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Parenting and Teaching Caution Around Strangers

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One Saturday morning I was sitting at my computer, working as my husband did yard work outside with all three boys. The front door opened and I heard little footsteps heading towards the kitchen. As I heard the fridge door open, my son yelled, “Mom, it is hot outside!” I left my desk and walked towards the kitchen. I was surprised to see one little boy that I didn’t know with my kids. I was a little embarrassed that I was still dressed in my pajamas but asked with a smile, “Hi. Who are you?” He told me his name and even spelled it. Not knowing him or his parents, I asked if he lived our neighborhood. He said he did. I then told the boys that if there was something that they needed, they could tell me and I would get it for them. I politely told the little boy that his Mom or Dad probably wouldn’t want him inside of a stranger’s house. The boys ran back to play outside and I couldn’t stop thinking about teaching children about stranger danger.

I was wondering if any moment now, I would hear the frantic knock on my door of a parent who had lost his or her child. Dreading it actually, since I was still in my pajamas. But the knock never came. There was no panicked adult pacing the streets. So where did this little boy come from and why didn’t anyone care that he was quick to go into a strange house with the promise of a cold drink?
Luckily, we are nice people. Our home is a safe place for a child to be. But this cannot be said for every house. Perhaps my husband spoke to the parents and they thought he looked fine and seemed to be trustworthy enough to leave their little boy with. Or maybe he plays by himself all the time and was happy to see my boys playing outside and eager to join them. When I finally had the chance to ask my husband, his answer was no. There was no sign of a parent looking out for a 7-year-old child who was riding a bike on a street with moderate traffic. This was the same child who played outside of our house for over an hour. He was never even checked on by his parents.

Add a Comment3 Comments

I support the idea of allowing children to explore the world but urge parents to use caution and teach their kids to make good choices. I would also argue that spending time with your kids is one of the greatest benefits that you can provide for them.

April 5, 2011 - 7:50am
EmpowHER Guest

I think we worry too much about our children...especially in our own neighborhoods. Should we get to know our neighbors? Yes. Should we have our kids play in pairs? Definitely. But, overall, the world is a much safer place than it has ever been. I worry we are causing more harm by not letting kids explore it. Here is a blog from an author who is much more eloquent in expressing these ideas than I am! http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

April 4, 2011 - 11:49am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

In response to the comment from the person who thinks we worry too much about our children and how the world is so much safer today. My son is a heinous crime Special Agent with the Dept. of Justice and deals with crimes against children daily. His work experience proves the world is not a safer place for children today. Some of them are not even safe in their own homes. Bless all of you parents that are "overly protective". Gayle Ruby Madison, Wi

April 11, 2011 - 9:04pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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