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to talk to your children about strangers,after whats been in the news this week?

(52 Posts)
crazygal Sat 06-Oct-12 19:33:53

hi..
I really hope i have some reassurance here..
the other day myself and dh decided to chat to ds (8)(also adhd/aspergers..and tends to run off!) about talking to strangers,and people he knows,and that if anyone ever asks you to go with them,you always must ask mam and dad 1st,never go off,even if you know this person,
he said ok,he said, is this because of that girl who was stolen? ( we have had the news on,plus people talking about it in our company)
I said yes,I dont want anything to happen to you,and just wanted to run the rules over with you,
I reassured him that he was very safe,and he had nothing to worry about....

This eve,we met some friends for a meal,one of there dc said,Im going out to play,my ds said,NO,don't go out on your own,you might get stolen!! omg....

Our friends were not happy that this was said! I wasnt expecting ds to come out with it...
I explained to our friends that we had a little chat with him about the dangers,there reply was,well don't scare our kids!!
I feel real bad,dh said well let them be angry,
but this is really bugging me! was i wrong???

PinkFairyDust Sat 06-Oct-12 19:37:38

Don't be silly, you told your child, it is not his fault that he has remembered and wanted to make sure his friend is safe.
i know a child with ADHD and aspergers and he would do this kind of thing too so seriously don't worry about it.

WorraLiberty Sat 06-Oct-12 19:38:47

Of course you're not wrong to talk to your child about going off without informing you/ speaking to strangers etc.

However, I wouldn't have connected the conversation to the news story as that might cause him to be extra scared and to scare other children.

Did you leave it so late to have the conversation due to his ASD/Aspergers and do your friends understand his condition?

slatternlymother Sat 06-Oct-12 19:39:37

Agree with pink, he just wanted to keep his friend safe; that's caring of him smile and very sensible of you to chat with him about it.

aldiwhore Sat 06-Oct-12 19:40:44

I think that with the aspergers/ADHD you are in a bit of a different situation than most parents... and how you manage that is something I have no experience of, but I don't see that you've done anything wrong!

I think the last few weeks (teacher/pupil abscondance, abductions - seem to be headlining at present) have made many parents feel compelled to reinforce something that most parents do anyway.

I always hated the simplicity of stranger danger... it is not that simple. BUT I do not think YABU for feeling like many parents right now, the need to read the 'rules' again.

Most parents have been affected by recent news, that's normal, and I have had 'the chat' with my boys again (though they don't get an awful lot of 'freedom' anyway due to where we live and the logistics) but my warnings may be very different to other parents' warnings...

I do think your friends were BU, in that you DEAL with what your child hears as you see fit and you accept that sometimes you can't control what your child hears. You told YOUR child what you felt best, this was maybe different to what they tell their child... it really doesn't matter. They shouldn't be 'angry' and you shouldn't feel guilty.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 06-Oct-12 19:40:49

Your ds has taken what you said literally.

So what? He's obviously listened and rememberd, you can streamline the message over the coming days and weeks.

And so what if your friends over reacted? They must know your son and realise that he deals with things in a different way to their dc.

YANBU at all IMO.

GoSakuramachi Sat 06-Oct-12 19:41:31

Why would you talk to my children about strangers, wouldn't that defeat the object?

I wouldn't be annoyed anyway, mainly as your child has ASD so it not surprising he will be quite literal with what you have told him.

deleted203 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:41:50

YANBU. Your friends are prats, frankly. You made a decision that this was the time to talk to your 8 yo ds, who also has aspergers, about stranger danger. Particularly as he is inclined to run off. You put it into words that he would understand. Cannot see what they were getting uptight about, TBH. Their best reaction IMO would have been to say calmly, you won't get stolen in our garden because we are keeping an eye on you out of the window, but you are right that children shouldn't be playing on their own without grown ups looking after them. Off you go and play, and we'll be right here. Listen to dh. Don't feel bad - your first priority is your son, not huffy other people.

vis Sat 06-Oct-12 19:42:16

No not wrong. I find it hard to balance getting over the importance and dangers vs scaring. I have started and then they ask why why why and what would happen and in the end I start backtracking and ending the conversation because I can't say what will happen-so it just makes them think why make a fuss mum !

I ensure they know they must tell me before they go anywhere. The difficulty I think is more to do with people they know and recognise than total strangers.

Any great phrases people use would be appreciated.

OP I agree with Pink Fairy Dust

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 06-Oct-12 19:44:15

Don't make it about strangers though. I think the Jimmy Saville story shows that we need to talk to our children about any person touching them or telling them to keep secrets. Frankly, strangers are the least of their worries.

crazygal Sat 06-Oct-12 19:45:37

Oh thank you...Im just been nuts and questioning myself because our friends were not impressed!
They understand his condition yes,and it was the day before yesterday we spoke to ds about it,it was after school,we sat down and said we just want to go over some rules,so we chatted about other things aswell as strangers!
that eve,we had the news on,ds brought it up again...plus we have had the news on most days following the story,ds is in the same room,playing normally,but is obviously listening!

FutTheShuckUp Sat 06-Oct-12 19:47:53

The specimen charged with the murder of April Jones was NOT a stranger to her.
Its more relevant to talk to kids about people they know.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 06-Oct-12 19:51:05

It's something like 90% of child abuse that happens with a perpetrator known to the victim. Much better to talk about:

Appropriate touching
Keeping secrets
Your body being yours
Whomever the adults are CAN protect you if you tell them

thebody Sat 06-Oct-12 19:55:45

You are quite right to discuss this with your child and your friends sound very silly.

I am sorry but I think it's very important to warn kids.

I had a great book called monsters that basically told kids that most people are nice but a few are monsters inside and we can't guess who is a monster by looking at them but its what they say.

Sounds really scary but it worked very well as it challenged the kids to analyse what an adult might say to abduct them. Or to groom them for abuse in the future.

So a family friend saying, 'don't tell your mom or dad some info could be a monster thing to say and needed to be reported to parents.

Also monsters can buy you secret gifts or whisper secret things to you, nice people don't do this without telling mom or dad.

My greatest sympathys to the family of April Jones.

crazygal Sat 06-Oct-12 19:56:55

tbh it was the other dad who seemed annoyed,the mums said nothing,but the air got chilly.....he looked at my boy and said what did you just say?ds said he might be stolen! the dad said who on earth is telling you things like that?ds said,a girl got stolen,the dad said to us,bloody hell,don't you go scaring our kids! I explained,and all the time he shook his head in disapproval..I explained again,that ds needs to know and needs reminders,and he just said I dont care,dont scare my kids,so we made our excuses and left..
I quizzed dh as to should I have told ds? and maybe ds is now worried about it.hence why he brought it up.
Why do people make us doubt ourselfs

MsGee Sat 06-Oct-12 19:59:25

Strangely enough I decided to have this chat with DD (4) two weeks ago. I am of the belief she is more likely to need a stranger (being lost etc.) than to be abducted by one - so our message is about safe people and people you don't trust, not going anywhere without my say so etc.

However, I believe she is (statistically) more at risk from those she knows so I want to make sure she knows to trust her instincts if she feels uncomfortable, to trust and communicate with me about things and I am aware of the behaviour of family and friends at all times. I believe I would pick up on a family friend or teacher giving her 'special' attention or attempting to normalise a lot of physical contact / alone time with her.

MsGee Sat 06-Oct-12 20:01:45

Oh and crazygal you did nothing wrong. I haven't told DD about April Jones but I'd be more than capable of smoothing over someone else mentioning it. Making a big deal of it would be more likely to cause upset.

poachedeggs Sat 06-Oct-12 20:08:48

As a tangent, all the DC here are given a series of workshops (age 4-5) on personal/social stuff including bullying, strangers and people you know. They have it drummed into them that a kiss, cuddle or touch must never be a secret, which I think is non-scary and helpful.

honeytea Sat 06-Oct-12 20:10:20

I think talking about strangers is a good idea but connecting it to the recent very sad news story is a bad thing.

Personally I wouldn't want a child watching the adult news on any day but especially not at tge moment. Yes it is true that terrible sad things happen but it is also very very rare. I can't see how watching lots of coverage of the missing girl case is good for other children.

McHappyPants2012 Sat 06-Oct-12 20:11:52

Yanbu children need to be told about stranger danger and not to touch others private areas and to know its never ok for someone to touch Their private areas

TodaysAGoodDay Sat 06-Oct-12 20:12:10

I've had almost exactly the same conversation with my 5 yr old. I've told him he has to hear me tell him if he's going with anyone else, even my DB or DB's wife. My DS said this to his friend who came to play, and his mum said something along the lines of 'that's very sensible'. I think you did the right thing telling your DS.

thebody Sat 06-Oct-12 20:12:31

When ours were little we also played the 'lost' game in shopping malls to make them seek out 'safe' people to go to if they were lost so a large shop and the ladies at the till.

Wrapping kids in a fairyland doesn't help and lessons can be made non scary.

EugenesAxe Sat 06-Oct-12 20:16:58

I think the Dad should have been a bit more understanding of your son's condition TBH; I don't think it was off of you to talk to your DS this way.

I only read today that April had been on trips in the past with Mr Bridger and his children, and that only two nights ago he'd been driving them around the estate in his car for fun. Assuming he's found guilty, he must have been using the car, and the fact he's the Dad of her friends, as a way of grooming her given how she was abducted.

It's terrible really but I agree; it changes the dynamics of the chats you need to be having to keep your children safe. Which is basically, unless you hear it from us that you should be, you are never to get in the car of, or walk off with anyone whether you know them or not. It's no guarantee though... children are so here and now sometimes, they could easily forget all your warnings if they were being offered something good.

EugenesAxe Sat 06-Oct-12 20:18:07

Sorry, two nights before she was abducted, apparently by him.

crazygal Sat 06-Oct-12 20:18:31

Yes,it was a very 'nice/child' chat we had with him.and he seemed fine,and also about the people who knows him,as for watching the news all the time,
we watch the headines when we get in at 6 then we watch the full news at ten,
completely agree,theres probably to much 'bad' stuff on there for kids to be watching all the time.

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