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To think this woman was being a bit ott about strangers?

(25 Posts)
Anomaly Fri 02-Nov-12 11:42:15

I'm sat at a picnic bench feeding DD1 age 8 months while DS1 and DS2 have a play. A little boy comes past crying so I ask if he's ok but he ignores me and heads off to a group of women who presumably include mum. A few minutes later two boys come by both asking each other where a third boy is. I tell them about the boy I saw a few minutes ago but as he was wearing a red coat and their friend was in green it turns out it was the wrong boy. Both lads wander off to mum who then spends 10 minutes telling them off and really shouting at them for talking to a stranger.

Are people really so scared of strangers?

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 02-Nov-12 11:53:55

Yes they are. People we know pose a far greater threat than random strangers 99% of the time.

I spent my entire childhood being told never to get into a car with strangers,now not only do I do that,I pay said strangers to take me to my destination.

sooperdooper Fri 02-Nov-12 11:54:20

That's ridiculous, surely she could see you & that you had kids with you?

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 02-Nov-12 11:55:29

Yes they are being unreasonable that is.

There is also a difference between teaching a child to be sensible about strangers and making them frightened of everyone like that woman!

BooyhooRemembering Fri 02-Nov-12 11:56:09

i'm not sure what she thought was going to happen while she was sitting there watching!

DawnOfTheDee Fri 02-Nov-12 11:57:00

Yes, but their mum sounds a bit OTT.

I remember when i was little we were always told if we had to talk to strangers to go to a woman with children.

CocoPopsAddict Fri 02-Nov-12 11:59:05


I was once at a museum and saw a man with three kids, all about ten years old (presume one his own and other relatives or friends?). He told the kids off for wandering a few feet away to look at an activity because 'someone might want to steal you away'.

Scholes34 Fri 02-Nov-12 13:33:42

DS1 and DS2 did a hike out in the wilds of Norfolk in the summer - ten miles from the railway station to the campsite carrying all their kit, followed at a distance by the scout leaders.

It turned out to be the hottest weekend of the year and they were advised by the leaders to knock on someone's door if they were lost or needed water. They were told to keep in a group (they were in groups of six) and to be polite. They actually met some lovely people.

When I heard this afterwards, I was a bit hmm, but thinking about it more, it's good for children (we're talking 11 and 13 years of age here) to understand there are some very good, helpful, nice people out there and that it's important to be able to trust people, whilst at the same time learning to take into account issues of safety and managing risk, as a viable alternative to dehydration and getting totally lost.

PeggyCarter Fri 02-Nov-12 13:42:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KenLeeeeeee Fri 02-Nov-12 13:45:58

I think stranger danger is a very damaging message to hand out to children. They need to grow up with the ability to identify a safe person from a genuinely dangerous one, and they can't do that if they've been taught to fear every single unknown person. I also worry that it gives the message that all familiar people are ok, which as we know from the statistics on abuse by people within or close to the family isn't the case.

sausagesandwich34 Fri 02-Nov-12 13:49:53

My Dcs have been brought up to look for someone in a uniform and failing that, someone with children -if they ever need help

lost in a shop -go to the checkouts and ask for help -that kind of thing

people are far too frightened of other people which is worrying

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 02-Nov-12 13:52:54

Some people are completely barking - it makes you feel very sorry for their kids sad

ClippedPhoenix Fri 02-Nov-12 13:54:04


Yes, over the top.

HappyJustToBe Fri 02-Nov-12 13:55:45

My parents taught us to be wary of particular behaviour rather than groups of people and I hope to pass that on to DD. I think she was BU.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 02-Nov-12 13:56:12

DD (9) asked me about this the other day as she had heard about little April. We talked about the fact that most children are hurt or taken by someone they know. I feel that the result of our rational sensible conversation is that she has a realistic outlook on this type of risk.

MinesaBottle Fri 02-Nov-12 16:07:03

Many years ago in the late 90s, I lived on a busy main road. Once day I was on the way back from the shop when I saw a small boy (about 3yo) riding on a skateboard out into the road, coming back and doing it again. No one was with him and I guess he must have got out of his garden when mum’s back was turned for a second.

A man was coming the other direction and he approached me and said ‘I’m so glad you came along, he’s been doing that for a few minutes and I didn'’t want to run and grab him in case someone thinks I’m trying to kidnap him’. So I took the little boy’s hand and asked him where his house was, and he pointed nearby. Just as I was about to start walking him back to his house (which was only about 20 yards away), a council van pulled up, a woman got out and asked what we thought we were doing. I explained to her and she still looked a bit suspicious, and she then said that she worked for the council so I should give him to her and she would take him to mum. I told her the man and I were strangers to each other and just concerned about the child, and asked why working for the council automatically made her more trustworthy than us as we were all strangers to the child.

She didn’t like that but (after thanking the man) I insisted on going with her and the little boy (who was still holding onto my hand) back to mum. Who was very very grateful and glad to have her boy back. It also turned out we vaguely recognized each other from around the estate, so council woman was sort of mollified. Council woman really annoyed me with her assumption that me and the man were dodgy and also that we would assume she was OK because she was a council worker, ffs. Sigh.

I suppose this has veered off the point a bit, but yes, some people are OTT about strangers and this woman was one of them; she never stopped to think that she was also a stranger to the child (and his mum).

WofflingOn Fri 02-Nov-12 16:20:37

I've done that a couple of times and never had a problem.
The finding a child, then another adult getting involved and the mutual agreement that I know I'm safe, they know that they're safe and so let's co-operate to get child back to parent.

WildWorld2004 Fri 02-Nov-12 16:22:55

I dont care about stranger danger. My 8 yr old is always out playing with friends. She knows not to get into cars unless its immediate family, she knows that if she gets lost go into a shop, stop a police officer, and not to speak to random people on the street or in cars. Shes not once been approached by anyone suspicious.

That woman in the park was ridiculous. She obviously could see you & would have seen if you had snatched them.

MinesaBottle Fri 02-Nov-12 16:27:52

WofflingOn that was unusual really - she was just a bossy, up-herself cow. It hasn't put me off helping out a child who's lost - the safety of the child trumps worrying about what people might think. I always try and get someone else involved though.

HelloOutThere Fri 02-Nov-12 16:40:56

yanbu - some people see pedophiles in everyone which makes things difficult for the 99 per cent of the human population who arent like that at all. When am out with my dad he feels so awkward if he is sat there watching my boys and Im not around sad because of other peoples perceptions

BooyhooRemembering Fri 02-Nov-12 16:43:41

" He told the kids off for wandering a few feet away to look at an activity because 'someone might want to steal you away'. "

as i child i was always told that nobody would want to steal me and that if they did they'd soon bring me back grin

NellyBluth Fri 02-Nov-12 16:46:11

YANBU. We were always told to go to an adult with children if we were lost. That's ridiculously OTT.

Kendodd Fri 02-Nov-12 16:49:24

That woman sounds just plain stupid.

WilsonFrickett Fri 02-Nov-12 16:55:34

She sounds stupid, or very stressed. I think the 'stranger' thing is getting ridiculous and becoming - not a self fulfilling prophecy exactly - but contributing to a culture of fear iyswim. It's not on really. Also one of the main things children are taught is to look for someone with children if they need help, so she's going to have really confused children.

Iodine Fri 02-Nov-12 17:22:24

I don't have any children but if I see a child in danger or lost I step in and do something. I'll deal with any accusations later but I can't stand by and watch a child crying and looking for its mum. I think I've learnt it from my mum who was always gathering up lost children!

It's horrible to hear that some parents think the worst of all strangers.

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