The Danger of Stranger Danger

I grew up thinking the world was a scary place and if I stepped out the door, I would be raped and murdered. Kids are instinctively afraid of the world, but my dad expounded this problem with his own fear and wanting to protect his sweet little girls. In a lot of ways I wish my dad had let me go and taught me courage instead of fear. Kids are naturally scared of the unknown (like all humans). In a lot of ways, you don’t need to teach them that.

Growing up and getting out into the world would have been a lot easier had I realized then what I know now: most people are just people, not robbers or rapists, as I thought as a child. You can, even as a woman, travel by yourself, walk home at night, or ride a bus across the country, and you can do it without getting murdered. Yes, 1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted at some time in their life, but 93% are family members or acquaintances. If this is what my dad was scared of, he should have banned us from having friends or family…

I really wish my dad would have taught me how to be safe, then let me go. I wish he had trusted God with our safety. Like when I decided to get married. He had huge doubts, both about my man and my judgment. But in the end, he should have been able to let me make my decision. He should have trusted that he had raised me well enough to make my own decision. He should have been able to put it in God’s hands and let me go.

Because, daddy, you won’t always be there. One day, I will be a young woman, and I will walk alone. I want to be able to be without constant fear of strangers. I want to know when something’s wrong. I want to know what’s appropriate for a boyfriend. I want, and I will, make these decisions for myself. Teach me how instead of banning me until I’m older. Because my getting older is something you can’t stop or veto forever. And these small decisions are ways you can teach me to make the big ones. If you don’t teach me how to make small decisions, how will I ever make big ones?

What do you think? Did your parents let you walk by yourself or promote “stranger danger”? How did that affect you as an adult?

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8 thoughts on “The Danger of Stranger Danger

  1. I was able to play in my neighborhood, but had to come home when the street lights came on. This rule didn’t count for summer as we played Capture the Flag most nights. Stranger Danger was never a thing for me.

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  2. True, a lot of our fears get mirrored in the people around us. But i think what is to be achieved is a balance – between over protection and no protection. I have not had anyone around to protect me, so I am at the bang opposite end of the spectrum. But I believe it necessary to teach kids to be brave and to have faith .

    Liked by 1 person

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