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  • Writer's pictureToni

Stranger Danger

Updated: Aug 15, 2019


I realized a few days ago, that I need to start talking to my child about “stranger danger”. Her innocence is beautiful however it's unsafe in the world that we live in today. Just 2 years ago, I dreamed of having a toddler who was happy and friendly to people. As I dealt with a colicky infant, I wouldn’t be able to understand why "future me" would want otherwise. But I do. My child says hello to so many people. There is no filter. I am happy to have her engage with kids her age, however her saying hello to some older adults has raised a red flag.

I knelt down after she approached an older, visibly inebriated man and I held her hands while trying to explain why she can’t be friendly to everyone. I attempted to simply say that there are some people who aren’t nice and she needs to ask me before talking to them.

How do you explain to a toddler about the bad stuff? The stuff you can't really comprehend on your own, let alone rationalize to a child. Or what about explaining that someone may take them? Or hurt them? I felt like I was giving her unnecessary anxiety. My heart hurt telling her not to do the thing I pushed her so hard to do just months ago.

And as we completed the awkward conversation, my brain went through what may happen in the years to come in that same kneeling position. I imagined guiding her through the hypothetical future moments. Moments in her school, where a bully picked on her or when she begins to date and feel heart ache. Thoughts of the moment she'll fail a test or when she’s having a rough time and wants to give up. I will kneel and look into her eyes promising her that I love her and want what’s best for her.

Parenting is so abstract. I don’t think I’m doing most things right, however I do know that I love her with my whole heart. There’s this discomfort in not knowing my boundaries and also how many times I’ll allow her to be hurt before I intervene. We’ll both make mistakes along the way but my point is, we’ll be making them together.


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