You have to hear me out on this topic. I know what you’ve just read in the title is completely going against what all of us have been told for who knows how many years. We have all probably been told at one point in our lives not to talk to strangers. My husband and I have decided that we’re going to go about this a little different than that.
We’re going to tell our children that it’s okay to talk to strangers. I know, sounds crazy right? I don’t want them to have a fear of the general public. I don’t want them to be afraid to say hello, goodbye, or ask questions. My main reasoning is that I want them to feel comfortable going to a stranger if they need help. This logic is really for when they’re more on the younger side, around 4. Right now my kids are 2.5 and a year old so they have absolutely no concept of what a stranger is. Right now we already wave hello to people in the grocery store and say goodbye to the lady at the checkout counter. It’s teaching them to be polite and social but also not to fear the general public.
When they reach about 4 years old, I’ll have a conversation with them about what a stranger is. I don’t want them to hear the word and automatically think that it’s a bad thing but rather just someone that they don’t know. Since there is always a chance of kids being separated from parents or whomever they are with I’ll point out all of the “safe people” to talk to first in the event that something happens. The conversation will go something like “always look for mommy or daddy first” and “if mommy and daddy aren’t there look for your teacher or helper” and lastly “if you don’t see anyone you know, ask for help finding us.” I plan on making it a habit in certain stores that we visit frequently pointing out people who work there and showing them the uniform for if we somehow get separated in a store those would be one of the first people they’d look for besides me. I would 100% rather have them ask for help from a stranger than be afraid, alone, and lost.
I don’t plan on them ever being out of my site but we all know that accidents happen. Children take things very literally so I’m worried that if they are lost, and repeatedly have been told not to talk to strangers, they could be too afraid to ask someone to help them find someone that they know.
So to break it down our plan looks like this:
- It’s okay to talk to strangers if you need help and there is no one you know close by.
- Never leave with anyone you don’t know regardless of what they tell you.
- Don’t take any item from a stranger even if they tell you that you can have it.
- Start young with teaching them their name and my phone number.
- Don’t let a stranger touch you. If someone is trying to grab you then yell for help.