For such a touchy topic, The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, does an excellent job of balancing an appropriate fear with the need to be friendly with people. Lately in the news, around where I live, there has been a number of children saying that a strange man has asked for them to get into his van. These occurrences happened around parks and schools. So when any parent hear’s things like that in the news they do what any sensible logical person does-they panic! Panic might be too calm of a word to describe how I felt. I wanted my sons to run and scream anytime someone so much as looked at them in a creepy way, but after the initial reaction passed, I realized I don’t want my kids to be rude, unfriendly, and anti-social. Some strangers become our best friends. So this book does a fantastic job of training the balance of fear and kindness.
Activity: Give your children scenarios where they encounter strangers and ask them what they would do. Wonder if someone says they have candy (besides Halloween)? Wonder if they tell you they have a puppy? Also review with your kid who trusted adults are: grandparents, relatives, good friends. I saw on the news once that a little girl was picked up by a man in a store when her mom was an aisle away and she kicked and screamed so he put her down and ran away. Teach your child defense maneuvers appropriate for their age. If you have an older child tell them to kick in the you-know-whats since that always seems to work.
When Papa Bear tells the cubs why they should never talk to strangers, Sister
begins to view all strangers as evil until Mama brings some common sense to the
problem. “The Bears’ rules for safe conduct among strangers are listed on the
last pages, including a rule about the privacy of a bear’s body. A good book to
start awareness in young children.”–School Library Journal.