In my earlier post, Father Etiquette, I posed the question, How can we teach our children to be apprehensive of strangers, but not make every man out to be a pervert, or "bad guy?"
Although I want my children to use extreme caution, I want to be careful not to scare my children mercilessly about the threats lurking everywhere. Sometimes when topics are difficult, I find children's literature to be a perfect introduction.
This Berenstain Bears Book (Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers) is well-written and addresses several issues (strangers, tattle-tales, family rules, private parts, and secrets). When Sister Bear gets introduced to the idea that strangers can be dangerous, she begins to have nightmares. The topic must be discussed in a way so as not to scare her, but to make it a serious reality. This book nailed it for me. You can check out some other parents' reviews too on Amazon.
A good line from the book: "You can't always tell from the outside which are 'bad apples.'" [A bumpy, strange-shaped apple was good on the inside, and a good-looking apple was wormy on the inside.]
The last page even posts the family rules for the cubs. Yes, I know it's a fictional family, but it's very well-done. I'm thrilled to have a forum to discuss this topic with my three-year olds in an age-appropriate way.