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Don 't Take $$ From Strangers ??

 
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 04:16 pm
I still think it seriously creepy.

The way David decribed the scene it doesn't sound like the man and the boy had been engaged in any type of conversation.

It seems that David thought it odd or else why would he have posted it?

Maybe if it was just something I saw I'd let it go but if I had been the person responsible for the child (and thereby knew the circumstances) I would report it if it had been a stranger.

When a child engages an adult, it's one thing, when an adult engages a child it's another.

Better safe than sorry.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 04:22 pm
Good points, Farmerman.

Another thing I was thinking of was that I've never warned my kids about talking to strangers. Taking things from them, going with them - yes, but not talking to them. They saw me doing it all the time and it's a natural thing for people to do.

"Hello, do you have the time?"

"When is the bus coming, do you know?"

"Boy, look at this rain!"

etc.

When your kids are young, supposedly you're with them all the time, so they're learning their social and civil and other skills primarily from you. In addition, hopefully one has spoken to them about 'weirdos'. But I don't like this suspicious mentality we've gotten into...I suspect 99% of people are just like us, so there's no need to be afraid of the majority of people. Common sense and gut instincts go a long way to keeping us away from or out of trouble and as long as kids have those, they're likely to get to adulthood unscathed.

Meanwhile, as nimh, I think suggested, children are now being prohibited from learning a lot of life's lessons when they should be, resulting in young adults who are ill-equipped to deal with the vagaries of human nature.
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rhachis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 04:55 pm
Could the dropper have been visually impaired?
Maybe the person who dropped the money was visually impaired or cognitively impaired. People seem to be very uptight these days. I am suprised someone besides me hasn't posted that the money could have been sprayed with the ebola virus.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 06:26 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
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.



Actually ebrown, going through your post point by point, I find a remarkable number of tactics which could very well be used by a molester to convince a child or adult that "this is all right"

1. Your seemingly innocent statement of "we see the world differently"...well, I would be one to say, "I don't know if we do or not, but if we do, I'm fine with that." Actually, IRL, I probably wouldn't respond to it at all. For the type of person who would molest someone, he'd be trying to get a dialogue going....since children especially like to please others...saying "Well, we don't think the same" could very well bring up the response "oh no! we think alike" or to that effect. Something indicating you're not having a disagreement.

2. I don't know if people are basically good or not. But I wouldn't risk a childs welfare on the chance they are only going to be addressed by the basically good people. I strike up conversations with strangers all the time. However, I'm an adult with very good instincts that I listen to. There's no reason for a child to be sociable, but they do not have the skills of judging people I do.
Like is indeed for living and irrational fears should not take away from it. However, the fear of being molested is in no way irrational. The way you say fear implies to me you think of it as something to overcome. To go against what your fear is telling you.
I see fear as a powerful, healthy and good tool in a humans arsenal. This is paraphrasing some information in the book "the gift of fear", which is an excellent read. In it, is says if you asked people, "what are you really afraid of" many times they will say something like "sharks"...unless you are actually in water that are suitable for sharks, much rarer than being raped, there is no reason to fear sharks. Do you know anyone who as been bit by a shark? Probably not. How many people do you know that have been raped or molested. Being raped or molested is NOT an irrational fear. However, related to point #1...you are saying it is, and someone who wants to get along, may go against what their gut says, and act as though it is irrational.

You say in all likelihood the man was just trying to be nice....so what?
I'm not going to repeat a 3rd time what is wrong with what he did.

I wouldn't tell a child that the man was probably just a nice person but that "sometimes" you need to be careful
I would be lying, because I would have absolutely no idea if that man was probably nice, and you have to always be careful, not sometimes.

What you deem as an emotional response, I give credit to my gut instincts. Being emotional connotes you are not in full control. Listening to your gut is the ultimate thing you can do to remain in control as much as possible as to your well being.

If I had children, I would do my best to let them be kids....with other kids.
I would do my best to keep them from those who would harm them. If they were dealing with adults, I want to be there.

Raising a observant child who is skeptical of strangers in no way means they can't be full of joy.

I know for a fact I have avoided rape, not by relying on avoidance and being nice, but by making my position known clearly. If I have avoided rape once, and inadvertently made a dozen people think I'm "not nice", I say that's a good deal.

I think niceness is extremely over rated. "nice" is a marshmallow, too sweet and unsatisfying. True joy is courageous and doesn't suffer fools gladly.



Switching gears....people, let's not get into this "well maybe he was thinking about his grandchild when he saw the boy" or "maybe he thought the boy looked sad"
Since we weren't there, we don't know....no sense in dragging out every possible scenerio.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 07:39 pm
Assuming this was a stranger on a bus.... the gift of money presented zero risk to the child. None at all. The parent was there, the bus was full and the stranger remained a stranger.

Of course any of the people on the bus could be dangerous... but a truly dangerous person could harm the child much easier without giving him money (especially if this person was in possession of ebola).

I get your point that this event might teach the child that it is acceptable to take money from strangers. I don't buy it.

If this happened to my kid, we would talk about it in a way appropriate to their age... but there is no need to make a big deal over it.

I live in the city, and there are people who are "odd". My two year old daughter has come into contact with panhandlers, and with adults who may fall into the strange category who wanted to make funny faces at her. So what? If my daughter is with me she is safe, and she is learning about life.

I am not going to teach her to be afraid of things that are "odd" (unless they pose a real risk).

My older kids occasionally are on their own... but this happens because they are mature enough. I talk to them and they are old enough to understand the dangers of life.

There are two different questions here.... The first I think we all agree on. You shouldn't give money to kids without permission from their parents. We all agree that this is "odd".

The second is what should a parents reaction be when someone does this, or something similarly odd.

This person posed absolutely zero risk to the child. In order to do anything harmful, he would have had to make some sort of connection with the child... and didn't even make any attempt to do this.

This is a odd occurance that is part of life, and no more.

I think making a big deal out of it is an overreaction.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2007 08:33 pm
Very concise, ebrown's post. Agree with alla that.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 06:38 am
late correction....when I reread my post...I wrote "there's no reason for a child to be sociable"

I meant..."there's no reason for a child NOT to be sociable"
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 07:16 am
OmSigDAVID wrote:
gustavratzenhofer wrote:
I might be wrong, but I think David may have finally gone over the edge.

The edge of the bus ?


David, just ignore that "gusravratzenhofer" guy...
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 07:19 am
Re: Could the dropper have been visually impaired?
rhachis wrote:
Maybe the person who dropped the money was visually impaired or cognitively impaired. People seem to be very uptight these days. I am suprised someone besides me hasn't posted that the money could have been sprayed with the ebola virus.


Excellent point! Can we run a DNA test or do we have to rely on finger prints. Let's ask a ciminal defense lawyer... Rolling Eyes
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 07:21 am
Chai wrote:


I meant..."there's no reason for a child NOT to be sociable"


Except if the kid lives in New England and then kids are taught to be uptight, closed-lipped and real Yankee-like. :wink:
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 09:27 am
Funny thing Miller....

I am from Boston (which is certainly New England), and I am the one arguing that people shouldn't be so uptight.

Go figure.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 09:34 am
"Yes honey, that man's behavior was inappropriate.

..... But I'm sure he's very nice."

My son doesn't live in a bubble of over-protectiveness. I don't want him to be afraid of things. I DO want him to question things. A stranger giving him things is certainly something I want him to question.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 09:44 am
I agree with this boomer...

Which is why I think talking about this event with your child is both the correct course of action, and sufficient.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:10 am
boomerang wrote:
"Yes honey, that man's behavior was inappropriate.

..... But I'm sure he's very nice."

My son doesn't live in a bubble of over-protectiveness. I don't want him to be afraid of things. I DO want him to question things. A stranger giving him things is certainly something I want him to question.




but boom.....how can you be "sure he's very nice"?


I think some here are thinking I'm advocating children be suspicious, unfriendly neurotic little people….even though I have tried to communicate I'm not.

OBVIOUSLY every situation has to be taken on its own merit. I'm not even talking about the man on the bus situation, since I have no idea if the original poster was using it as a hypothetical situation or making it up, or if it really happened.

I simply don't see where being sociable, making an appropriate friendly comment and looking at the world pragmatically are mutually exclusive.

I don't think I'd ever say to a child "I'm sure he's a nice man" because a child is going to take you more literally than an adult. If I'm with another adult and someone does something odd, but not immediately dangerous, and leaves, I might say "well, I'm sure he's really a nice guy" because I have to assume the other person is mature enough to know I'm just making a comment to indicate "everyone's different"…
But saying that to I child, I'm thinking they will take you for your word.

The truth is, neither on of us have no idea if he is a nice man or not. I'd probably say something like…."You know, he might be a nice person….but he might not be. You really have to get to know someone to tell that."

Anyway, what age are we talking about? If a child is 6 or 7 no way do I want them having a conversation with a stranger unless I'm there….If they are 11 or 12, they may have developed enough observance to make a judgment.

I have a question, generally to everyone…Do you, or do you not believe what your gut tells you?
When I mentioned on another thread a few weeks ago that I always trusted my gut because it won't lead me wrong, someone said "well, that's your first mistake"

However, I very firmly believe many times we get into truly dangerous situations because we feel we are too smart to listen to that little voice that tells you something's wrong. Some people have covered up that little voice so much, they can't even hear it at all, and on the rare occasions they do hear it, think they are being silly.

While on the surface it may not sometimes make sense when your gut is giving you signals, but, that's because you unconsciously gather information from your past and your surroundings that form a knowledge base of when something is right, or when it's off base.

As far as children go, my gut tells me there is no good reason for an adult to engage a child in more than a simple "hi" or a brief smile if the parents are not around. I'm not going to put an age on when that changes, that depends on the situation.

Again, I would always err on the side of caution. Bad things statistically don't happen that often according to what's been said, but that's no consolation when it happens to your child.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:17 am
I'm sorry. I should have been more elaborate with my answer because I'm right there with you on this, Chai.

I would never have a conversation with Mo where I said "... But I'm sure he's very nice" after someone had done something I though was inappropriate. I was trying to point out how silly that would sound and what a bad message it would send.

I still stand by my original post -- I would call the non-emergency police number and the bus company and report what had happened because I think a stranger tossing money into a kid's lap is really creepy.

After reading the "age of consent" thread I think it's doubly creepy.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:26 am
Well, one thing none of us knows is the spirit of the 'gift' - was it a careless dropping of the bill? Did he consciously and deliberately choose that kid? Were they making faces or whatever at each other while travelling? Was it done with a wink and a wave?

Maybe the guy was feeling guilty about the way he treated his own kid (or grandkid) or maybe that kid just reminded him of someone he used to like.

As usual, we don't have enough information to base our opinions on.

I'm sure if some of our actions were described to someone with an explanation, others would be suspicious of us.

The point is, the guy left the bus immediately after giving the child the money, so there was no harm done.

You could say to your child, "What a strange thing to do! Why don't we give the money to someone who needs it more?" or something of that nature, and just minimize the whole event.

Doesn't anyone here ever remember strangers coming up to you when you were little and with your mom and giving you a pat on the head and a candy? You'd look at your mom and she'd nod, and you'd accept the candy. Sometimes, she'd take it from you and throw it away once the lady was gone, but you took your cue from her.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:27 am
boomerang wrote:
I still stand by my original post -- I would call the non-emergency police number and the bus company and report what had happened because I think a stranger tossing money into a kid's lap is really creepy.


Well, that's what I think to be very strange, calling the police and the bus company for such ... minor things, which (might) happen now and then.

But to my experience, Americans are indeed a lot more overprotive and suspicious, quickerat calling the police then it is done here generally.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:31 am
I agree with Mame.

But, I don't have a problem with calling the non-emergency number either-- after all the police are their to serve, or the bus company ( although I don't think the bus company can do anything about every strange thing that happens on public buses).

I think we have over hashed this issue....

There is a more interesting issue about how we decide which risks to take with our children (or with ourselves), I am thinking about starting a new thread on this...
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:40 am
I've been on a bus before where the driver stood up and announced "There is a pickpocket on the bus. Everyone please watch your purses and wallets" after someone boarded.

I'd call just so it was recorded somewhere so that if there were some kind of problem in the furture, or had been some problem in the past, that the information would be available. I wouldn't really expect them to do anything about it.

I know me well enough to know that if I later read about some incident - a kid going missing off the bus line, or whatever, and the description matched the money throwing guy, and I hadn't reported it that I would feel really horrid. So maybe reporting it would just be a way to soothe myself.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 10:51 am
That's what I've been trying to do here....

I'm haven't been talking specifically about this man on this bus since the thread began. Honestly, I can't believe people are still addressing this probably didn't even happen because someone was just givng an example event.



I'm looking at the big picture.
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