Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Like taking candy from a stranger

Today, TLM lost some of her childhood innocence.

Some strange guy apparently stood outside the school gate and tried to befriend TLM and her friend by giving them each a chocolate bar.

Having seen the statistics showing that "stranger danger" is a bit of a myth because most assaults on children are by someone known to them, I had not thought to impress on TLM that she should not accept anything from a stranger. How to be wary of strange dogs, yes. How to be wary of strange men...no.

So in that time squeezed in between getting home from work and after-school care, and her bedtime, the boy and I hurriedly tried to catch up on that aspect of parenting.

And TLM would ask things like, 'what if it's a bad man pretending to be a nice man?" and "what if it's a man who's a zookeeper?". In retrospect I think she was trying to find a situation in which it would have been okay to do what she did, which was to accept the chocolate (but it had peanuts in it, so she'd taken a bite and thrown it away). I think she got tired of me repeating the mantra, "if you don't him and we don't know him, run away from him".

She's sad and scared because her world has changed. And so am I.

5 comments:

donnasoowho said...

Scary!

I've heard of families having a secret 'password' so that if anyone tells the child that their parents have sent them, but they don't know the password then they're probably telling fibs. Seems a bit complicated tho.

Violet said...

and I'd probably forget the password!

Nigel Patel said...

These are the things I have to steel myself up for as I contemplate parenthood.

Antoinette said...

Wow, that's intense. I'm glad you had a chance to teach her about this kind of situation. I spoke with my son about this when he was really little, too, proactively -- and it felt like some of that innocence faded, too.

Violet said...

nigel: yep, once you become a parent the world becomes a much more dangerous place.

Antoinette: Yeah well she's definitely learned from it anyway. Because when the school principal asked her about it afterwards, she was adamant she didn't take anything from the strange man - obviously she knows what the right answer was supposed to be!