Why Do We Cultivate the “Stranger Danger” Fear?

With the academic year successfully over and dreadful exams and tests being not so dreadful after all, it is now when you would normally expect to see kids crowding in the streets and playgrounds. But if we take a closer look at neighborhood streets we will probably be surprised to see none of this.

Instead children are being actively engaged in different sports and educational activities or playing safely in their backyards closely supervised by concerned adults. Some of them are encouraged to take online classes to catch up with whatever they missed during the academic year.

So what is it all about?

The answer is simple their parents are too terrified to let kids out of the house on their own. This is the result of carefully cultivated propaganda. The image of a pervert lurking around waiting for parents to let their guards down seems to be following them everywhere. But does that “dangerous man” really exist? According to the statistics children these days are more likely to get into a car accident than be abducted by a stranger.

The media likes to speak at length about those few times this really happened, but often fails to mention how unlikely and rare these things are. Turning back to statistics, children suicide rates are disturbing but parents pay much less attention to maintaining their children’s mental health.

Instead of teaching their kids basic safety precautions they are trying to create a supposedly risk-free environment leaving them nearly no chance to develop useful risk-assessing, problem-solving and stress-fighting skills.

Children are taught to be afraid, they are told to avoid establishing contacts of any kind, eventually it may result in kids’ being unable to socialize effectively. We can see children who cannot cope with challenges either at school or in general, who are less likely to ask for help thus cannot help feeling stressed most of the time.

Children need their parents to be protective of course, but do they need them to be restrictive? Parents have to learn how to teach their children to be independent, decisive and confident. They have to show them that they trust their judgments and respect their ability to make decisions as well as take responsibilities. It is important for a child to understand that his parents are ready to help and support him but leave enough room for self-affirmation.

It is totally normal for parents to fear for their children. That is how it has been and how it will always be. However, it is important to understand that trying to eliminate all risks is a mere waste of time. Teaching kids to be clear-headed and reasonably cautious can, on the other hand, prove to be a way more effective.