Thursday, May 21, 2009

"No Offense"...BUT YOU ARE A STRANGER!!!

Today was a busy day, but it was fun too. We went to the library, to my nephew's preschool picnic, I had my 2 nephews over for a quick dinner, and then brought them and my two boys to church for bell choir and worship practice! (so thankful for the minivan, so that I was able to take my nephews with us!).

The picnic was a lot of fun. There was lots of food, singing during circle time, games, and the kids got to pick up candy off of a hill (and put it in a bag for later). That was the fun part of the day!

What I do not understand, is when a complete stranger (to me - she obviously belonged to someone at the picnic) smiles at my cute 16 month old (and he smiles back of course), and then puts out her hands for him to come to her. UMMM...are you kidding me!!! This lady did not introduce herself to me (or my mom, who was holding Smiles at the time), but yet she was trying to "lure" my child into her arms. The first time that she tried, his smile immediately left his face and he walked towards me. However, later on, when my mom was holding him, she did it again...and Smiles went to her!!! I was NOT happy about this...and I am NOT overreacting!

You see, I am trying to teach my kids the difference between a stranger and someone that is "ok." I can easily talk about this with my 3 year old and he seems to understand it - we have been talking about it a lot lately, since he has become more friendly with people. However, my 16 month old does not completely understand what I am saying...and what this lady did was really inappropriate. I did not actually see what happened until Smiles was being handed back to my mom (and my mom and I talked about this and came up with something that she can say next time so that she does not actually let Smiles go into someone's arms - I think that my mom was so shocked that this lady would do what she did, and did not know what to say).

So, in the future, I told my mom to just tell the stranger that:

"We are trying to teach our children not to be lured by a stranger, so we would rather that you do not hold him. No offense...but you are a stranger!"

Ok, maybe that sounds a little harsh, but whatever I do say will have that tone to it.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you let strangers hold your kids?


Krazy Klingers said...

I don't think a stranger has ever wanted to hold my kids but they do seem to talk to them a lot. I tell Laney to be nice but not to give out info like her name or address. And then I explain that they are strangers. I don't know what I would do in this situation. On one hand I think I would have left her only after I went to her the first time and talked to her to find a out little more about her... but then You just never know nowadays.

Thrills said...

Princess doesn't speak or even look at most people (stranger or not). Little Guy is about 50/50.

I on the other hand am trying to get them to talk to people when people talk to them. Maybe I shouldn't, but I think it is rude when they completely ignore someone.

Melissa said...

Wow, that is a tough one. Thrills brings up a good point, most people our kids interact with are harmless and we don't want them to be rude, but on the other hand we need to keep them safe.

It was definitely one of those awkward moments and I feel for you!

Natalie said...

I usually tell the kids that if I am with them, they can interact with people freely.

If I'm not with them (or some other responsible adult they know), they should treat the person as a stranger. That doesn't mean to be rude, but to not go with them or take anything from them.

The other day we were at a park. Since I LOVE parks, I stayed in the van reading a book while the kids played. A lady was sitting on a bench by herself. No other kids were around. She sat there for a long time. Then when the kids went to swing, she hopped up to push them. My "Yuck" radar went off and I made sure the woman knew that I was there and was watching her/them. When we left, I talked to the kids about the situation.

And I think the line you came up to use was perfect. I've said that before and most people are understanding.

Promises Fulfilled said...

Thank you all for your comments on this situation. I do appreciate each and every one of them.

I liked what Natalie said about the "YUCK radar." I do believe that the Holy Spirit does speak to us Moms, and you sometimes just "know" if there is something wrong with the situation.

I was always a very outgoing child and would talk with people that I did not know, but at the same time, I did seem to "know" when I shouldn't. That "knowing" is something that I pray that the Holy Spirit will place inside my children as well, and that they will listen to the Holy Spirit throughout their lives.

I do want my children to be friendly when it is "okay" to be friendly (when I am around or with people that we know), however, I also want them to know that they never have to go into the arms of a stranger, and if they do not want to say hi to a stranger in the store, I am okay with that too.

The Gang's Momma said...

Chiming in late, here. But we've experienced it in a whole new way since Li'l Empress came home. She indiscriminately would either ignore everyone, try to "hit" them with a scowl to get them to back off, OR try to kiss them all. It's been great to see her settle in and attach to JUST US and allow herself to just wave to strangers but remain focused on staying attached to us. Was definitely new "stranger" issues for us with this one.

On the other hand, I had several moms when I worked with the teens that would try to take Shaggy and Dr. D out of my arms at services, without permission. They weren't strangers but they didn't ask me or know me well enough to assume that I was okay with that. That always bugged me too.