I’ve been reflecting on stranger danger lately. Some rather nasty incidents have occurred in my local area which started me thinking about how I begin to prepare my child about personal safety. Everyday he strives for more and more independence and frankly at times this can scare me to my core. Infamous images of the CCTV footage of James Bulger being directed away from his mother replay in my mind as my boy asserts his independence and walks ahead in busy shopping centres. Reasoning with statistics can perhaps argue that something awful happening is highly unlikely… but what if? I ask my son to walk a little closer to me but when he asks me why I am sometimes at a loss of what to say. I don’t want to freak the kid out about people that he doesn’t know – drawing on statistics it is much more likely that if something untoward was to happen it would be perpetrated by someone that he wouldn’t regard as a stranger – but at the same time I don’t want him to blindly trust everyone that smiles at him.
It’s a tricky balancing act. How do you manage your fears? How do you explain potential dangers to your children?