JOPLIN, MO.--- "You don't want to say so much to your children that you scare them and they become paranoid, and you're paranoid and nobody's living life," said Kathi Olson, Children's Center Executive Director, Joplin.
Kathi Olson is the executive director at the Children's Center in Joplin. She says teaching your kids how to assess a situation that could be dangerous whether they know the person or not is key. Olson says a lot of kids will trust almost anyone.
"Children have no reason to not trust a person unless they've been hurt," said Olson.
For Joplin parent, Elizabeth Shea, this is one of her biggest fears.
"Our kids are very open, and they lIke to share, and they like people and they like to talk to people," said Elizabeth Shea, Parent.
She's a parent of four, and her kids ages range from three up to 10. She believes it's okay to test your children on what they would do if they were approached by a stranger or even a friends parent.
"Ask them what would they do in that situation, but you want there to be a balance where they don't fear going to school or fear going to places," said Shea.
Children advocates agree that scaring your children is not the answer to protecting them from terrible people -- whether it's a family member or a stranger. Olson says try teaching your kids it's good to trust their instincts.
"It's okay to just say no and then just run, run to some place. Run to another group of people, call out for help," said Olson.
Child advocates at the Children Center say more than 90% of kids become a victim to someone they know and trust -- including a family member or friend.
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