It was on a crisp morning walk that I got thinking. As we were walking home from our walk we passed a lady and we both smiled and said “good morning”. Little asked me “why you say good morning for? What that ladies name?”. Everything I had been taught both in school and by my parents about strangers suddenly didn’t make sense. I don’t know the lady in the restaurant taking my order, or the person who I thanked for holding the door for me!
We live in a little village and this is where I want my children to grow up. Everyone around here is so friendly. I grew up in a town and if it wasn’t for parcels being delivered to our house I would not be able to tell you my next door neighbours names! Little knows the names of our neighbours and speaks to them almost on a daily basis. I know that in an emergency I could rely on my neighbours! But aren’t they technically strangers? We know their names but not much else.
We live in a world where everyone is afraid to help someone else for the fear they could be a bad person. I’m not totally oblivious to the fact there are some nasty people around but I don’t want my children growing up thinking everyone they cross is one of those people. Of course I will teach them about stranger danger. I will make them aware that there are some very mean people. I will teach them what to do if they ever feel uncomfortable/scared. They will know not to give out their personal information or go with someone they don’t know.
But I will not enforce that all strangers are scary. Who will they turn to if they ever need help?
I turned to my fellow bloggers to hear their views on ‘Do not talk to strangers’ and here is what they had to say:
“I don’t talk about stranger danger because I don’t think it makes sense – we expect them to talk to strangers every day -saying thank you to service people and so on. I’ve talked to my son about ‘safe’ people to look for if he happens to get separated from us. We’ve also talked about what to do if anyone is making you feel uncomfortable.” – Beth @ Bamm Boo
“My son is only three and I encourage him to be polite to people we don’t know but I also want him to look for help if he is in trouble or gets lost. The other day in Mothercare he went to play with the trains, which is usual for us, but they’d had a mini re-fit and he couldn’t find me. He spoke to the ladies in the shop and told them his name and I found him with them. A little shy but he had done the right thing and not bolted out the shop straight into a carpark.” Emma @ Emma’s Thoughts
“My 2.5 year old is very confident around strangers. She’ll talk to anyone – the postman, a lady walking her dog, our next-door neighbour, other parents at soft play…. I do worry about this sometimes but cannot bring myself to stop her from being such a friendly little soul, especially as she’s always with myself or my husband. As she gets older, I will definitely talk to her about when it is and isn’t appropriate to talk to strangers. I never want her to think the worst of everyone she meets though.” Jenna @ Tinyfootsteps
“Not as such at the moment (L is 2.5 years) I would be wary of certain people and wouldnt let a stranger touch my daughter but dont see any harm if stranger is smiling, pulling faces or waving to her.” Victoria @ My Little L
“I originally did do the stranger danger chat with my stepchildren but since then learned about teaching children about “tricky people”. It’s not only strangers that can be dangerous.” Sian @ Quite Frankly She Said
“My 5yo old will chat to absolutely anyone. Particularly on public transport – she seems to think everyone on tube trains or buses is there specifically to interact with her. It’s lovely in some ways that she is friendly (and also quite amazing to me as I was never that kind of child) but it does also worry me, because she is quite a rascal at the moment too and likes to run off and hide from me. I’ve had a talk to her about people we don’t know, but I think it’s difficult to get across to her (without giving her nightmares for years – she is quite sensitive in that respect whenever anything about ‘baddies’ comes up) that while most people genuinely are just being friendly, some people might actually have an alternative agenda. We have had a chat about it but I still don’t think she understands. Will be interested to see how other people deal with it.
The photo is her last summer, with her new ‘friend’ on the tube. They chatted for an hour!” Lauren @ Mummy Is A Gadget Geek