“Stranger danger” is a disgusting little rhyme

He’s nearly five and I, until last week, had not yet had the “Beware of Strangers” talk with the Kaiser. This should really be the “Beware of People You Think You Know and Trust” talk, as statistically, it’s far more likely for a child to be hurt by someone you know. I didn’t go there, but this is totally a work in progress.

So sometime last week (perhaps watching the ever-uplifting Dateline), I realized it was time to have the talk. I don’t know when it’s time for anyone else; I just had the feeeeeeling that this was something the Kaiser needed to hear. Upon discussing with Jed, we both came to the horrifying realization that if someone offered the kid a train, he’d be in a white van before you could beat the shit outta said someone. That’s a frightening thing.

Critics of the “Stranger Danger” slogan argue that children don’t ‘get’ it; they identify bad people as scary or ugly. This makes sense. I don’t know that I did a good job with age-appropriate lessons. Again, I fumble through this as I do with every-damn-thing else. Instead of vague concepts, I tried to offer specific scenarios and how to handle.

It’s not a comfortable discussion. The kid was very serious as he listened. When I was done, he simply asked why.

“Because not everyone is good, Cole.”

He nods. “I don’t want to meet any of the bad people, Mommy.”

And it made me sad. That’s heavy shit. Before this discussion, my son has never had a worry about anyone. Ever. You call it sheltered; I call it… childhood. He’s never had cause to be afraid. I don’t want him to have cause to be afraid, but it’s time to learn that not all people have good intentions and the world is not always a pretty place.

A friend of mine has a ten-year-old son, and I trust this woman so I ask her about this. Here I offer you our joint, synoptic wisdom on the basics of stranger awareness:

  1. If your kid is going into the bathroom without you accompanying, you shoulda already had the creeper discussion.
  2. There are perverts in the toy isle.
  3. Just cause they’re your neighbors doesn’t make ‘em good people.
  4. Not all bad people are ugly.
  5. If a stranger offers you ice cream, a train, or asks you to help them find their lost puppy, go get your mama.
  6. While effective, a taser in a Thomas the Train backpack is too cumbersome for regular outings.
  7. We will kill a motherfucker. No, seriously.

In other news, my pal Aimee is getting wicked good at photoshopping:

Do you NEED words for this?



Filed under Raising Kids

8 responses to ““Stranger danger” is a disgusting little rhyme

  1. Jed

    8. Don’t answer the door to anyone….I mean ANYONE! for ANY reason.
    9. A big muthafukin DITTO on # 7

  2. Jed

    Just to make this clear: Just look at my kid the wrong way and I will stab you in the face……..I’m just sayin

  3. This tops the list of all of my fears. The day I found out I would be a mother, I started thinking about all the things that could go wrong. The day she was born, I realized I could lose her. That I wouldn’t always be there to protect her. And still now, as she races on towards high school and college, I cringe and want to wrap her tight in a bubble. Those conversations are hard, I think because there’s always the fear that you will do more damage than good. That you will make them paranoid messes. It’s hard enough when they realize that not everyone cares about them like their parents do. But what else can we do? This world really sucks sometimes, and the reality of it is in the newspapers and Dateline and on every news report every day. Creeps exist and they will make victims of anyone. But protecting our children means teaching them to protect themselves. And yet, this hurts. It’s awful. I want to protect their minds and their innocence too. So this list is a good place to start, I think. And I hear ya on #7. Creepers, beware.

  4. Karen [Hayden's Mom]

    Love this one … #WINNING

  5. sarafraser

    @Carol – YES on causing more damage than doing good. Yes. And congratulations to you, my friend. I am excited for the things to come. 🙂

    @Karen – Love you.

  6. tina

    You rock. And yes, we would kill a motherfucker. Great post.

  7. tina

    Ohhhh….speaking of not answering the door…when Dano was 5 or 6, we were home alone and I decided to take a shower. Big mistake. This was when we lived in Memphis….not a safe place no matter where you are. So, before the shower, I repeated my usual “DO NOT OPEN THE FRONT DOOR AT ALL. NO MATTER WHAT. I got a strange feeling in my gut while i was in the shower…I called Daniel to the bathroom and repeated the same thing. When I got out of the shower, I was horrified to see the front door WIDE open and 3 teenagers standing in the doorway. They turned out to be ok kids, but it could have turned out really bad. Scared the shit out of me. One of the very few times I ever spanked him.

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