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Adults have a way of being overly friendly with kids. Maybe we think it’s cute, or we are trying to put the child at ease that we are good people. Now that I am a parent, I think it is wrong. I am also guilty of this in that once or twice I will smile to a child who is starring at me, but I think I also need to stop.
A while back, my oldest, Miss T dropped something in the shop. A guy behind us picked it up and gave it back to her. She said ‘thank you’ and we continued with our shopping. As we were paying, the guy tried to wave bye to Miss T who promptly ignored the guy. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I asked if she was not going to say bye.
Her response was a firm ‘No’. So I asked why, to which she replied, ‘He is not my dad’.
I didn’t pursue it, just told her dad when we got home and she got a hi5 and a reward from her dad.
Then we get to the Checkers near us on another occasion and we were walking around the shop when a security guard completely ignored me and tried to say ‘hi’ to Miss T as if she was alone. My daughter ignored as usual. I asked her, ‘are you not going to say hi’. To which she replied, ‘I don’t talk to anyone who is not my dad.’
I will admit, that made me super proud. Especially since he had ignored the adult with the child and just wanted to get the child’s attention.
My daughter knows not to talk to male strangers. Unfortunately we still have a way to go with regards to female strangers, especially if they have treats. But if at 3 she knew not to speak to men she doesn’t know, I know it is possible to teach her not to talk to or entertain women she doesn’t know as well.
Back when I was younger, we greeted everyone we passed or met, even if we did not know them. The world was a bit safer then. Greeting everyone was what we did, because people were more trustworthy then. You actually got into lots of trouble for not greeting. Some people would go as far as asking ‘Whose child is this that does not know how to greet?’. There are still a lot of trustworthy people out there. The only problem is knowing who is trustworthy or who is pretending. I could probably spot one or two, but my innocent child cannot which is why a blanket ‘Do not trust anyone’ works for us at the moment, regardless of where we are. Because sometimes even I can’t tell who is to be trusted and who should not be trusted.
Am I being paranoid? What are some of the ways you teach stranger danger to your small ones?

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