Friday, February 11, 2011

Stranger Danger

picture by Megan
Emma used to be terrified of strangers. Nathan sat her down and had a little talk with her, explaining how scary and horrible strangers can be. So, for months afterward she was scared of a tired looking man who picked up a little boy in Jeremy's preschool class every. single. day. He was the stranger she envisioned. No one else seemed to scare her.

A couple weeks ago I told her she should ask him his name so she won't be scared of him anymore. Now she is no longer scared of this nice man, but she still isn't scared of other more real strangers, either.

Case in point. The other day I needed to go to JC Penny. We were leaving when she noticed the TV at the photo area. She ran in, sat down and started watching. I called her over and over telling her it was time to go and got no reaction from her. I called her and said I was leaving, bye. No reaction. I walked away where she couldn't see me. No reaction. I said that I hoped a nice stranger would find her. No reaction. So what could I do other than pick her up and drag her out of the store?

I went and found a stranger. I asked some random guy to help me teach Emma a lesson on stranger danger. He walked up to her and started talking to her. I have no idea what he said since I was trying to stay hidden but still be able to watch. Before heading over to her he was concerned about really scaring her, so I told him not to worry, not much scares her and besides, I wanted her scared!

I watched. And watched. and watched. watched. blah. Nothing. She looked at him. Looked back at the TV. At one point she got up, grabbed a stuffed animal from under the TV stand and then sat back down. That's when he gave up and walked out. What a pathetic stranger. I doubt he even offered her candy. Fooey on him.
Sitting in a fort the kids made (picture by Megan)
So what could I do other than go up to her and drag her out of the store? Nothing. I was hungry and wanted dinner. I went in, grabbed her, and left.

I guess next time I should find a scarier looking stranger.


Shawny said...

Okay Kellie, that is totally funny that you recruited a stranger! I'm picturing the whole scene and am truly laughing!

Nikki said...

LOL! Ditto what Shawny said. I actually have thought about doing the same thing. Someone told me that the child my not be scared of the "recruited stranger" because they could sense their kindness. I don't know if that would be the case or not.

I borrowed from a friend the DVD The Safe Side. In it they refer to strangers as Don't Knows and explain that they're not all scary looking. It's a really good DVD even getting into Kinda Knows and Safe Side Adults. Safe Side Adults are just three people that you as a parent completely trust to take care of your kids. You should see if your library has it.

But even after multiple viewings they didn't always "get it." I think my 7 year old daughter, the one undaunted by strangers, was 2 or 3 at the time.

Since then we've obtained our own copy. We watch it at least every two months or so and review what to do.

When we're driving places, like scouts or church, or even the commissary, we review stranger safety (as well as other things like, "Is it a good idea to talk about what people look like in the store?" lol)

It seems like I teach this concept about 50 times to one child until it clicks. Another child might only take 3 times.

Didn't mean to leave you another novel. lol