A second abduction occurred a few months later. This time the napper was successful and managed to steal a 3 year old from his bed in the middle of the night...you read that right. He was abducted from his own bed. Again - the Gods stepped in, and the little boy was returned to his home (in the middle of the night) and deposited on his couch. The abductor called 911 and told them he had returned him unharmed. The suspect was unknown and unrelated to the boy. Thankfully the police have nabbed the obviously sick man and he is in custody.
These scary events have prompted me to have a "stranger danger" chat with my 4 year old. I was really hoping to avoid telling her about the evils in the world. Keep her in that bubble for as looooong as I can. But I couldn't ignore that mommy instinct telling me that now was the time. I quickly researched the topic and would like to share with you what I found. Of course you need to keep it developmentally and age appropriate, so what I am sharing is appropriate for a 4-5 year old!
- First off, defining stranger. I told my kiddo that a stranger is someone that you and mommy and daddy don't know. Even if they are nice they are a stranger unless mommy and daddy know them.
- I also stressed that she is never ever ever ever to go with any stranger at anytime. Even if they say they know me or daddy, or want to show her something, or give her something.
- I told her that if a stranger asks her to come with them, or worse (ie grabs her) to scream "STRANGER STRANGER NO NO" etc. I told her to scream, kick, fight and run to a safe place (store, cafe, home, trusted neighbour, etc). I told her to scream and make a HUGE fuss. I don't really care if this happens by accident one day.....I would rather her have a freak out unnecessarily instead of not doing it when it mattered.....It has been shown that attempted abductions fail when the kids freak out. No abductor wants a handful.
- Rehearse with your child what they will do if a stranger were to bother them. This includes not talking to them, running away, kicking and screaming, biting and running to safety. Just like with any other action, when it is a habit by doing it over and over, it will become reaction. This reaction as second nature will be the key.
here is an idea of what I said....I gave some context to my little speech and told her about the man who tried to nab those sisters.
We then had some fun practicing running away and yelling (inside the house....I didn't want to freak out my neighbours!)."There are bad people in this world. Those bad people take little children away from their mommies and daddies. That is what a stranger can do to you. They would take you and you could never come back. So I want you to listen very carefully to me. If a stranger tries to talk to you, and that is someone mommy or daddy does not know, then you need to get away from them. You need to scream loud if they try to grab you. Yell "STRANGER STRANGER STRANGER". You also need to kick and scream and bite if they try to take you.”
I am hoping that this little speech and practice empowered my daughter, not scared her. I haven't noticed any signs of her being scared - but I do ask her occasionally what a stranger is and what to do. She still remembers.... I hope she never has to actually do it.