Kids SHOULD Talk To Strangers
Image: Paul Garaizar
Stranger Danger. We teach our kids to speak with a stranger = danger. But what if blocking out children from strangers is exactly what leads them into dangerous situations.
Troy and I have been taking Holden to swimming lessons with TONS of kids and parents are swirling around you everywhere. The other day, I noticed this older kid (maybe 6-years old) standing right near us, listening to our conversation and observing us. After about three minutes of examination, we passed his test, and he approached us and began a conversation. He asked us questions and spoke to how his swimming lessons had been going up to that point. His Mom was nearby and talking to another parent, so we were his entertainment for the next fifteen minutes.
He was delightful.
I say that without a trace of condescension. I kept marveling at how friendly this kid was to us. And then I thought about it. Why shouldn’t he be? We were social, interested in what he was saying, and Holden loved him.
This kid owned a skill most children do not these days; he was able to observe an unknown person and assess they (we) were safe to speak to.
Obviously, some strangers are dangerous. And, I’m NOT suggesting you can always tell who the “bad guys” are just by talking with them for a minute.
But to rob a child of their intuition is a crime. We all have an inner compass we need to listen to. Not just to keep us safe, but to trust our own inner guidance system. Sometimes it’s off, but if we’re constantly instilling fear into our children, they will never trust their gut, or themselves.