Thursday, 26 March 2015

Stranger Danger?

I am forever telling my little girl to make sure if anyone talks to her she doesn't know, she needs to run away screaming (always one for the dramatics me). Several times I have had to report incidents at school where pupils have disclosed some rather unsavoury goings on with people on the internet. Let's just say if someone says she is a 14 year old girl? She could well be a fully grown man from Africa with his privates out. But today something about 'Stranger Danger' made me really sad. 

I had taken my little boy to The Bull Ring for a treat as it was pay day (bear with). I popped into the Disney shop and saw that there were some Planes on sale for a fiver so brought them for him. And in a fit of extreme generosity took them out of the packet right there and then and let him play with them in his buggy (#bestmumever). The shopping centre was quiet and I strolled down to Selfridges. Whilst I was walking an elderly man in a wheelchair stopped, smiled at my little boy in the pushchair and simply asked him if he was "going to fly?". That was it. My boy made some random plane noises, I smiled and went to walk away. But then. 

If you are old like me? You will remember Charlie saying keep away from odd people

He stopped me and said "I just wanted you to know that I don't make a habit of talking to children. I will only talk to them if they are with their Mums and Dads". I told him not to worry but he continued by saying that he had to explain as people don't like children talking to strangers. And you know what? He is right. Post Yew Tree, post those weird 'Charlie Says' adverts off of the 80s we don't talk to anyone we don't know do we? Well not face to face. I speak to hundreds of people online everyday who I have never, and probably will never, meet. But in the flesh? We avoid conversation, we drag our children away if we see someone on the street who doesn't fit into our ideal of 'normal'. 

And of course we should. We should ensure that our children are protected and unfortunately we need to make them aware quite early in life that the world contains some not very nice people. But we also need to try and encourage empathy and friendliness in them. That sometimes people are genuinely kind. And are maybe lonely and just in need of a chat. There needs to be a bit of balance. I would hate my Dad in his latter years to be seen as anything other than a lovely, chatty old man. It would break my heart.

So I am making a bit of a promise to myself. Whilst ensuring that my children know to not to talk to strangers when I'm not there. Or if anyone does anything they don't like to tell me immediately. When I am there and someone wants to stop and have a look at my dog when we are walking her? Or smiles at us on the school run? I will try my best to be open and accept that not everyone in this world is bad. Because otherwise? That makes the world we are bringing our children up in a very sad and lonely place.

13 comments:

  1. Last week my eldest tripped and fell on the way home from school....She was bleeding and crying and a woman came to her aid, gave her a tissue and walked a few steps behind her the rest of the way home then said to me she wanted to come and tell me that she was the one who gave her the tissue just in case I thought something untoward had happened...I was glad she did but then I thought what is this world coming to that she had to come and explain her self....It is worrying when it comes to strangers....

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    1. Ahhh what a shame! She was trying to do a good thing. It's such a shame x

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  2. Oh that is sad but so very true. I think I will make the same resolution as you and make the time to chat with the children when I'm there x

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  3. This is so true, and I find it so sad. I often find older people really love talking to young children and what does it say about society today that they now feel they have to justify themselves. I remember as a kid there was an old man who lived a few doors down from a friend of mine and we were always playing in his garden and he'd give us a glass of orange cordial, just a nice old man. Today we'd be warned to stay well away. xx

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    1. Defo if someone offered the kids squash we would defo tell them to steer clear. Such a shame x

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  4. I know. It's such a tough one. We really fret and worry about our children being taken away and yet most people out there are normal. This made me feel sad! I used to go into an older couple's house when I was little and have sweets and chat to them! My Mum knew them, but still...not sure I would let Lottie or Harry do that nowadays. Really sad really. No wonder so many people are lonely but we have to put our children first don't we. Jess x

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    1. Yeah you are right. I did do child protection and the percentage of people that abuse children who are strangers are so small but the news makes us really really worry x

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  5. It's sad that this is true. Especially the older generation talking to the younger children. Since when did older people turn into people you can't trust, most of them are parents themselves. When I was younger, I don't think it was the same as it is now - i'm only 23 and I think it's changed a lot since I was a child. In that *ahem* short time, we now warn our children even more - they must think everyone they meet is a potential danger. Ray xx @ lukeosaurusandme.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. Very true. Good post. I'll bore you with an anecdote some time that made me realise the same thing.

    Mike from work

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    1. Thanks Mike From Work. I bet you have many a story about friendly old black country men. And beer x

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  7. Loved this hun, it's that delicate balance isn't it of being open and having a sense of community and not being scared to chat but keeping yourself and the babes safe x

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    1. It is lovely. It is so hard and we need to try and maintain a balance don't we? x

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