Stranger Danger isn’t something any of the girls are very good with, baby girl in particular will talk to anyone and sit on the laps of random strangers if we don’t keep a close eye on her. They’ve had talks in school and we’ve done lots of work with them about ‘not talking to strangers’. Its a difficult topic for many adopted children to understand, they’ve usually been taken to contact visits with a social worker, sometimes a different one each week, had out- reach workers involved with them, sent to school in taxi’s, been encouraged to talk to family support workers and medical professionals and all other manner of ‘strangers’ that have been in and out of their lives before they were adopted. We had an interesting chat today, but before I tell you about that, let me tell you about this:
I didn’t write much about our holiday, the summer was exhausting to be honest and I just didn’t have the energy or head space to put my thoughts down on here. We had a lovely time at the Isle of Wight, it was our first time visiting the island so we were aware of the difficulties we could face with the girls and prepared well, there were still a few ‘interesting’ moments shall we say. One of those being the on the last day. We’d tried all holiday to encourage the girls to explore around the caravan rather than stick to us like glue, on the last day we kinda forced them too. We packed up their little rucksacks of books and toys and asked them to stay outside the caravan whilst we packed up. They stood on the decking looking through the windows watching us. I felt like a goldfish in a bowl so I suggested they stand and watch the horses in the field at the back of the caravan so off they went reluctantly. It wasn’t long before I checked on them, maybe 5 or so minutes, I could hear them chatting so decided to have a look out of the window and see what they were up to. I was very glad I did. They were stood chatting to a man besides a big blue van. I immediately called them back to the caravan and asked who they were talking too. ‘the man was telling us about the dog that was in his van mommy’, I’m sure you can imagine the thoughts that instantly filled my head and the conversation with them that followed.
So back to today. We were on the way to school and passed a teenage girl walking to high school. Baby girl commented saying she felt unsure if she should be walking by herself, Big girl replied that it was ok for her to walk to school so long as she remembered her rain coat. I Instantly pounced on the opportunity for a ‘chat’ and said ‘Its ok for children to walk to school by themselves if they know how to keep themselves safe, how do we keep ourselves safe do you think?’.
Big girl: basically you don’t walk by the edge of the road
Middle girl: stuck her fingers in her ears saying she didn’t want to listen to us because the word ‘basically’ is annoying.
Babygirl: you need to make sure you stop look and listen
I then talked to them about strangers
Me: what if someone stops and offers you a lift to school?
They all replied that you should just say ‘no thank you’
Me: what If someone says ‘Your mom asked me to take you to school because its raining, hop in’
Baby girl: just say ‘no thank you’
Big girl: well if YOU told them to take us to school, hmmm………….
Middle girl: still had her fingers in her ears sulking.
Me: what if someone says ‘I’m a teacher, hop in I’ll give you a lift to school
Baby girl: hmmmm that’s a tricky one
Big girl: well if its a teacher then its ok
Me: what if its the headteacher from your school?
Big girl: well yes then you have to otherwise you will get in to trouble.
Me: what if someone says ‘I’m a police man, I’ll take you to school’
Baby girl: a police man!? why would they take us to school they might need to save someone
Big girl: well a policeman would be ok
Me: how can you tell if they’re a real police man?
Big girl: because they have a hat?
I asked a few more questions like this and their replies were equally as concerning.
Me: middle girl, take your fingers out of your ears you need to listen to this as well. You NEVER EVER get in to someones car unless its someone from our family. Mommy will never send someone to give you a lift, teachers and head teachers should never offer you a lift to school and if they do you say no thank you, a police man wouldn’t be stopping to offer you a lift to school, that’s not their job. If someone ever asks you to get in their car you say no thank you and you walk away quickly, I don’t care if its the queen, you never ever get in someones car.
Big girl: can the queen drive?
Baby girl: but what if they follow you?
Me: then you run to the nearest shop and tell someone who works there that someone is following you and your scared, or go in to a school or tell a bus driver or a lollypop man, or go to a place where there will be lots of people and tell someone you need help. You don’t hide, you don’t walk down gully’s and alleys or empty streets, you stay in a place where there are lots of people and where lots of people can see you, that is how you keep yourself safe.
I think we still have a lot of work to do on stranger danger, don’t you agree!