My anger and shock turned to immense gratitude, however, when I heard CJ spout off a family “stay safe” rule we went over way too long ago that helped him know these creeps were up to no good. Most specifically, a tip for identifying a “tricky person.”
CJ: “Mom, I knew they were tricky people because they were asking us for help. Adults don’t ask kids for help.”
Have you heard of the tricky people concept? Tricky people are the new strangers. Pattie Fitzgerald, the creator of Safely Ever After where the tricky people concept originated says, “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe.”
One of her guidelines for knowing what people are unsafe is the rule CJ remembered in time of need–tricky people ask kids for help. If a safe adult needs help, they’ll ask another adult. Not a kid. Here are more prevention tips, red flags, and 10 rules for kids.
Click on and read all that information if you haven’t already. Please. Hold family meetings where you talk about and role play these concepts periodically. This experience has made me grateful that we had gone over this in the past, but even more so, it’s made me determined to continue going over these stay safe rules. Regularly.
When it’s all said and done, the phrase “knowledge is power” undoubtedly applies to our kids keeping themselves safe. We know we won’t always be physically present to protect our kids from everything–I’m sure you lose sleep over this like I do. But, we can empower them and give them confidence by teaching them what they can do in these kind of situations.
I know our next family meeting will involve CJ teaching his siblings about identifying tricky people, and us interjecting information to fill the holes in our teaching we noticed from this experience. Like for instance, there is no need to be polite to an adult that is making you uncomfortable. Thank you Texas for teaching my boys your dreamy Southern hospitality but in the event adults are making my kids uncomfortable or are asking them to break their stay safe rules, a “no thank you” is not required.
Sigh. I shared this whole experience with you so you could learn from it. Like we have. If you haven’t already, take the necessary time to establish your own family stay safe rules–the links I’ve included in this post are a great place to start. If you’ve already got your family stay safe rules in place, re-visit them. And don’t forget the tricky person concept because let’s face it, our kids are growing in a world that’s replete with them.