In the bookstore the other day I ran across the children’s board book Being Safe:
Which contained this horrible bit of advice:
The whole “don’t talk to strangers” thing is completely silly. Everyone talks to strangers. When parents go out, we talk to store clerks, postal workers, waitstaff, etc. Kids are usually required by their parents to talk to strangers, too. They have to answer the doctor’s questions, for example, or say thank you to the bank teller for the lollipop. So which strangers are okay to talk to again?
Also, instilling a fear of “strangers” in children can actually make them less safe. For one thing, it restricts their experience in talking with and judging the people they meet. But more importantly, if a child is ever in serious trouble – is separated from a caregiver or is threatened by a “stranger” – who should ou reach out to for help? Probably another stranger! Fear of people leads to nothing except less enjoyment of the world and fewer options when in need.
Leave “don’t talk to strangers” behind. In fact, get busy talking to more strangers! There are a lot of awesome strangers out there with wonderful things to say.