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Don’t Talk To Strangers Isn’t Enough

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Street Proofing Your Child

I had hoped that by the time I posted this article (originally posted December 16, 2003) we would have news of Cecilia Zhang’s whereabouts. Sadly, the Toronto girl who was abducted from  her bedroom one mid-October night is still missing. I am heartsick for  this family.

A parent has no greater responsibility than to assure their children  are safe. Thankfully, the probability of our children being abducted  by a stranger is very small indeed. In fact, car accidents and walking  to the park are statistically way more hazardous. Most abductions are  the result of custody battles gone ugly.

Most parents teach their children that they should "never talk to strangers" but the biggest threat our child must deal with is warding  off adults they know. 50% of girls will be sexual abused in some manner  by the time they reach adulthood. Most of these assaults will be by people  they know; their family members, neighbors or teachers.

If you have raised your daughter to "respect her elders" to be "polite" and "obey" you have extra work to do.  These children are least prepared to deal with an adult who abuses their  power.

One video-based program developed in Toronto by fellow Adlerian Larry Nisan is called Protective Parenting. This  program shows parents and  kids how adults typically "trick" children. It offers families ways to insure that a child never has to think and decide about adult "trickery" by teaching these 10 power rules.

  1. Take TWO great big steps back (from an approaching adult or car)
  2. "I won’t go with someone I don’t know"
  3. Adults should seek help from other adults NOT from kids
  4. Always have a family password
  5. Never display your name (on hats, T-shirts etc.)
  6. Kids can’t sign contracts (to be on commercials etc.)
  7. Don’t go without your parents’ permission
  8. Hands off the bathing suit area
  9. It’s okay to tell the bad secrets
  10. A weapon means SCREAM, YELL, KICK and RUN

If you would like to receive more information  about this program contact Protective Parenting through the Psychotherapy  Institute of Toronto (416-968-0640).

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

More about Alyson

One Response to “Don’t Talk To Strangers Isn’t Enough”

  1. Jennifer Temple

    I was shocked on a train once. A man on the train was spending an inordinate amount of attention on my son. I watched like a hawk, the second he reached over a card game to take my son’s hand, I just glared at him. He went to an other car. My son was upset with me :because he liked me!” That made for a long conversation about “strangers” and how nice evil people may appear. I told him, I love you more than anybody else on earth, and even I do not hang on your every word. In the end I think he “Got it.”


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