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Beyond Stranger Danger: How & When To Talk To Your Kids

3:35 AM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC --  Just recently, a girl said she was raped by a man she was serving with at church. The two were working in the kitchen during a church event and for some reason had been left alone for an unknown amount of time. As police investigated, they learned the man was a registered sex offender.

While we have other related stories on the security measures churches are now looking at, we wanted to turn our attention to the kids and their parents.

Child Psychologist Dr. David Gutterman from Lebauer Health answered everything from what kind of tone we should have when we talk to our kids, to how often we should talk to our kids and at what age.

DON'T LET IT BE AWKWARD

"What often happens because we are fearful, parents will not have the discussion. You can't let that happen.  Most parents have the stranger danger talk, but we fall short of going farther on that. We must talk about people we know, that the kids will come into contact with and what to do if they become inappropraite."

AT WHAT AGE SHOULD THE TALKS START? 

"As soon as kids are being droppped off or community center with other adults, it is appropriate to have conversations with them."

WHAT SHOULD MY TONE BE LIKE?

"You carry on the conversation like any other safety issue, with that type of tone, no more no less. But most important open up the conversation and start with less touchy topics."

WHAT WORDS DO I USE?

"Inappropriate touching isn't part of a kid's vocaublary,  so you have to be careful to not use euphemisms or talk too generically. You need to talk about their private parts and being bathed and mommy and daddy are ok to do that, but it's not appropriate for anyone to touch them that way around their private parts."

DON'T RECREATE THE WHEEL

"Go online and look under stranger danger and resources with scripts. Find the one that fits you and don't just read it but tailor it to what fits you."

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BRING IT UP?

"For really small kids you have to reinforce the message, you can't have it one time. So have it when the summer camp starts and again after the summer when they're going back into school. Reinforce it again and again. Just remember, these don't have to be long conversations."

HAVE YOUR CHILD REPEAT IT BACK TO YOU 

"It is important for them to repeat it back to you. If you ask them if they have questions and they say no, then it's the end of the discussion. Maybe they zoned out or they misinterpreted it. It's important for them to you ask them to repeat it back to you."

PRACTICE PARENTS

"I'm a big fan of practicing. If you're awkard, they'll pick up on that, and they'll be reluctant to talk back to you."

 

WFMY News 2

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