"Why I want my kids to talk to strangers"
"I won’t teach my children to preemptively fear you along with every other person they haven’t met yet because that’s pretty much everyone."
Teaching children not to talk to strangers is one of the basics of parenting, and perhaps one of the best things you can teach your children. After all, the world is a scary place full of bad men with equally bad intentions.
But for mum Anita Manderfield, she wants her children to do the exact opposite: she wants them to speak to strangers.
In her Scary Mommy story, she explains the many reasons why she believes that there is a lot to be gained by talking to the random passersby in your daily life.
“Yes, there are dangerous people out there,” says Anita. “Hell, maybe you’re even one of them. Maybe! That’s why it’s good that my kids, at 4 and 2, have several more years of constant direct supervision by a trusted adult to endure before getting more rope.”
During this time of their lives, Antia is teaching her children to trust their instincts. She’s also teaching her children during this time by example.
“I want my kids to talk to strangers. I want them to know that they deserve our respect and a basic minimum of trust unless they demonstrate otherwise.
“Sure, sometimes a person just gives you the willies for no good reason and maybe that’s your instinct, if it’s not bigotry. I’m still trying to discern the difference, and I’m trying to teach my kids to do the same.”
Anita is aware of all the news about missing and abducted children, but she believes that parents withdrawing into their houses and viewing every person they do not know with suspicion isn’t the answer.
This fear of the unknown, Anita believes, divides communities and cultivates an environment of hostility.
“So, while trust and respect can be misused, I won’t teach my children to preemptively fear you along with every other person they haven’t met yet because that’s pretty much everyone.
“And on a global scale, that’s mainly people who look and live differently than we do.”
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