know – an even more frightening thought! So it’s not good enough to teach children about avoiding strangers, they need to know that they shouldn’t go with any person without their parents permission. Even if the person is a friend of the family, or someone they know really well. Unless you tell them ahead of time that they are meant to go with that person, they should never go.

Child abduction or abuse is any parents worst nightmare. We want to protect our children and make sure they are safe and wise. But at the same time, I also don’t want to frighten them with scary ideas. I don’t want them to be afraid something bad will happen.  I tell them not to go with anyone, even if they know them. How do you warn your children?