Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t go with strangers. Be aware of stranger-danger. These are all messages which we emphasis to children as parents. Yet we actually do often send our kids into the very situations which we tell them to avoid, especially this time of year.
We encourage our children to sit on the lap of a strange man who more often than not wearing a disguise—a false beard and extra padding to hide his identity. Often, the first question out of his mouth to the youngsters is, “Have you been a good little boy(girl)?” He promotes their good behavior with guarantees of presents—usually the toys and other items—the children are questioned into revealing they want by this stranger. They get their picture taken with the stranger by a photographer we really don’t know anything about.
And what about other similar instances?? We turn the children over to other individuals we really don’t know that much about such as teachers and school bus drivers. Honestly, can any parent say that they run background checks on their children’s teachers or school bus drivers prior to leaving their kids in these individual’s care.
Think about it. It is true.
You are thinking to yourself. This guy is crazy. Teachers, Santas, and bus drivers have background checks run on them prior to coming into contact with children. Here is sobering thought: those background checks run on those strangers we are turning our children over to temporarily are run by other strangers, individuals whose backgrounds we don’t know.
(A shout-out to LB who took a stranger into her home for the inspiration for this article.)