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  Countering the "Stranger Danger" Myth

May 22, 2015 15:00 ET

Members of the community recently joined DRPS representatives at a forum on debunking the stranger danger myth and keeping kids safe.

The group heard from the Director of Operations at Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, Pearl Rimer. She designs and conducts award-winning training for community service providers, children and youth, as well as designs psycho-educational groups for adolescent girls. Pearl has dedicated over 30-years to the fields of child care, child abuse and children's mental health as a consultant, instructor, trainer, and research coordinator.

The presentation focussed on learning the concepts of helping to keep children and teens safe from a developmental perspective. The group was offered tips on updated ways to talk to children about safety, and increase the positive feelings they have about themselves and society.

Parents and caregivers were encouraged to focus on simple rules with children rather than expecting them to problem solve, use their judgement or follow their intuition. Rimer indicated that most children and youth are harmed by someone known to them or their family as opposed to a stranger so its important not to focus only on strangers when discussing safety.

Some tips include:

-Be open and honest with your child giving truthful and age appropriate answers

-Build trust with your children by letting them know its o.k. to make mistakes and learn from them

-Help your children feel good about themselves because self-esteem is one of the most important things your child can have. It will help them make good safe decisions

-Talk to you children about touch and that they have the right to say no to any touch that makes them uncomfortable. If something is uncomfortable to them its always o.k. to talk to a trusted adult and there should be no secrets

-As your child gets older give him/her more age appropriate information, making sure they understand what you are talking about before moving forward

-Keep talking to and listening to you children, keep the lines of communication open

-If you need help ask, as parents and caregivers you wont always have the answer

Rimer says children should never be given the message that they are responsible for protecting themselves, nor should staff, educators, parents or caregivers expect children to protect themselves. It is the responsibility of adults to protect children. This includes online activity as well as offline.

For more information and further safety tips visit BOOST.

Below are attached files.
Boost Forum in Whitby (JPG file, 139.7K bytes)