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Talking to strangers!

My son is VERY outgoing, and I love that about him but he talks to everyone and anyone! It scares the hell out of me! We were at the beach the other day and these two men were building a sandcastle and he just goes up and starts talking to them! We have had the stranger talk many many times, but I am not sure he gets the point! We even bought books, and have talked to him about other kids on the news that come up missing! I dont know what else to do! Any ideas?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 3:04 PM on Jul. 7, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (8)
  • Watch him all the time. I have a daughter that is the same way. She's starting to get better but she will talk to almost anybody. I just make sure that she is not out of my sight when we're out in public. They just don't understand the danger. He may understand more as he gets older.

    Answer by Samantha_1629 at 3:07 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • He is outgoing and social and that's great! Just keep an eye on him. I don't do the whole stranger danger thing with my daughter. I'd rather she be social and confident than cower behind me. It's my job to keep her safe and keep communication open. Strangers are usually not the danger. The danger is usually lurking in the childs inner circle. That's the unfortunate reality.

    Answer by kara_g. at 3:16 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • my son does the same thing, I try to watch him every minute. the other day we were at my hubbies work (it's in a bad neighborhood) and my son went out the door and started talking to a guy passing by. as soon as I heard the door I went to check on him and saw him outside, I told him "now say good by and come in" I had to say this a few times. within minutes one of our police friends comes in and calls my son with his firm policeman voice and told him next time YOU listen to you mom, the man you were talking to is a VERY BAD man. turns out this officer and is partner were arresting him for buying drugs just seconds before talking to my son.  and he witnessed the arrest. so far he has not left my side since.


    Answer by northcarolinama at 3:25 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • Remember, there is nothing wrong with his talking to strangers. The vast majority of the people you meet are friendly people. Teaching him to "not talk to strangers" is the wrong thing to teach. There have actually been several instances of lost children who were lost far longer (days in one case) than they should have been simply because they followed that stupid advice and didn't talk to the strangers looking for them.
    Teach him to not go anywhere with strangers. Even if the person says "Your mom told me to come get you and take you home."
    Teach him what to do if he loses you in a store, what type of people to ask for help (strangers!), where to wait for you.
    Role play with him - what should he do if someone asks "do you want to play with my new RC car?" or "I've lost my puppy, can you help me find it?"

    Give him good tools to use, not advice even the National Center for Missing Children says is bad.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 3:34 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • My son loved reading "The Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers" - it seems to have good practical advice, especially at the end. It's greatest asset is not in teaching that strangers are bad, but just to be aware, follow some common sense rules, and that most strangers are OKAY!! It's just a few bad apples that you need to look out for.

    Also, make sure your son learns about community helpers, like police officers, etc. that are "strangers" but okay to talk to. Make sure he knows his full name, your full name, address and phone number. Then if he gets lost (or other), he'll have this information to pass on to those who can help him.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 3:55 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • While you probably can traumatize your son into being afraid of the average person, it won't serve any purpose.

    Your son needs supervision --all the time, not part of the time and not until he can repeat back why strangers are danger (because, frankly, 99% of the time they're not and the other 1% of the time a child alone can't ward it off anyhow). He needs constant, loving supervision by responsible adults until he's about 14 (past the age of brain development that eliminates--for a while-- the ability to remember rules and understand cause and effect).

    It has been proven time and again that children who are 'trained' streetproof are actually much more vulnerable than children who are not, because it interferes with their natural sense of other people and their own safety, and creates conditions in which parents falsely believe their children are safe alone.

    It really is okay to talk to strangers while mom's there.

    Answer by LindaClement at 4:07 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • You should do role playing with him: pretend that you are driving a car and you call out that you lost your puppy and ask him to get in the car and help you look. He should scream and run...

    Answer by rkoloms at 7:31 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

  • Read two books. "The Gift of Fear" and "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin de Becker. It explains how to nurture a protecting instinct for dangerous situations without teaching a debilitating fear of normal people who can enrich our lives and those of our kids. Also, the pp was right. Strangers can be a godsend when your child is actually lost or in danger. You would help a lost young one and so would most strangers. The book tells how to avoid dangerous strangers and be open to safe ones. One other thing. rkoloms is right. You have to role play situations where children are asked to go off with a dangerous stranger. If you don't, no amount of talking will work. This was covered in a special by John Stossel.

    Answer by callmeann at 9:09 PM on Jul. 7, 2009

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