Stranger danger or mummy paranoia?

2 Sep
Driver with child riding in her lap, O'Fallon,...

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We spent the day at a farm/leisure park today.  Lily did her usual thing which is basically attaching herself to other families with little ones and forgetting that I am even there.  This has never really bothered me before and I admit I was pleased that she is so confident and out-going.  Today though, she took a liking to this chap who was doing a great job of entertaining the children that he was there with, I don’t know if they were his own children but they certainly knew him well.  Lily started calling this chap ‘Mr Tumble’ and I admit there were likenesses, mainly in the way he entertained the childre – he wasn’t wearing a multi coloured waistcoat and he didn’t he a clowns nose!

I started to get concerned when Lily left the group we were with (we were attempting to get the children to sit down and eat a picnic lunch) and followed ‘Mr Tumble’ across the playground and down towards the toilet cubicles.  She would have quite happily followed him into the toilets had he not said to her that she was not allowed to come into the mens with him.

At this point I had to take her aside and have the long post poned discussion about stranger danger.  I thought at the young age of 4 that I wouldn’t have to touch on this subject for some time.  I thought that I could maintain her idea that the world is a wonderful place and that she is safe within it.  Unfortunately though, the time had come and I knew that I needed to tell her how it really is.

I feel totally gutted that I have had to do this and do wonder if I should have kept quiet for longer. Surely though she needs to know that she can’t just follow strange people.  She’d done this on the beach a couple of days before too so it’s not as if it was a one off.

What does everyone else think?  Is 4 years old too early to be thinking about this sort of thing?  What does everyone else do to ensure that their kids are safe from strangers?

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