I’m pretty sure my friend Christa told me about this concept of “tricky people’ for teaching kids about strangers. Christa probably found the info on Pinterest which wouldn’t surprise me. Other people find great things there, I’m still slowly trying to figure the whole Pinterest thing out. Any who…
The idea comes from this website Safely Ever After and the creator of the site Patti Fitzgerald has some amazing tips for teaching kids how to stay safe. One of the things she teaches is to talk about ‘tricky people’ with your kids. Tricky people are those adults that just don’t follow the normal rules adults follow. A tricky person might get my child to come with them without the child asking permission first, or an adult who asks my child for ‘help’ or asks them to keep a secret, etc. I love this concept because I don’t want my children to be rude to everyone that says hi to them at Costco or on the street – I want them to know the difference between an adult acting in a normal way or an adult who is trying to do something inappropriate.
I’ve always taught my kids that they can say ‘hi’ to a stranger but if that stranger tries to engage them in dialogue or do anything else, my child must say, “I need to go find my mommy or daddy” and run for us – which I still think is a fairly good system – but I do like to have all my angles covered. I still remember talking to Erik and William about strangers when they were little and I was testing them with different situations. I asked William, “Now William, if a stranger comes up to you and wants you to come with him and offers you candy, what would you say?” And William looks at me with these big innocent eyes and says, “Yes please!” ACK! Of course it made me laugh, but also made me realize that I had my work cut out for me.
So definitely follow that link and read her tips, I would recommend it!