We’ve all been told to never talk to strangers and we probably all said the exact same thing to our kids. Easy to remember, right? Or maybe not so much. Especially when we also teach the kids not to be rude. So what is it now? Which one to consider? Should they be polite and answer questions as long as the person asking seems nice and polite and actually not dangerous? Or should they follow the don’t talk to stranger rule?
I totally see why kids get confused, also given the fact, that they just can’t see the bad side to a person. How would they? They are protected and their world is perfectly intact. Most of the time, at least. And children are curious. Hard enough as it is. And if you add a cute puppy to the mix it gets even harder.
Now the problem is, that as much as you try to teach your children to be careful and safe, there is always something that can trigger another reaction. Or a seriously mean trick like dressing up as police officer and telling the child that the parents had an accident and that the kid has to come with him/her to go see them. I thought long and hard about the idea of a password. But then, what do you do, when there is really an accident and the person who has to come and pick up the kids is in fact a police officer and does of course not know the password.
What do you teach your child? How can you keep them as safe as possible? It’s scary, how far people go and what kind of tricks you need to kind of consider in order to cover it all. And it’s hard to find the right way to teach your kids without scaring them or confusing them.
I think my kids are really good. They are smart and we taught them everything we could think of. They do martial arts, so they pick up some tricks there too. And still there is this grey zone. The point, where I just don’t know if they would not fall for it, just because they want to go help. Or something is just to cute or something that just makes sense to them and seems okay. And it scares the hell out of me.
I guess there is less risk as we home-school. Still they are doing things with their friends and you just never know. There is this little margin. This little crack everything can fall through and we just can’t do anything about it. And even if you would be the most paranoid helicopter parent, something could still go wrong. And it’s scary.
I guess all we can do is hope that everything goes well, that they are smart enough to maybe be polite but not fall for a trick and to trust their instincts, their gut feeling. That they trust us enough to understand that it has nothing to do with control but with the dangers out there. And that they unfortunately start realizing that not everyone means well.