Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I don't remember at what age I first became aware of stranger danger. But I do remember how vigilant my parents were with informing me about it growing up. I can recall them instructing me to under no circumstances ever leave the school grounds with anyone other than themselves or my direct family and never to play where they couldn't see me, or vice versa. I was to pretty much trust no one. They never burdened me with the detail, though I realised their directions were serious. Above all else, I understood that bad things could happen. These early warnings served me well, as I grew and the reality of stranger danger became more apparent to me. My parent's overly cautious approach has certainly armed me with a fiercely protective stance on educating my children from a young age.

Last weekend, the boys and I were enjoying our morning at the beach, when a sweet little boy came over to play with us. Captivated by our array of colourful toys splayed across the sand, he plonked himself down in the middle of it all. His parents were no more than 5 metres away and within moments, I was chatting away to his Mama. Also a Mama of two boys, we exchanged stories and experiences, as you do. It didn't take long for Angus and his new playmate to begin running around like a couple of crazed puppies. Then the little boy ran to his sunbaking Dad and flopped onto his back. To my complete shock (and red faced embarrassment) so did Angus! There was my son laying all over a man who was essentially, a complete stranger. So many things wrong with that picture.

We all had a laugh, mine more of a nervous giggle and the little boy's Dad took it really well. Thank goodness, because it had to be a tad awkward for him too. Particularly as Angus ignored ALL of my pleas to leave the poor guy alone. He simply didn't see a problem with it... because in his eyes, his new friend was doing it, so where was the harm. This incident really started me thinking. Up until now, I haven't needed to cross this stranger danger bridge. My boys are with me or their Dad or their grandparents. And that's about it. But in just over a year, Angus starts school and the awareness needs to be there. This one is going to be a tough one I feel. Trust is an integral part of a person's makeup. It is important to be trustworthy, but also to have trust in others. Teaching trust to a human being, can't be easy. Teaching MY human being when and when not to have trust may prove to be one of the greatest challenges I'll face as a Mama. 


  1. Jules this is something teaks me out to no end. We started the stranger danger talk with all the boys from age 3. Whilst we try not to scare them, I do want them to have a healthy fear. Unfortunately it is just a sign of the times.

    I love that your little boy is so friendly though, he sounds just gorgeous and I am always so envious of kids abilities to so unselfconsciously make new friends.


  2. Hee hee.
    I'm giggling - and you're talking about a serious topic here.
    Okay, blocking the image of Angus accosting a near stranger, this is a super tricky issue.
    Another damn balancing act.
    Between allowing our kids the freedom and trust to explore and enjoy life - and protecting them.
    I've had some experiences this year that have heightened my radar and pushed me to the side of over cautious.
    It's just not worth the risk.
    Sad, but true.

  3. You've inspired me to write a post on this same issue, as my sister & I had a brush with stranger danger as children.

    It really truly is scary stuff, & because of my experience I can imagine I'm going to be fiercely protective of Max.

    Fantastic post Julie xx

  4. This is something I struggle with. I was really fearful as a child, so much so that it clouded my childhood to a certain degree. I was worried about being kidnapped, murdered and all sorts of awful things.

    For me it will be trying to find a balance between awareness and fear. I still don't quite know how to achieve this.

    Sadly, there's more chance of our kids being hurt by someone we know and trust than a stranger, and this also something I'm trying to educate my kids about too.

    Great post, a lot to think about.

  5. Its a hard one isn't it? You want to teach them but not scare them. As Finn gets older (9) I'm having to allow more freedom so I am constantly reassessing things. It's very stressful! xx

  6. i don't let my kids out of my sight. i don't make a fuss of it. they have freedom to play. i think we just need to keep a watchful eye. there is plenty of time for nails and magazine reading when they are in bed. my son who is 12 at the end of this year is reminded of stranger danger quite a bit. there is a guy getting around in a van at the moment. he has unsuccessfully tried to coax 2 young girls into his van and a 13 yr old boy. i don't care if my son thinks i am over protective right now. as sad as it is, i have good reason to. this certainly is an endless topic of conversation. thanks julie. xo.

  7. That's a great post and something I think about a lot lately. My daughter is very trusting no matter how much I try to instill stranger danger in her.

  8. This is really interesting. When I read this post, I kind of wondered what your problem was with your son doing that, because you were there watching him? So I guess I was thinking, 'what could possibly happen?' It made me feel a bit sad.

    But on second thought, maybe it's more about understanding boundaries and personal space. For me, that's really important.

    Then again, I'm probably a hypocrite because we've had 'the chat' with Miss 4 (who starts school next year). She knows to never accept food from anyone that isn't someone she knows very well. And if someone ever tries to get them to go with her, to scream 'Don't touch me!' and run away as fast as she can.

    That said, I am fairly trusting as long as I can see my smalls. Sleepovers will freak me out, I'm not a fan at all.

  9. I totally agree we spoke in depth to our children about stranger danger to the point that they would not go up to a total stranger unless they asked us and still today I make no apologies for that fear or not those were the rules.
    I’m no different with my grandchildren you just never know. Great post my friend.

    Always Wendy

  10. Great post Julie. It must be a four-year-old thing! One thing I realised today is that the opportunities to have those conversations present themselves gradually. Mr4, for example, is now very aware of the correct response if someone he doesn't know tries to get him into a car! I did laugh at the image of that poor man on the beach, though...


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