Don't Talk to Strangers? Is it the real deal?

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by SHANIQUA MANNING / NorthWest Cable News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Updated Friday, May 7 at 11:10 AM

 

You can watch Northwest Families Wednesday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. and Thursday mornings at 8:00 a.m. on Northwest Cable News.

 

"Don't talk to strangers!" How many times have you said that to your kids? The reality is, most of the time, strangers are not the threat.

Amy Lang, author of "Birds and Bees and Kids," joined me in our studio to explain what we should be telling our kids instead. She says 93% of the time children are abused by someone they know.  One in four girls will have a sexually abusive experience before they're 18, one in 6 boys. 

So don't put all of your focus on stranger danger.  Amy offered these top 5 tips for keeping your kids safe:

 

1) From the time they are born, tell them they are the boss if their bodies. They are in charge of their bodies and no one has the right to touch them in a way that feels uncomfortable – pinch, poke, hit, touching privates.
 
2) No older child or adult has the right to touch their privates, unless it’s mom, dad or the doctor, or there’s a problem.
 
3) Practice saying “No! Stop! I don’t like that.” Role play. Give them scripts, help them be savvy.
 
4) Have open conversations about this topic from about age 5 about sex, baby making, bodies, puberty, healthy relationships, etc. And learn about natural and healthy sexual behavior in children.
 
5) Assure them they will never be in trouble if they tell you something like this has happened to them and you will help them to be safe.
 
Amy gives talks at schools and community groups.  Check out her Web site Birds + Bees + Kids if you want to see what's on the calendar for your area.
 
She also highly recommends these resources for parents:
 
PEACE of Mind  www.pomwa.org  
Children’s Response Center  www.Childrensresponsecenter.org
Harborview Center for Sexual Assault  http://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/
 

Stay safe!

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