Author Topic: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?  (Read 4815 times)

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sweetgirl

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(warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« on: October 11, 2010, 10:09:33 AM »
With my son potentially starting kindy next year and making friends and parties, I have decided for my own comfort level to teach him about stranger danger but more importantly about his body and who is allowed to touch him places and who isnt. My husband originally thought I was being overly cautious until we saw something on the news, and I mentioned the baby Brianna webpiece (may she rest in peace little angel) and he has since gotten on board with it.

I have been teaching him what to say,and to yell very loudly and to always tell mummy and daddy. He knows who is allowed to touch him and when and whats appropriate. He doesnt always say it the way he should, and he laughs at times because he obviously doesnt know why its so important. Having had so many friends and a niece go through varying cases of abuse this is something I truelly believe is a necessity.

My son is 4 nearly 5. I am not comfortable enough to allow school sleepovers until he's in yr 2 atleast. 7 seems a good age for that as they are slowly gaining independance and are just that tad more responsible and knowledgable of rights and wrongs. I know I'm probably jumping the gun and overthinking the whole thing,but I'm someone who would rather have a game plan for circumstance before I need them so I'm not caught on the spot. He already has a where do babies come from book kept for him in future years.

How young is too young though? I'm one of the parents who has chosen to teach him the right names for his private parts. Not that I have an issue with anybody else not doing so but I'd rather he know the right names. Obviously with kindy on the horizon this has been my main reason for it. He is never in anybody elses care than ours,other than if he's with my mum or his other grandparents. But other than hold him hostage and not letting him out of my sight, its inevidable that he is going to be in other peoples care than mine as the years go on and I want him prepared for any situation. I know this is something they teach in school too but my belief is you cant just expect the schools to do it all. I have a responsibility there to teach at home so it makes it less scarier. I still remember being in sex ed class and rolling my eyes at everybody in yr 5 who thought it was a joke.

I'm aware that to some people what I'm doing is inappropriate, and I'm sure I probably could have waited. Its not like I am being grim and preparing for the worst. My mother ,having being a victim in an era where people knew and did nothing, is proud that I am taking the initative to do this. I strongly suspect my husband may have been at DS age,but cant be sure as it was at a daycare that he was taken out. Whilst I think I'm doing the right thing, there are people who wont and think I should have put it off. I dont plan on telling everybody what I am doing or bringing it up, but I also dont think if given the situation and its brought up that I should feel bad about it either. There are family members who will 100% think we are doing the wrong thing. I'm not going to defend our choices because he's our child, but it makes me think why in this day and age why things are still so taboo? Does making your child aware of the bad things in the world equal susceptable? Are we suppose to shield them away until they are at the age where they ask us?


Ms_Shell

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 10:17:05 AM »
I actually think it's appropriate and responsible of you to teach stranger danger and body awareness at this age.  Like you said, better safe than sorry, especially as he's going into a situation with a lot of new people. 
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hyzenthlay

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 10:19:40 AM »
So long as he is not exhibiting fear when he shouldn't be, what you are doing is fine.

However, if you suspect people will be giving you grief, don't talk to them about it. Body parts are a private matter and along with teaching proper names and how to react to a threat, you should be teaching your child that 'We don't talk about body parts except here at home with Mom and Dad.'

We used about the same rules and ages as you are planning on. I don't think anyone though it odd. Most parents don't want a sleep over much younger then 7, when the kids can be expected to work out a lot of their own problems.

MrsJWine

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 10:21:46 AM »
I think it's far more important to teach the details than it is to teach only stranger danger.  Thing is, 99% of all strangers would not hurt a child.  Even people who don't particularly like kids usually have a visceral reaction to the idea of hurting a child.  Teaching children to mistrust all people they don't know might mean a kid doesn't ask for help when he does need it.  Teaching them just to be cautious with strangers, and to know what kinds of behavior are suspicious and what kinds of behavior are flat-out wrong is MUCH more useful and important, no matter the age.  I plan to start with my girls as soon as I think they're capable of understanding what I'm telling them.


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Wittyone

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 10:24:24 AM »
My oldest son is the same age as yours.  It is definitely the right age to teach theses things.  My son has no problem telling his name and age, and his brother's name and age to every single person he comes across.  I've been trying to teach him that it's not okay to do that, but it is taking awhile.  He is very social and this is how he connects with people, but it is important to learn now.
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Spoder

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 10:47:16 AM »
I think it's far more important to teach the details than it is to teach only stranger danger.  Thing is, 99% of all strangers would not hurt a child.  Even people who don't particularly like kids usually have a visceral reaction to the idea of hurting a child.  Teaching children to mistrust all people they don't know might mean a kid doesn't ask for help when he does need it.  Teaching them just to be cautious with strangers, and to know what kinds of behavior are suspicious and what kinds of behavior are flat-out wrong is MUCH more useful and important, no matter the age.

POD, 100%. Particularly the bolded part. Some say that kids should be taught it is okay to talk to strangers (because you WANT them to talk to someone if they are lost or frightened), as long as they never GO anywhere with a stranger. Makes a lot of sense.




artk2002

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 10:49:25 AM »
What you're doing sounds appropriate.  In my sons' school, they begin to teach this from kindergarten.  They start out with safe touch/bad touch -- defining "bad touch" as anything that is covered by a bathing suit.  This, to me, is more important than "stranger danger."  Bad things are far more likely to come from someone the child knows, than from a stranger.  It's just that the stranger ones make the news -- it's not news when Cousin Freeble hurts a child.

Your plan of no sleepovers until age 7 is fine, too.  That's about when my boys started to do these as well.
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pinkunicorn

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2010, 11:07:00 AM »
This is actually a good age to start the good touch/bad touch--at this age he's just starting to explore his own body and get curious about it (and possibly others). He needs to know those parts of him that are off limits to other people, as well as those parts of other people that are off limits to him. When DS and DD were very small, I would often save time by bathing them together. They would play together and we didn't think much of it.

That is, until the day DS started screaming his head off. I ran into the bathroom to see what the problem is and there was DD, trying to pull DS's "thingy" off! Poor DS, she really had a grip on him.  They started taking separate baths after that.

Stranger danger is good to start at this age, too. Usually, to avoid putting too much fear into small children, teach them they shouldn't take anything from a strange person that's not a police officer, unless mom, dad, or a trusted adult says it's ok.

Heck, they teach stranger danger on Dora, Sesame Street, and other little kids' shows.
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Judah

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2010, 11:10:13 AM »
I think it's far more important to teach the details than it is to teach only stranger danger.  Thing is, 99% of all strangers would not hurt a child.  Even people who don't particularly like kids usually have a visceral reaction to the idea of hurting a child.  Teaching children to mistrust all people they don't know might mean a kid doesn't ask for help when he does need it.  Teaching them just to be cautious with strangers, and to know what kinds of behavior are suspicious and what kinds of behavior are flat-out wrong is MUCH more useful and important, no matter the age.  I plan to start with my girls as soon as I think they're capable of understanding what I'm telling them.

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WonderWoman

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2010, 11:12:38 AM »
OP - I think what you're doing is smart. My DD is a little younger and she already knows who can touch her where and what to do if someone does. Unfortunately, it is rarely a true "stranger" who does these things. So you have to teach them as early as possible.

I don't see that it is anyone's business that you are teaching your child this information. It is up to you and the father of the child. If you think someone won't be supportive of you doing something that is for the child's safety, well, their opinion isn't really valuable.

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2010, 11:13:11 AM »
I think one thing to remember regarding "stranger danger" is that many kids who are molested are molested by someone they know. So if a child starts to refuse to go to an aunt or uncle or friend's place "all of a sudden" or begs not to go to someone's house... that's a HUGE red flag. I think the "good touch bad touch" approach is good and it's important to point out that NO ONE is allowed to touch them in some places, not even friends or relatives.


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rashea

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2010, 11:26:23 AM »
I would avoid the "stranger danger" too, just because that's not who you need to worry about, and make sure he does not develop the idea that police and fire personnel are "strangers".

I suggest contacting your local or statewide group for sexual violence. They will likely have some great books or programs that you can borrow from. They might also already be involved in the local school system. Calling the school to find out what they do is a good idea too. Then you can be ready to augment or neutralize their teaching (depending on whether you agree with it or not).

Most programs for young children are geared more at getting them to see their body in a healthy light and have healthy boundaries, rather than on danger. Studies have shown that this is a better route for most children (less fear and shame). So think about that.

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hollasa

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2010, 11:39:51 AM »
What you want is this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0440509009/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

Gavin de Becker, Protecting the Gift.

There's a number of articles on his website, such as this one:
https://www.gavindebecker.com/resources/answer/how_do_i_change_what_ive_taught_my_youngster_about_talking_to_strangers/

It's not strangers you want to teach your children about - it's people with inappropriate behaviour, no matter WHO they may be. And this is a perfect age for the discussion.

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2010, 11:41:57 AM »
I think it's far more important to teach the details than it is to teach only stranger danger.  Thing is, 99% of all strangers would not hurt a child.  Even people who don't particularly like kids usually have a visceral reaction to the idea of hurting a child.  Teaching children to mistrust all people they don't know might mean a kid doesn't ask for help when he does need it.  Teaching them just to be cautious with strangers, and to know what kinds of behavior are suspicious and what kinds of behavior are flat-out wrong is MUCH more useful and important, no matter the age.

POD, 100%. Particularly the bolded part. Some say that kids should be taught it is okay to talk to strangers (because you WANT them to talk to someone if they are lost or frightened), as long as they never GO anywhere with a stranger. Makes a lot of sense.





Well, no, not exactly......if a child came up to me in a shopping mall, or in a park, or on campus, or somewhere in the city, or in any other large, public place, my first reaction would be "Don't worry, we'll go find your parents/security/whatever."  If the child refused to come with me, then it'd be a lot harder for me to try to help resolve the problem--and, I'm DEFINITELY one of the 99% of strangers who wouldn't hurt a child.  Remember the O.J. Simpson trial?  Remember how he used his girlfriend, Carla Holmolka, to lure children to him, because she appeared to be a perfectly innocuous, non-threatening woman?  Well, that's created a lot of paranoia, and even now, a lot of people teach their kids to fear EVERYONE, so if they were to run into someone like me (or most people I know), they'd just assume that we were bad people, which really bothers me.

ETA:  This thread might get locked or moved, because I think this is more of a parenting question than an etiquette question.

tnpenguinbaby

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Re: (warning) body and stranger safety. How young is too young?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2010, 11:47:55 AM »
Remember the O.J. Simpson trial?  Remember how he used his girlfriend, Carla Holmolka, to lure children to him, because she appeared to be a perfectly innocuous, non-threatening woman?  

Ahh, O.J. Simpson was on trial for the murder of his wife.  Karla Holmolka was married to Paul Bernardo: they were a serial killer team focused on young girls.  Including her own sister IIRC.