Friday, 14 September 2012

Stranger Danger

I'm not entirely sure who would be in more danger after our discussion this morning - the stranger or my boys.

Having dismissed it as outdated, I have never had the 'don't take sweets from strangers' chat with the boys. All the evidence shows that they are at more risk from people they know rather than strangers. And then yesterday Max was given a chocolate bar by a builder working at the school. I decided it might be best to have a brief discussion on why it's not a good idea to accept sweets from strangers.

I began the conversation in a light-hearted way, determined not to villify every stranger. Unfortunately, Toby jumped in and before I knew it he was telling scaremongering tales about strangers pushing children into the boots of their cars and driving off with them.

Max and Jonah, eyes wide in the wonder of such injustices, butted in with all the ways they would prevent said stranger from making any kind of evil attack.

"Well, we could just sneak up behind them, take the sweets, punch them like this 'POOOF!' and then run off!"

"Or we could trip them up and take the sweets!"

"Or maybe we could chase them away!"

"I know! If we punched them really hard and then kicked them too they wouldn't be able to do anything!"

I tried to steer the discussion back to a polite "No thank you". Then, the 'what if' questions began.

"What if you have just made friends with them and they want to give you a sweet?"

"What if it's another little boy?"

"What if they don't look like a stranger?"

Toby, in his infinite wisdom, gave plentiful advice about all such scenarios.

"Well, I would say that if you have just made friends with them, that should be ok to take the sweets, right Mum?"

To which I replied, in my slightly more experienced wisdom, that a polite "No thank you" will be all they need to say.

As I tried to close the discussion down whilst they were practising the kicks that might be required if a stranger offered them sweets, I wondered if really there had been any point to that little chat at all. Now, I am more worried about the stranger than I am about my boys.

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