Every parent’s worst nightmare is for their child to get abducted. With the instant availability of news (especially bad news), it sometimes feels like it is only a matter of time before something awful happens to our kids.
I understand that there are bad people in the world who do horrible things to children. I am not downplaying that in any way, and we do need to teach our kids to be cautious.
The reality is, however, that only .01% of all missing children are abducted by strangers. The other 99.99% of kids reported missing have been taken by family members, run away, discarded (meaning their families did not want them), or reported missing by error. (“Chapter 1.” How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, by Julie Lythcott-Haims, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016, pp. 14–15.)
A vast majority of strangers are good people. Teaching our kids that they should never talk to strangers is denying them the needed opportunity to learn vital communication skills.
READY TO LISTEN?
For young kids: Take your child out to eat and let them order their own food without your help.
For older kids and teens: Invite an adult who may be unfamiliar to your child over to you home and encourage your child to lead the conversation.
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