Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Strangers touching your baby

(20 Posts)
raspberryhead Fri 29-Jul-11 12:43:45

Why why why do grubby strangers come up to you in the street and start petting your baby??? I can think of many -rude- ways to tell them to stop but how can I do it politely?

exoticfruits Fri 29-Jul-11 13:41:50

Another of these threads-it is only in UK you get this fuss! Then someone will come along and say 'why are Mediterranean countries so much more child loving than us?' -because they let people interact with their DC!

How grubby are these people? If you see an old tramp heading your way-move quickly. However I assume that you are talking about perfectly normal people. Your baby will benefit much more from general friendliness than being in an antiseptic bubble.

Mothers have to realise that once they go out they can't have control over everything.

Lainey1981 Fri 29-Jul-11 14:02:00

I love it when people take an interest and interact with my ds. If that means a pat or a touch of the cheek, who cares?

Lainey1981 Fri 29-Jul-11 14:02:46

Posted too soon
What do you think will happen to your pfb if a stranger touches them?

polarfox Fri 29-Jul-11 14:12:55

exoticfruits that person is me!!!!
Yes in the Med countries everybody touches/pats/cuddles your child... till the child is nearly into secondary school. The butcher, the grannies (mainly) the shop keepers- and it's good. No harm done! They kids learn to interact, they become tactile themselves, have more confidence with people, self esteem is higher etc etc..

I dont understand the opposite frankly.. why the paranoia? I find it a shame tbh...

BluddyMoFo Fri 29-Jul-11 14:13:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Fri 29-Jul-11 14:32:21

I have been to Med countries and they touch -waiters touch and people (shudder) even pick up. It is the norm and lovely all round. They then get praised for being childfriendly.
In UK it is hardly surprising they get put down as not liking DCs, they take an interest and pat a foot, stroke a hand and the mother can think of 'many rude ways' to stop it! Or they want to hand out antiseptic wipes first (I don't think they even want touch with that option).

What people in UK mean is that they want strangers to be friendly, but only under the conditions set by the parent and it doesn't work like that. The only person the mother can control is herself-she can't even control the baby who is quite likely smiling and lapping up the attention as mother gets all uptight.

There is far too much my baby- as if it is a possession. It takes a village.... IMO and unless the person is grubby to the point of really dirty, the interaction is great for the baby.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 29-Jul-11 14:46:06

Thank god I don;t live in a mediterranean country then. I wouldn't haved wanted random strangers touching me from birth til teens.


<english, and anal>

exoticfruits Fri 29-Jul-11 16:13:08

I don't think they touch if the DC doesn't want it. They won't in UK-the baby will make it quite plain if he/she doesn't like it! Generally the baby is fine, it is the mother who has the problem.

polarfox Fri 29-Jul-11 17:41:02

They definitely back off if the child looks uneasy..

Personally, I find it very sweet that they genuinely like children, and the children ime never mind it, they enjoy being centre of the universe!!

It's a cultural thing, and I do like how they treat children in those countries; they are always welcome everywhere in the strictest meaning of the word, bambini are adored and appreciated. (Must admit for some reason, older ladies always like to pinch cheeks of children- we always laugh about that!!)
For some reason, simple gestures are very easily misunderstood and cause offence here.

exoticfruits Fri 29-Jul-11 19:09:25

I think that nearly everyone would stop if the baby wasn't happy. However people who complain never mention the baby being upset-it is generally all about my baby and the strangers are always grubby. (if the stranger was to bath and change their clothes first they wouldn't like it any better!)

theoutsnider Fri 29-Jul-11 19:33:12

sorry to all of those tactile folk out there, but I can't stand it when people do this. It isn't really about grubbiness either. To me (yes i am English and very much live up to the stereotype), it over-steps the boundaries of personal space. I would not like it if people came up to me and started touching me, cuddling me or anything else without asking. As my babies aren't able to give the people in question permission, I would expect to be asked as the mother, before someone just helps themselves to my baby. I know that for some it is a cultural norm, but I do feel that the cultural norm of it not being acceptable in the UK should surelty be respected. I have relatives who do this (from a mediterranean country) - pick up the baby and persist to hold it when it is crying and straining to reach the mother. i have virtually had to physically grapple my crying baby back in the past. it's bloody awful, and really presumptuous. saying that, a nice old lady squeezing one of my dc's fingers or something seems ok to me.

blewit Fri 29-Jul-11 21:07:27

Believe me - this will be the least of your worries. Once they get to school and someone is poking them in the eye, batting their head with a piece of wood etc old ladies petting your baby is nothing to worry about.

superjobee Fri 29-Jul-11 21:14:56

as long as ppl have clean hands they can pet my DD all they like but if they have smoky grubby hands with raggy nails <boak> no chance! ive told ppl in the past that she has a skin condition just to stop them touching her. blech. she's 6 now and ppl still pet her as she has gorgeous golden curls which the old dears adore smile

Sparklyboots Fri 29-Jul-11 22:48:17

Ha! I didn't even want my Mil to touch him, never mind random people in the street. Slowly letting go...

raspberryhead Fri 29-Jul-11 23:10:21

Lol! Nice to know I'm not alone. And yes, I'm probably being ridiculous about it too!!

Firsttimer7259 Sat 30-Jul-11 11:38:47

OK I think its a little more nuanced. I hate it when people touch my baby without that little look to me for permission before or as they are doing it. Just that wee bit of eye contact establishing 'may I?' If you don't do that its rude and threatening.
You will find that in child friendly countries people actually do that before handling your kids. And you will find at the odd rather grubby possibly drunk person does not.
I do find it breath taking that many parents in the UK dont model interactions for their children as they are out and about. So if a child goes up to another in a waiting room (or whereever) and tries to establish contact, often the carer comes across and just takes away the child without any sort of interaction with the other child and other carer. How weird is that?

Octaviapink Sun 31-Jul-11 13:01:38

I don't like it too much, but I tell myself there's no harm being done.

Though I did draw the line when at Paddington Station with DD and DH and came back from the loo to find her in the centre of a group of about 17 Chinese people all taking it in turns to hold her and have their photo taken with her (why?! why?!) while DH stood helplessly to one side. He said "they asked if they could take a photo, and I said yes, then they took her off me." I retrieved my child at that point!

matana Sun 31-Jul-11 18:12:40

Hmmm, yes, people actually picking up and handling my child without asking i would draw the line at and probably get extremely grumpy about. But i don't see the harm in someone (usually older people, bless them) tickling his feet or whatever. He likes the interaction and likes to charm them with lots of smiles anyway, so he certainly isn't bothered by it.

Gemtubbs Sun 31-Jul-11 22:29:31

The staff in our local Chinese restaurant always make a big fuss of our DS. He's now 3.5 and I thought that as he was getting older and less baby, they would take less interest in him. They pat his head and cuddle him and talk to him. He mostly loves it and soon lets them know if he doesn't and they then back off. I think that I read somewhere that blonde hair and blue eyes is considered lucky in Chinese culture, but I haven't verified this.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: