When we are raising children, there are certain things that we make sure to tell them. We tell them that they need to be nice to others, that they need to help a person in need, and that they always need to tell the truth. These, along with other life lessons, are meant to help turn them into responsible adults in society. However, there are also things parents tell them to keep them safe. We tell them to stay near us when the family is off in a public place, to never take candy from someone you don’t know, and the famous “stranger danger” saying that parents have been using for decades.

This has been used in an attempt to make sure that our children know how dangerous it can be to talk to strangers, and parents believe that it can prevent abductions and other crimes from happening. However, as the world evolves, advice evolves with it, and there may be some reasons why this phrase is not always helping keep children safe. We have 10 reasons why parents may want to refrain from saying this phrase to their children.

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10 It’s Not A Stranger

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This may be the best reason not to use this phrase with your children, and that is because it is not always strangers that children have to be fearful of. According to Psychology Today, reports are always being done on who is committing crimes against children, and they have found that 34% of children are actually abused by a family member.

9 Could Be A Friend

Our Children Are Watching War On Social Media_ Here's How To Handle It
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While family members make up the biggest part of perpetrators, they are not the only ones. Reports also found that 59% of those who look to commit crimes on children are done by someone the child knows. This means that only 7% are committed by strangers. Parents may be teaching their children to be wary of the wrong group of people.

8 Parents Are Missing Signs

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Since we have now established that “stranger danger” is not factually correct, this means that parents can often miss the signs that something is happening to their child. They assume that a family member, friend or acquaintance can never be the one who would abuse their child, and this means that they could miss the signs their child is being abused.

7 Someone Like Them

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When we use the term “stranger danger,” we are insinuating that those who are committing the crimes are adult strangers. This leaves out an important fact, and that is that one-third of all sex crimes against minors are committed by other minors, and these are not people children are taught to be mindful of.

6 Parents Do Not Follow It

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It has already been found that parents are their child’s best, and biggest, role model, and they don’t follow this rule. According to Protect Self Defense, children learn about just about everything from watching their parents, and they watch their parents talk to strangers all the time. They watch them talk to them at the playground, and the grocery store check-out line.

5 It Can Cause More Danger

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When we tell our child over and over again that strangers are the “dangerous ones,” when we have already established that a bad person is most likely to be someone they know, it makes our children more trusting. They are more likely to trust the people they do know, since they have not been taught to be wary of everyone.

4 It Doesn’t Matter

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Even though we know that we still want our children to be mindful of strangers, this doesn’t really work anyway. It comes with too many negatives, and not enough benefits. Strangers who are insistent on abusing a minor are often incredibly manipulative, and they know how to work around the “stranger danger.” This may not be comforting for parents, but it shows how useless this phrase can be.

3 Adds Stigma

Helping Teens Who Struggle With Fearful Thoughts
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According to Mom Goes Camping, stranger danger may have more consequences than we realize, and what it can actually teach children is to be afraid of people who are different from them. This fear of social situations can hinder their ability to grow, and since it doesn’t work anyway, it may not be worth it.

2 Trust Themselves

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When we tell our children to just be wary of strangers, we may be hindering their ability to trust their own intuition. It is best to teach them how to evaluate the behavior of everyone they meet, and to trust that feeling in their gut they may get when something doesn’t feel right. This is a skill they will need for the rest of their lives.

1 It Is Scary

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No parent wants their child to be afraid, but messages like ‘stranger danger’ scares them into being safe. It can create a fear of all people they do not know, and this can hinder their social skills as they grow. They may be wary of teachers in school they are just meeting, new friends, or even a stranger if they lose their way in public and need help.

Sources: Psychology Today, Protect Self Defense, Mom Goes Camping