Don’t trust the strangers? | The Family Without Borders

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Don’t trust the strangers?

Don’t talk with strangers, don’t take candies from them, don’t trust. Damm it, I have a little problem with this statement.

Our girls met a lot of strangers in their lives. Russian policemen, old babushkas in Bosnia, bandits in Guatemala. They were sitting on stranger’s knees, often before we knew his name. Especially in Caucasus and in Central America – the interest in cute-blond-girls was very high. Everybody wanted to touch their chicks, gived them a lolly pop, asked about their names. And as long as Hanna or Mila didn’t mind (we know them quite well, we see if they are fine or not) – we totally didn’t care about those kind of interactions.

Honduras, San Manuel: Hanna breaking Lenca's hearts; Photo: Thomas Alboth

As you know – our girls also at home have a lot of new people (I wrote not long ago about „strangers“ staying in our flat). Girls, as other humans, sometimes like somebody from the first second and others have to fight for their trust a bit longer. But even those, whom the girls have distance to, will get answers from them: about names or favourite toys.

Republika Srbska (Bosnia): Hanna in love with Mirko ; Photo: Thomas Alboth

Lately I’ve got seriously scared when I read about a little experiment, done by British journalists: some „stranger“ accosted a kid on a playground, while his parent was busy (talking on his mobile or reading a book on a far away bunch). The „stranger“ smiled, talked a bit and then showed a picture of a dog on his mobile and said that the dog is lost and if the kid can help him finding it. And – attention! – 7 of 9 kids left the playground with this „stranger“!

The parents of those kids said later on that they used to talk with their kids about potential risks of such a situations. And the kids said that this person didn’t look suspicious…

Hmmm. How does somebody look – is not an argument for our kids. They always surprise me that they totally don’t care about the look, they can play with homeless or a begging girl. So what? Now I’m thinking even more: would they go somewhere (from playground or where-so-ever) with anybody??

Bosnia: Lukomir; Photo: Thomas Alboth

After reading the report, I sat with my Hanna (4,5) on the bunch and we talked. I draw her such a playground situtation, I asked what would she do. You know what did she say? – Mummy, I would ask all the kids at this playground to help me! That they could help me finding this poor dog. Ah! And we could ask all the parents! The more people, the better, right?

Uffff, oh yes… My little activist would charm out a megaphone and organize a bigger happening. At least all the parents, including me, would hear about it…

And to be serious: I really don’t know what to think about it. To tell: don’t trust the strangers? If I do trust on my own? To tell: don’t talk with the strangers? If I do talk on my own, and I love it?

Many talks we’re gonna still have…


This post is also available in: Polish

Our first book is out!

We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
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One Comment

  • Sarah
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 11:04 | Permalink


    I thought about this interesting question. Then I thought: I think the mistake the children in the survey made was NOT to talk with a stranger – I think we always can encourage this, ESPECIALLY when the parent is in the direct neighbourhood. BUT they should learn never to leave alone without warning their parents aka asking their permission.

    Actually I think this is a universal rule, both for children as for adults, as well as for strangers and best friends. Suppose the same survey was done with adults. Well, I think I would be a bit pissed off in case my adult friend left without warning me where he is. I would be worried, not knowing whether to leave or to stay and I even would wonder he may be angry with me.

    So about Hanna and Mila: why don’t you teach them it’s okay to make new friends or to react to people’s attention – as you correctly said: as long as they like it, of course – but that they need to remember to tell their parents where they are and what they want to do (with whom). I strongly believe the best you can do for your kid is not trying to protect him for everything (since sooner or later this will once fail) but to learn how to react themselves. Take your advantage and bless yourself they are still open and trusting – as long as they trust you at least at much as strangers, and as long they not trying to hide whom they meet – I don’t think there’s any problem, on the other hand.

    PS Also teach them to trust their intuition. If they don’t like a stranger’s attitude, and if there’s not a good reason to adapt themselves – like, I don’t know, a class room or something – they should respect their suspicion.

    If you manage to teach this all, I think education is finished :-)


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