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Someone I know IRL posted this on a local message board and I wanted to pass it along because it is so extremely important to think about these things:
The term stranger danger has been around since I was a little girl and it was always drilled into my head that this person can be someone you don't know, someone you've never seen before who tries to talk to you, someone who tries to talk to you when your parents are not around, etc. But it was recently brought to my attention by our Pediatrician at Taylor's 4 year old well child appointment just how evolved "stranger danger" has become.
He gave Taylor the following scenario and asked what she would do...
Let's say you are at school and you see someone you don't know for the first time and they wave hi to you. Do you wave back or say hi back?
Okay, so you go to school the next day and that same person is there again and they wave hi to you. And the next day, you see that person and they wave hi to you and they also say hi to one of your friends at school. And then you see them near the playground later in the afternoon and they say hi to you again and they also say hi to your friends, Mary, Sue, Joe. And you keep seeing them at school for a while and you see your teacher talking to them. And then for a little bit you don't see them.
-- Where did they go?
Oh they just haven't been around. But then the following day they come back and they smile and say hi to all the kids again and they wave to you and then come up to you and tell you, that your "mommy said that you can come with me outside and see my kitty" Do you go?
...And this is where Taylor pondered the situation and thought about it for a little bit and then said "Yes". And the Pediatrician asked why she would go. And she said, "because I've seen him around school and they talked to me and my friends and my teacher."
Then he looked at Taylor and said, "You don't go anywhere with anyone other than mommy or daddy if you do not see their mouths moving and hear them say you have permission to go." And he turned back to Tony and I and said, "This is the new trend in strangers, you must teach the kids that they have to see your mouths moving and hear your voice before they do anything or go anywhere with anyone. Talk to the boys about it as well when you get home."
So as your kids get older, ensure that they also are aware of this type of scenario. Stranger Danger is no longer the random person off the street who comes one day and tries to snatch a kid away. It's now someone who cases places and looks friendly and is familiar to the the kids who are the predators.
That's scary. It's amazing what a kids definition of a stranger is compared to ours.
Thank you peimum for my siggie
Dec 26 '08, BFP after 21 months thanks to acupuncture
Jan 14 '09, first u/s one strong heart beat
Jan 28, '09, second u/s, Surprise! two strong heart beats
Aug 13, '09 Arya and Eiley are born on what would have been their great grandmother's 105th birthday 365 Days in a Roe
It's not new. Growing up, we had a code word. If anyone other than my parents was to pick my brother or me up from anywhere without our parents specifically telling us beforehand, that person had to know the code word. Even someone we knew. If the code word had to be used, it would then be changed. Only my, my brother, and my parents knew the word.
Stranger danger is real, but your kids are much more likely to be hurt or kidnapped by someone they know. And I mean know for real, not just that situation.
Not trying to discount your story, just adding that we need to make sure our kids are aware of more than just strangers and to have a system in place to protect them as much as possible.
Wife to Donny (33), mommy to Cherie (5), and Stepmom to Paige (13) and Garrett (11). Due with number 4 in Jan 2015!!