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Mothers of teens and/or adult children: did you teach your kids to be afraid of strangers?

I read in another question about a mom who is afraid for her 3 year old, because her daughter says hi to everyone when they are in public. She wants to know how to teach her child to be afraid of strangers. I think that is just weird!!

My daughter is also very friendly, and I would never tell her to stop being friendly to people because they are strangers and might kidnap her! She is only 18 months old. It's not as if my daughter is outside by herself. As long as she's with me, she is safe.

Did YOU teach your kids to fear people other than relatives? How did you approach the subject of strangers? Did you teach them to be unfriendly?

Thank you.


Asked by Anonymous at 3:32 PM on Jan. 26, 2010 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • My son is 13 and I have never taught him to be afraid of strangers. I have taught him to be cautious in general. It is actually people you know that are more likely to harm your child than a complete stranger.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 4:46 PM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • My children are 21-30 and when they were young there was a big movement to teach kids to never talk to strangers and to be afraid. I didn't buy into it. Then a few years later they, experts, figured out kidnappers were family members, killers were parents, and abusers were family members or caretakers.

    Kids are actually pretty safe from strangers. Its the family, caregivers, scout leaders, ect that you have to worry about. The people that you are supposed to be able to trust.

    I babysat an Asian little girl in the 80's and she came home from school, she was around 7, and said her tummy itched. I tried to look at it without even thinking that she might think anything bad. Chickenpox was going around and I wanted to see what it looked like because I also took care of a little boy with Autism. She started screeming and was terrified of me! Then her mom was upset. It was crazy times.

    Answer by Gailll at 3:43 PM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • I didn't do that at only advice to my son was..if someone touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, tell me. I included everyone:family, strangers, friends. I also gave the advice that if we are in a store and anyone grabs him and tries to run, he was supposed to knock over anything he could grab, while screaming and biting and kicking. lol He never was afraid of strangers...which was a little concerning, but, I never let him know.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 3:48 PM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • My kids are only elementary age but I've never bought into the idea of absolute "stranger danger". I teach my kids it's okay to talk to people you don't know but you never go with them and if something feels off then you run or scream or whatever. But, generally, speaking strangers aren't bad people.
    The problem with teaching kids that all strangers are dangerous is that when the get into a situation where the are separated from their parents they don't know what to do. They are taught they can't trust anyone so they are too afraid to ask for help since everyone is a stranger. Some kids even hide from people (like the police) that are looking for them because they are so terrified of strangers. It's a bad policy.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 4:28 PM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • My son is 11 and living with autism, so teaching him about "stranger danger" is an ongoing thing. He doesn't completely grasp the idea of someone causing him harm. One thing we reinforce is what is taught in his school~ Trust the badge, trust the vest. Our school crossing guards wear vests so they're visible to traffic, and every school employee wears a photo ID badge with their name on it i.e. Mrs. Brown, Mr. Jones, etc. He also understands that most people wear some sort of ID badge or name tag at their place of employment. I do,and when I come home without it on, he gets upset with me!

    Answer by Robsmommy at 9:35 PM on Jan. 26, 2010