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Don 't Take $$ From Strangers ??

 
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 08:24 am
Yep, tell someone and keep on telling people. The more people who know the less the power that person has.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 08:37 am
Ewwww. Yuck.

Speaking as the parent of a young boy I can tell you that I would be completely creeped out if some stranger paid that kind of attention to my kid. Just to think that they had noticed him and thought up such an action would send my "pervert" radar into overdrive because clearly the man doesn't understand that there are boundries that you just do not cross with kids.

I would have called the police; perhaps the non-emergency number, though. I would have given the best description of the man that I could.

And I'd call the bus company too and report the man, which bus he was on and when, so the driver could keep a lookout.

Yuck yuck, serious yuck.





I like the "I don't know you" bit.... wondering how to practice that......
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 12:51 pm
I think you guys are over-reacting here a bit. The guy dropped the money in the kid's lap and LEFT the bus. Doesn't sound like there's any ominous or nefarious reasoning behind it.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 01:16 pm
Mame wrote:
I think you guys are over-reacting here a bit. The guy dropped the money in the kid's lap and LEFT the bus. Doesn't sound like there's any ominous or nefarious reasoning behind it.


Sure, maybe not in this instance.

But, the child has picked up on the fact that a complete stranger gave him money.

The kid might even know intellectually not to talk to strangers, but "wow, this guy just gave me money and walked away!" Could make it easier on someone else next time saying to him..."here's $5.00. Come over here and talk to me."

Better safe than sorry.

What's really bothersome also is, what IF this man who gave him the money was totally innocent and just thought he was doing something nice...well sir, you are an idiot.
There's been lots of times I wanted to talk to a little kid, but didn't because I don't want to encourage a child to be friendly with a stranger. If a parent is there, I'll talk to them, then after a while address the child, after the parents have sent the signals that I'm a safe enough stranger to talk to AS LONG AS the parents are there.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 02:28 pm
David's signature talks about Random Acts of Senseless Kindness.

This seems relevant somehow.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 02:40 pm
Doing a random act of senseless kindness does not take away the responsibility of giver to contemplate if that gift is appropriate to the situation.

I wouldn't say giving a person who is diabetic and having a hard time staying compliant with his diet a big bowl of ice cream is an act of random kindness.

To give any gift, the real trick is giving someone what they really would benefit from.

The art of giving could be a whole 'nother thread.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 02:46 pm
If a stranger hands me $5 and then leaves never to be seen again... I have a hard time seeing how this hurts anyone.

If someone did this to my kid-- I may use the situation as a learning opportunity to talk about strangers. But calling the police seems like an overkill.

I live in a city, and a couple of times strangers on the train have offered my 2.5 year old daughter things (stickers or wrapped candy especially when they have kids). Generally they have the intelligence to ask me first but I don't have a problem with this.

I think you all are overreacting.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 02:55 pm
Chai wrote:
There's been lots of times I wanted to talk to a little kid, but didn't because I don't want to encourage a child to be friendly with a stranger. If a parent is there, I'll talk to them, then after a while address the child, after the parents have sent the signals that I'm a safe enough stranger to talk to AS LONG AS the parents are there.

This seems a bit of an overreaction to me.. or I dunno, perhaps I find it a little sad/scary that its gotten to this.

I mean, kids walk around. You're in a cafe or a restaurant or in the zoo or whatever, a kid whatever age is gonna walk up to another table or whatever and just smile at someone, or say something or whatever. Would be a bit odd to ostensibly ignore the kid then, wouldnt it? Seems fairly normal to smile back or say something back or, I dunno, duck and reappear if it makes the kid smile, or whatever - while seeking eye-contact with the parents, of course, and smiling to them or, if they're close, chatting a bit - such a nice kid, how old is he, that kind of thing - or if they're off a bit, they'll surely come over in no time and then you can make some small talk. But to just ignore the child until and before you've already made sure to talk with the parents for some time etc seems a bit unnatural.

The whole thing is sad, of course - that this kind of worries and thoughts even have to come up. But yeah obviously, I agree, it's not a safe world and you cant take anything for granted. So obviously you do what you can to watch your child or, if you're the stranger that a kid starts chatting to, seek contact with and reassure the parents, etc. Just this in particular strikes me as over the top, and not healthy either.

Also, though its very very easy to understand the anxieties and fears of parents, what with everything you hear in the news, we also have to watch out for overreactions. People always say, "its not the world we grew up in anymore"; but the main difference is in how the media - so many more channels than there were back then, all screaming to get your attention, and fear and anxiety are a hell of a trigger to use to get it - covers every story of child kidnapping etc in-depth and at-length; and in awareness of the problem, with people rightly being more vigilant. But there is a thin line between vigilance and hysteria, and it was hinted at the other day when I read in an English newspaper that, surprisingly even to me, a new research of police files had showed that there were just as many cases of children gone missing, child abductions etc, back in the [1960s, 1970s, I dont remember by heart, something like that] as there are now. Even I had expected some increase, but apparently there hadnt been any. The problem apparently hasnt actually become bigger (not in the UK, anyway), even if it's much, much more reported on and talked about and worried about etc. And if that in turn leads to people distrusting any stranger even smiling at their kid or something, that's a pity in itself. Especially as, of course, the overwhelming lion's share of child abuse takes place by family members, friends of the family, or others close by, with the dangerous stranger handing out sweets accounting for only a minute part of the risk.

In this case of the stranger dropping money, I dunno. Strikes me as a highly odd gesture, and a definite social faux pas (if I were the parent I think I'd be insulted, like: what, do we look like we're skint or something?). But I wouldnt call the police or anything either. I'd probably just pocket the symbolic cash, or perhaps give it to the driver, and then take my child aside and remind him to never accept money or sweets or the like from total strangers.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:14 pm
Many parents seem overly protective these days. They're not allowed to run around the neighbourhood, go to the park to play ball, go from one friend's house to another's (without phone calls), get on a bus alone, and some aren't even allowed to go Trick or Treating without parents. I'm not talking 5 year olds, I'm talking 9, 10, etc.

We kids went to Stanley Park every day in the summer without my parents. We took the bus about 3 miles there and stayed the entire day before bussing home, tired, hot, and sunburnt.

My older sister and I had to get groceries frequently by ourselves when we were 9 and 10. We had to walk over a mile each way.

My daughter caught the city bus to school alone since she was 9 yrs old. Before that, she rode her bike to school for a year.

You see some questionable people, but if you've talked to your kids, they'll be sensible and sit near a grown up or yell loudly.

I don't think there are nearly as many perverts and kidnappers out there as are imagined.
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:17 pm
Saw a bit on BBC recently that was talking about that phenomenon. This bit is from The Observer (and two years old), but cites the same findings:

Quote:
Incidences of child abduction have remained virtually unchanged since 1950, yet today's 'caution culture' has dramatically altered how young people play. The radius around their homes in which they are allowed to roam has shrunk to a ninth of what it was in 1970. Research by the Policy Studies Institute indicates that, while 80 per cent of seven- and eight-year-olds were allowed to walk to school without an adult in 1971, by 1990 that figure had fallen to 9 per cent.


Full article here: Don't fence us in, Mum
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mushypancakes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:23 pm
Randomly dropping money in a kid's lap is weird behavior.

Sitting with his mum, I don't really think it is up to the kid whether or not he keeps the money or not.
Not if we are talking a small child rather than a teenager.

If the kid is alone, I think most kids who have had somewhat decent parents, well, their eyes would light up a bit at the prospect of money, but they'd know to tell their folks when they got home, or speak to someone right there on the bus.
They wouldn't be alone unless they were old enough to know these things. And the older kids, they usually move in groups. Safer, cooler.

The kids I know, I can see them turning to the person next to them and saying "He dropped his money. Should I bring it back?"
or
"Weirdo, eh?" and laughing at the guy.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:25 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
If a stranger hands me $5 and then leaves never to be seen again... I have a hard time seeing how this hurts anyone.



I repeat....it's setting the stage for the child to think it's acceptable to accept money from a stranger, perhaps when the parents aren't around, and perhaps when the stranger wants to give more than money.

When it comes to a childs safety, I am in no way ashamed to say I will error on the side of caution every single time.

In fact, you're saying that you feel some here are over-reacting is the same thing a "bad" guy might say to a parent, or to a child, or to a, let's say woman who is alone somewhere.

(please don't take this that I'm meaning that about you ebrown, this is just an example..'k?)

I've been in situations, and I'm sure other woman have (and men perhaps) where I've been approached in some way by a stranger, or even someone I know, and been offered "help" or conversation when, if you were to look at the particular situation, it was not a good time to offer this random kindness.

There have been times when I've been uncomfortable enough with the situation (i.e., the man not responding to normal hints) where I've had to say basically, "Leave me alone"

What happens then is....(a) they leave you alone (perhaps they mean bad intent and see you're not an easy target...if they meant no bad intent, they either finally realized they were overstepping their bounds, or maybe had their feelings slightly hurt, and complied.

(a) is really what you are hoping for. Sometimes (b) happens. That is that they either mildly, or sometimes quite forcefull say "I was JUST trying to be nice!"
When they say this, my gut tells me odds are they are not nice at all. A "nice" person, while confused by being confused by being told to leave someone alone, won't continue his efforts.

when (b) happens, they are trying to engage you in conversation....at this point the woman may think..."oh, I don't want to be mean...I'll just talk to him" which is what the man is hoping for.

If the woman chooses to ignore him (but keeping her eyes peeled) or reinforces her stance....the vast majority of the time, comes the parting shot. This consists of a muttered, or loudly said "Bitch" or something indicating how cold you are.

That's either to make a last ditch effort to try to make the woman show she isn't a bitch....or to put a doubt in her mind as to the appropriateness of her cruelity to this perfectly nice guy.

see..."bad men" don't stop when the child looks unsure of what to do, or when the the woman is fearful she isn't being nice.

If I had a child, I wouldn't mind at all if they came across to a stranger as overly cautious. I would love it if I observed them clearly saying "NO!"

Molesters don't give up, and children need to learn their strength from you. They must know they are doing the right thing, even when someone is trying to make them think they are wrong.

Does this make this a sad world? I have no idea. But if it keeps a child from getting raped, that's fine.

Your child won't become bitter, they will become smart and confident in their decisions.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:27 pm
Out of protection, they get driven everywhere and because they aren't allowed to run around with their friends, they sit inside and watch tv and play on the computer... then we wonder why they're obese.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:40 pm
Mame wrote:
Out of protection, they get driven everywhere and because they aren't allowed to run around with their friends, they sit inside and watch tv and play on the computer... then we wonder why they're obese.



I'm not saying being a helicopter mom....or not letting them go anywhere alone, if they old enough.

I am saying that children do need to be taught to be skeptical. If the child comes across to the world with the personality and tools that say...."don't try to trick me....I'm not going to fall for that....I'll scream and yell if you try anything", they will be fine.

When children are running around playing in the neighborhood, or in a park, without their parent....there is really no reason why an adult should be wanted to start a conversation with them.

When I'm walking my neighborhood and pass a child alone, the most I will do is say "Hi" and keep walking...an acknowledgement of their existance, but not getting in their life.

A while back, looking ahead down the road, I saw a gang of boys....like 7 or 8 years old, maybe 5 of them...doing what boys do...poking something in the gutter with a stick. When I passed them, I did ask what they had found....and said "wow" when they told me...but they were in a group, and there's safety in numbers.

When I see a child in a restaurant of other public place where you would not normally see a child alone, well their parents are with them.

To be honest, I have a thing about kids wandering around a restaurant...they belong in their seats. I know, I'm sooooooooo mean.

Really, ask yourself...why would a stranger want to say more than "Hi" to a kid who is playing in the neighborhood, not a parent in sight?

I mean, we're the adults, we're supposed to be able to judge when we might be making the wrong choice.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:40 pm
Chai wrote:
Your child won't become bitter, they will become smart and confident in their decisions.

Well, thats the question, isnt it?

I mean, bottom line: there's a very small chance of something very, very bad happening to a child.

It is only natural for any parent to want to do whatever he/she can to protect the kid from it - especially if sensationalist news reports remind him of the risk at nauseam.

But the chance is very, very small - again, as many people have pointed out on similar threads, the chance of your child being abused by someone you know is far, far greater than of him being picked up by some stranger on the street.

Old Europe posted an important article, pointing out the same thing I'd remembered - the number of child abductions now, in our world that's perceived as far more dangerous, is no greater than it was in 1950. (True in the UK at least, apparently, but I dont see why it would be much different in Holland or the States.)

But because that one risk has been played up so extensively, people have gone to tremendous lengths to avoid it - understandably - and not without costs.

I, too, like Mame, played outside, wandered about and explored by myself a lot, as an eight year old, a ten year old, a twelve year old. I found my own way from school to home. My friend and I went on adventures in the plot of unused land around the football stadium. And we LEARNED a lot - learned, already at that age, a lot about independence, about exploration, and we learned by having the freedom to roam.

Now you have the risk of a generation being raised never having roamed and explored by their own until reaching adolescence, with parents hovering over or about them throughout. And then that is exactly the question: will they really "become smart and confident in their decisions" that way?

Seems counterintuitive to me... I'd guess they're more likely to become dependent and insecure in their decisions, not having come around to properly learning to fend for themselves until they're almost out of the home, always used to having mommy there to protect them and cater for them, not having experienced that they can just go out on a limb by themselves and do perfectly OK - or even get into trouble and still be OK!
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:44 pm
nimh wrote:
Chai wrote:
I mean, bottom line: there's a very small chance of something very, very bad happening to a child.



That is not a chance I would be willing to take with a child.

Let's ask a parent who had something very, very bad happen to their child what they now think of those chances.



We cross posted slightly Nimh....see my response re kids not being able to go about on their own, above.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:49 pm
Chai wrote:
Really, ask yourself...why would a stranger want to say more than "Hi" to a kid who is playing in the neighborhood, not a parent in sight?

Oh, I would never myself spontaneously strike up contact with a child, parents or no parents. Just the other way around - children wander, they will come up to you and grin or say something or, I dunno, whatever.. you're in a coffeeshop/house or something, kids will interact. I'd say there's no harm in grinning back, or doing a peek-a-boo or something, or saying something back, while meanwhile or shortly after seeking eye contact with the parents and smiling or saying something so as to signal hey it's cool.

I dont think you have to ignore the child until you've succeeded to talk to the parents for long enough.. thats all I was responding to in your initial post, really, seemed a bit stark, a bit of a disconnect with how things play out in reality.

Mind you, I dont think you and Mame and I are far apart, really, we're just placing the emphasis a little differently.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:52 pm
Chai wrote:
Mame wrote:
Out of protection, they get driven everywhere and because they aren't allowed to run around with their friends, they sit inside and watch tv and play on the computer...

I'm not saying being a helicopter mom....or not letting them go anywhere alone, if they old enough.

Ebeth posted a good article on "helicopter parenting" - I hadnt heard of the term before, but yeah that was what I was talking about kinda, here.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 03:56 pm
Im fascinated as to how much well reasoned discussion this has brought out. What circumstances would it have been acceptable for the guy to give money to the kid? What i9f the kid were handicapped or in a wheelchair or was severely crippled? Wouldnt it have been less creepy?
Howbout if the man was the kids relative who was leaving the bus (David didnt spec that he wasnt).
Maybe tyhe kid bet the guy that he could name all the capitals of all tyhe states for 5 pinienzes.
Why allus assume that something creepy is happening or that guns are involved just cause David is posing the question?
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 04:11 pm
Chai,

I think I see the world very differently than you do.

The vast majority of people are basically good. I will strike up conversations with people on the train, and I don't see any reason why my kids can't be sociable. Life is for living and irrational fear can take away from what life has to offer.

This guy was in all likelihood just trying to be nice. There was no dark motive here.

I believe the correct response in this case is to have a discussion with the child. Not to frighten him, but to talk about being safe.

The content of the discussion will depend on the age and maturity of the child, but you can say that this was probably a nice person... but that sometimes you need to be careful.

I teach my kids need to learn to be smart, they know about strangers and they understand to not put themselves into vulnerable situations. I don't see any need to teach my kids to be afraid.

The danger to children from strangers is actually very small. This is a case where the emotional response to a perceived danger is much greater than the statistical risk.

The vast number of children who are molested are molested by family members, or by people both the child and the parents know and trust. This is, of course, heart wrenching.

One of the most important things in parenting is to be able to communicate with your children. The fact your child can trust you to confide in you when something bad happens is one of the best defenses against a child being taken advantage of.

In the most tragic stories-- the child is exploited by a trusted priest or coach or teacher over a period of years, but doesn't tell his parents because of guilt. I can't help thinking when I hear these stories that if the parents had better communication with their children many of these cases would not have happened.

But passing irrational fears to your children doesn't benefit anyone.

Talk to your kids and be a part of their lives. Then let them be kids.
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