Dear Stranger…

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Dear Random Stranger,

Back away from my child! Right now! I’m not sure why you think it’s appropriate to touch him. I am also not sure why you think it’s not appropriate for him to tell you “no”. He’s a person and he doesn’t know you. Why would he let a stranger touch him? Do you let strangers touch you? I don’t care that he didn’t speak to you. That doesn’t make him rude or spoiled. Again, he doesn’t know you. To him, you are just some new face who happens to be more than two feet taller than him. Can you imagine how scary you must look from where he stands? You might even seem a bit creepy.

As his parents, we are teaching him that he has a voice, an opinion and we respect it. We are teaching him that he deserves respect. He deserves it, not only from us but, from those around him. There is no way we want to teach him that he should be super-friendly to any old adult that comes his way. I don’t care that we’re at church. Crazy people go to church too. You might be the sweetest lady we’ve ever laid eyes on. You might be the nicest gentleman we’ll ever know. But that’s the thing we don’t “know” you. So trust, that my family would appreciate it if you would back up. Way up. Stop trying to pat our son on his head. When he frowned up at you, that meant he didn’t like it. He’s not Fido, he’s a child. He’s a person, albeit a small one, but a person none the less. The sooner you get that, the better off we’ll be.

Thank you kindly for respecting the space of my child,

LJ’s parents

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40 Responses to Dear Stranger…
  1. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    November 22, 2011 | 6:37 am

    I know what you mean! It can be really scary to a child, and I’m glad they’re naturally hesitant to trust strangers like that. What are people thinking? I remember both of my kids would really shrink back from that attention, and I was TOTALLY fine with it!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:08 pm

      My son has been giving strangers the evil eye from day one. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. Optimistic Mom
    November 22, 2011 | 7:46 am

    This reminds me when a “stranger” rubbed my son’s bald head in the store. He was 3 then and went off on her. lol I felt a little bad at first, but then I was like that what you get for touching my son. We don’t know you!!
    We teach our son to speak up when someone touches him in a way he doesn’t like and have no regrets about that.
    Great letter!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:09 pm

      Why would you rub his head? That baffles me! Too funny that he went off!

  3. A Mommy in the City
    November 22, 2011 | 8:12 am

    I hate it when people think that they have the right to come up and touch your child. It happens a lot to me in living in the city, especially with older people.

    Great letter!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:10 pm

      With you being pregnant, people probably want to rub your belly and touch your child. Both are inappropriate.

  4. cari
    November 22, 2011 | 8:39 am

    Good for you Mama! That’s a huge issue for my kiddo too, he doesn’t like people invading his space, and then ‘strangers’ get offended when he gets upset. Oh the well meaning stranger…I could write a novel, maybe a post:-)

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:13 pm

      You should do a post. I’m sure it would be hilarious!

  5. Stesha
    November 22, 2011 | 9:10 am

    Why do adults feel they can invade the personal space of children? This really bothers me. When we’re out with the kids complete strangers will come up pinch cheeks, pat on the heads, grab fingers. This is not okay. I’ve had told my kids it’s acceptable to tell adults “please don’t touch me in this manner because my mother does not play.”

    Hugs and Mocha,

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:14 pm

      I love that “because my mother does not play!”

  6. Mimi
    November 22, 2011 | 9:34 am

    I hate when people touch my babies hands. Sir/Ma’am I don’t know where your hands have been and the fact that children put their hands in their mouth should be a signal not to do that…I guess not. Once they finish saying their piece I wipe her hands down even if they are still standing there. *shrugs*

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:15 pm

      I have been known to clean my son’s hands in church. Right after someone shakes his hand – we pull out the wet ones.

  7. kita
    November 22, 2011 | 11:25 am

    I have never had a stranger come up to me they will smile and say hi but they have never touched my kids. I have that look of don’t mess with me when I go into stores so they don’t. Now I have had strangers give my child candy without asking me. Now that I don’t play with I had one do it and I snatched it from my child and threw it in her buggy and said very meanly ask before you give my child stuff.

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:16 pm

      That’s pretty bad. Why would you give a child candy in this day and age. It may have been cool years ago but these days everything is suspect.

  8. Barbara
    November 22, 2011 | 12:07 pm

    YES!! Why do people think it’s appropriate to touch or approach your child? We have a crazy (seriously crazy) neighbor who always is trying to touch him and she waits for us in the morning and at night.

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:17 pm

      Oh yeah, that neighbor sounds creepy!

  9. Tamonie
    November 22, 2011 | 12:23 pm

    Ya, that’s not going down with the Snellings kids. Both with quickly say, Don’t Touch Me Stranger!Then, comes the what the heck is wrong with you look.

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:17 pm

      I already know the Snellings kids don’t mess around! LOL!

  10. KalleyC
    November 22, 2011 | 12:54 pm

    I hate this well. I don’t know what is in the mind of some adults, but you don’t go up to a person’s child and touch them. Its rude. People should learn that everyone deserves personal space, and kids are not dogs; don’t go patting kids you don’t know on the head.

    I also wipe my daughter’s hands in front of people, and my daughter moves away from you when you try to reach for her. Kids don’t like strangers much. They are not supposed to.

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:18 pm

      You’re right. There’s a reason kids back away from strangers…

  11. Jill
    November 22, 2011 | 1:03 pm

    Thank you!
    I hate when people think they can “pet” my child.
    I remember when my B was just an infant and we had to go to a pharmacy. Some hacking woman thought it was OK to reach out and touch his little hand as she commented on how cute he was.
    The little hand that he liked to chew on all the time.
    As she reached for him I could see myself in slo-mo mode …
    “Nooooooooooo …”
    I caught her hand just in time. Gave her a gentle squeeze and said “Thank you for the compliment.”
    I think she got the hint.
    Then I hunted down some Purell for myself!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:20 pm

      Oh my goodness! That’s just rude to be hacking and then try to make contact with a child. He doesn’t want your cooties!

  12. Rebecca Pacrem (@DvrDame)
    November 22, 2011 | 2:06 pm

    I love this! This is exactly what I’m thinking when a stranger gets too close for comfort. It’s very annoying.

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:20 pm

      I try to be respectful but dag – sometimes it’s hard!

  13. Kiara
    November 22, 2011 | 2:18 pm

    I agree. Nicely put!!! 🙂

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:21 pm

      thanks chica!

  14. Denise
    November 22, 2011 | 4:00 pm

    I find that happens to me most often at the store. Total strangers walking up to me, touching my kids and talking to them. I don’t get it, because I couldn’t imagine doing that to someone’s child. It’s like, you know they mean well, but it’s still very creepy, lol

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:22 pm

      yeah, i’m sure they mean well. it’s just not well thought out. people don’t think to respect the space of kids like they would an adult.

  15. Nellie
    November 22, 2011 | 5:21 pm

    Amen to that one, isn’t it weird how people react if our children don’t want to interact? I don’t want my son to be so friendly that if a stranger comes up to him and takes his hand he goes freely. I take comfort in my childs “no!” Its called stranger danger for a reason. People can be so inappropriate sometimes!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:23 pm

      Exactly!! That’s the whole thing. It’s like this stranger may be perfectly harmless but unless I know you I probably think you’re suspect!

  16. Monica J
    November 22, 2011 | 5:46 pm

    This happens so much. I think you took the words right out of so many parent’s mouths. You said what needs to be said every day to strangers. Can you believe I even have that problem when I’m out at the park or on a neighborhood walk with my prreschool class. People want to touch the kids and take pictures. I know it’s NYC and there are a lot of tourist, but why the pictures? Seriously? I have to tell people all of the time, not to take pictures of the kids. There are so many strange people out there, so you have every reason to feel this way. And yes, little ones deserve respect and their space too!!!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:23 pm

      Yeah, that’s just weird. Especially the pictures. They’re people not a historical landmark!

  17. YUMMommy
    November 22, 2011 | 7:53 pm

    I need to create my own copy of this and pass it out when we’re out and about. People now days have space issues and I don’t like strangers in my space or my children’s space.

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:24 pm

      Print it out and pass it out!!!

  18. IAAMM
    November 22, 2011 | 8:09 pm

    Don’t limit your lessons to being mindful of adults, because kids do inappropriate things to kids as well. Good going!

    • Cam
      November 22, 2011 | 9:24 pm

      You’re so right on that one!

  19. Natalie
    November 23, 2011 | 7:46 am

    I totally get this. I had no idea that strangers just walk up to babies/kids and touch them. I never did that…but have found that everywhere I go people are trying to touch my baby. He doesn’t know you from Adam…so leave my baby alone!

  20. Roses Daughter
    November 23, 2011 | 9:45 am

    Girl! This one irks me so bad!!! Strange folks are always trying to touch on Pookah and then look at me funny when I move the cart away, or when Pookah says a loud and firm NO. SMH.

  21. Aubrey
    November 23, 2011 | 2:39 pm

    I am *IN LOVE* with this post and all that it says about people and how they interact with the little ones! I have no idea why people seem to think because they are kids, it’s okay to get in their space or discipline them…I’m always stunned when it happens, but I’m glad I’m not the only one!

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    February 13, 2014 | 5:37 pm

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    Dear Stranger | Bibs & Baubles…

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