I used to worry that my children talked to anyone and everyone, I mean what if someone takes them. Now though? I think it’s fantastic that my children are confident enough to start a conversation with someone they’ve just met. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all like that? Imagine the stories we’d hear, all the knowledge we could access and the people we would meet. If I hadn’t spoken to the stranger in the bar, I never would have married him and had my four gorgeous children!
Just the other day my children saw a man flying a model aeroplane, they asked me if they could go and talk to him. I said yes and they ran ahead while I followed slowly. By the time I got there they had already learned all about his plane. I spoke to him for a while, we thanked him for his time and left. It was a great experience for the children and the man seemed really happy to have been able to share his hobby with others.
Of course, I teach my children to be sensible. It’s always best to ask me (or Daddy/Granma etc) first and NEVER go off with anyone, familiar or stranger without first checking. They are also aware that there are people who are not kind out there, even if they may seem so at first.
The problem with telling your child to never talk to strangers is, what happens if they need help? The chances are that the police officer/shop worker/passer-by that could offer your child assistance would be a stranger. If your child is terrified of strangers they may be too scared to ask for help.
According to childabduction.org.uk ” Nearly 60 per cent of completed abductions recorded by police are perpetrated by someone known, but not related to, the victim. These include acquaintances, neighbours, boyfriends and ex-partners of parents.” So teaching your child stranger danger wouldn’t be effective. There is a good publication by childabduction uk called Beyond Stranger Danger which gives tips on how to talk to children about staying safe.
I want my children to grow up as confident and social people and not be terrified of the world around them, for there is so much out there that is exciting and wonderful. So many people to meet, stories to hear and adventures to be had.