My children have always tended to be friendly little people. I think it’s partly due to the fact that they’re used to being around a lot of people all the time and part of it is their personalities. There is comfort in numbers. You’re always prone to be more friendly if you have more friends (or brothers and sisters) with you all of the time. I love that they are friendly and always willing to meet new people and have new experiences. What I don’t love is all of these stories in the news recently about child abuse.

It makes me sick that we have to worry so much about child predators today. And it’s not just strangers on the street. Children are more likely to be abused by someone they know than by someone they don’t know. So how do I explain this to my kids who are in preschool? I still want them to be friendly and outgoing with new people and situations, but I also want them to be able to recognize when things aren’t as they should be.

I feel like preschool is a bit young to be telling children about all of the horrible things that could happen to them if they aren’t careful. We have pretty much stuck with talking about what things they should keep private (meaning things that only Mommy, Daddy, and the child should see or touch) and how they should never be out of Mommy and Daddy’s sight. I know this will get harder as they get older. There will be many more opportunities for them to be in other adults’ supervision. My goal is to make sure my kids are in schools and programs (sports, dance, scouts, etc.) that are taking the steps to protect children from predators. Things like background checks and on-on-one policies should be the norm for any reputable organization that cares about protecting children. Personally, I don’t ever want my child to be in a one-on-one situation with an adult unless it is absolutely unavoidable. I consider it my job to protect my children from predators, and that includes preparing them by talking with them as well as not placing them in a situation where they could be vulnerable.

My heart aches for all of the children I constantly hear of that have been victims of abuse. I will do anything to make sure that children, both mine and others, can be protected. Do you have any methods or ideas for teaching your children about the dangers of child predators? How do you talk to young children about being safe without making them scared of all new people or new situations?

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