Kids have good discernment, as their parent it’s YOUR JOB to each them to use it and trust it.
My mum set this example for me while growing up, she was proactive in her guidance as she knew that there would be times she simply wouldn’t be with us. She told us age appropriate stories that had made headlines and spoke about ways to get out of those situations…She was ahead of her time compared to so many other parents I knew – today in counselling it’s coined an 'action plan', but really shouldn’t parents be the most trusted and wise-counselor a child has??
So, Yes I say to my kids to, ‘Keep away from weirdos…’
It’s not that I think I am better than some people or that some are beyond God’s healing power. It’s simply that some mentally unwell people and can hurt my children and me. I actually like the word WEIRDO, because usually the first thing we notice about someone who could hurt us is their strangeness; sometimes it’s difficult to put our finger on, but we sense something is not quite right with the person. It could be an intensity a person is emitting, an over friendliness focused toward one person (possibly us), erratic behaviour or even super-slickness – the behaviour can actually be so diverse which is why I like the word 'weirdo'.
And for those of you who think this will create name-calling children, I have to say that my children know it’s not cool in our house to name-call anyone and they’re pretty good about it. But I do use the term weirdo because it simply means someone, yes ANYONE, who is acting weird, period. I love and care about people but I will do everything in my power to stop evil acts and protect others…And this involves giving permission to my kids to say about someone else, that their behaviour is not normal, it is WEIRD. That certain behaviour is WRONG and BAD and UNACCEPTABLE - to grow into strong, secure adults who will stand up for themselves and fight for justice.
Yes, my kids know I will call a spade a spade but they also know that they can TRUST me - Kids confide in people they TRUST and weirdos stay away from well protected kids!
Talk to your children all the time – raise kids who know their worth and won’t accept less than great relationships, by being confident to call out immature and abusive behaviour from others and unashamedly seek help when necessarily.
Let me finish with a remark about social media because this is a medium for predators sadly, which can be masked behind very well: People who send your child a friend request (whom obviously know you) yet are not friends with you on social media by their own choosing should not be trusted...simple, end of story. Parents openly hack your kids’ profiles often and unashamedly! Be just as proactive in protecting your kids online as you are in public places. True, trustworthy people are transparent...
And, if a teenager can't be friends with their parent on social media then there is an issue - perhaps neither are mature enough to be on social media?