We work hard to protect our children from harm by talking with them about the dangers of speaking to strangers.
We tell them why talking to strangers is dangerous and we try our best to help them understand the importance of withholding their trust from adults that approach them when we’re not around. We give our children scenarios such as people who use ‘lost puppies’ as a means in which to lure them from their parents, as well as other stories that they might encounter for the sake of ill motives.
We do all of these things because we know that there are adults out there who harm children and we want to make sure that our kids are not their next victim. With this said, what happens when you find out that your children are still speaking to strangers—despite your best effort to teach them otherwise? Or worse, they even allow strangers into your home when you are not there?
Well, unfortunately, a recent experiment revealed that parents have a lot more work to do when it comes to teaching their children the importance of avoiding strangers at all costs.
A social experiment gone wrong
A social media prankster named Joey Salads set up a “home invasion” where he would approach homes, knock on the door, and then attempt to get the children to allow him into the home without the permission of their parents.
Of course, he received permission from the parents prior to his approaching the home…but the kids didn’t know that. Salads recorded the ‘invasion’ and can be seen telling the children who answered the door that he was a friend of their parents.
That’s all it took…the kids immediately opened the door, trusting that he was telling the truth. The parents were mortified to see that although they taught their kids the importance of keeping the door shut to strangers, their kids still opened the door and allowed a stranger to come in.
Kids are trusting by nature and easy to manipulate
In case you were wondering how it’s possible to fool young children, even when their parents have pushed the importance of their not talking to strangers into their brain—it’s easy to figure out.
Children are born with pure hearts, innocence, and a very trusting nature. It’s often life experience that turns children into distrustful adults. When a child encounters an adult, they see someone of authority and someone who looks like their parents.
They want to be respectful because we teach them respect, but they don’t really understand where they should draw the line. When a stranger helps them, we encourage them to say ‘thank you’ to show their appreciation and gratitude—whether we are with them or not.
They can’t always decipher when they should withhold that respect and when they shouldn’t. They have not been around long enough to understand the lack of trust that will be necessary to have suspicion upon adults that approach them. This is where the problem lies.
How can we improve our children’s ability to stay away?
It’s a fine line we walk when we teach our children to trust some, but not others. To be respectful to strangers when they are with us, but to not be respectful when we are away. To listen to adults, but only when we are around. This isn’t reality because it does not set them up for a world beyond our existence in their lives.
The only option is to continue to communicate the difference whenever we can so that they will eventually understand. We must take the time to talk with our children about the levels of respect that should be given to them from an adult, especially when we aren’t around. Our kids must understand that adults must show respect by not approaching them when we are not around.
By reversing the roles and identifying the types of behaviors that our children should look out for in strangers, our children might have a better understanding of what type of adult they should avoid.
Knowing that our children are potential victims at the hands of other adults is a very scary thing. However, we can lessen the chances of our children being harmed by continuing to prepare them the best way that we can. Communication will forever be our best defense. Do not be afraid to use it.