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Stranger Danger! Useful Tips Just For Teens

May 10, 2019

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When we talk about stranger danger, we often automatically think about small children. However, you may be surprised to know that teens are in the same amount of risk, if not more, of abduction than younger children.

It can be difficult to talk to teens about the risk of abduction or attack but it's certainly important that they know the warning signs. Here are a few ways you can help your teen stay safe wherever they are.

Don't Scare Them

When you speak to your child/ren about staying safe, you don't need to terrify them in order for the message to be received. Stay calm and use a non-threatening manner. 

Attempting to communicate by scaring your teens could have the opposite effect to the one you desire. Fear can paralyze anyone, of any age. If your child ever comes across dangerous situations where they need to find safety, they need to be able to think about your advice rather than feel too afraid to do anything.

Always Be Open

If a teen wants to come to you for advice, they need to know that you're comfortable talking about the subject. Keeping your lines of communication open will mean your child is less likely to keep information to themselves that could potentially be dangerous.

Being open and available to your children will mean you'll be able to talk to them about serious issues when you need to. Learning to recognize dangerous strangers will mean your teen needs to understand that not everyone is trustworthy, even the people we're meant to trust.

If your teen recognizes that you're keeping information from them and whispering behind their backs, it could result in your teen feeling insecure about approaching you to talk.

What is a Stranger?

We often teach our children to recognize strangers as people they don't know. Most teens will already be aware that it's unwise to go anywhere with someone they don't know. The sad truth is, teens are often in greater danger with people they do recognize.

Statistics show that children are often abducted by people who are familiar to them, whether it's a parent in a custody battle, a teacher or a well-known member of the community. Instead of focusing on the 'stranger danger' rule, teach your child to recognize strange behavior.

What If?

So, you've taught your child what you can about staying safe in certain situations. But, how do you know the message went through? One of the best ways to test whether your child has taken in what you've said is to create 'what if' scenarios. 

For example, if your child saw tow truck lights approaching in the distance and stopping close to where they were without any sign of a broken down vehicle, what should they do? Or, if they believed they were being followed by someone on their way back home, what should they do?

There's No Such Thing as a Tattletale

If your teen has been put in a dangerous situation by a friend or peer, they may feel like telling you about it is being a tattletale. Your child needs to know that there's no such thing as a tattletale when it comes to teen safety

Explain that giving you the information will not only keep your child safe but could potentially keep others safe as well. Make sure your child knows that he won't be reprimanded if his story includes him doing something wrong. The most important thing is for you to get the truth.

So, what advice should you give to teens?

Always Ask First

One of the first rules for staying safe is to always ask first. Whether they're doing the same thing they always do, with the same friends, you should always know where they are and who they're with. If they want to change their plans, they should inform you first.

This will ensure your child doesn't get into an unknown car without you knowing about it or go somewhere unsuitable for their age. 

Stay With Friends

You'll probably be able to recognize which one of your child's friends is the most reliable. Encourage your child to stay with friends that have a responsible attitude and would know the right thing to do in the event of a dangerous situation.

Give your child's friends your contact details in case of an emergency. That way, you have the peace of mind of knowing you can be quickly contacted if your child should need your help.

Show Your Child Where To Go

In the event of a dangerous situation, your child may need to run and hide. Knowing local places or buildings that are safe will be handy knowledge. For example, does your child know how to get to the local police station on foot?

Are there cafes or restaurants open at certain times that would help if something were happening? Is there a relative that lives nearby the local teen hangout? If your teen knows where to go to remain safe, they may just get out of a sticky situation in time.

You Will Always Be There to Help

One of the best things you can do for your teen is reassure them that you'll always be there to listen and help. No matter what type of situation your teen becomes involved in, you should always remain his safe place.

Recognizing Stranger Danger

It's not always easy to recognize when a teen has been affected by stranger danger. Teens aren't always the most forthcoming with information and you can't invade their privacy to get things out of them.

Keep reminding your teen that you're always there to talk and listen, no matter what he has to say. For more tips on how to help your children and other issues that could affect teens, take a look at No matter what you're struggling with, with your teen, there's advice there to help.