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Stranger Danger: Some Random Peeps Approached My Kid for Info!

By Christine.Coppa |

My brother, Carlo, gets really mad at me when I address JD by his full name in public. “J C … wash the sand off your hands before you eat that sandwich!!”

“Great, tell the entire beach his name!” he says, throwing his hands in the air. Carlo works in law enforcement, has seen some scary stuff regarding children and is VERY protective of JD, as am I, so much that he is never out of my eye sight. I am not a helicopter mom—but I am an aware one.

Did I let JD play on the play structure on the beach without standing over him this summer? You bet, but I turned my chair in its direction and watched him the entire time. Did I let him fill his bucket with water and not parade after him? Yes, but I stood up and watched him walk to and from the water. 

Since Carlo doesn’t want me to call him by his name in public, I often joke, “OK, come here, Al Pachino, let me wipe your face.” But, recently something happened and it freaked me out and I started to think about Carlo’s point: JD and I were having pizza at our usual Friday night spot. A young couple walked in. (I think they were high, which might make this story make some sense.)

They were probably early 20′s. They sat near us and started laughing at JD’s 400 questions to me. Instead of addressing me, the girl addressed my child. “Yooooo, so you’re gonna be a superhero for Halloween?” she said. “Who’s your favorite?” JD engaged her. The guy turned around and started talking to him and again, not me. It really gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Usually, I’m involved in conversations. They asked him his name. He told them. Great!

I told him to turn around. They didn’t stop with the Qs. They wanted his age. “Eat your food,” I said to JD. “Guys,” I said smiling, “I need him to eat, sorry.” I thought that would end it. I thought I shut it down.

Two minutes later, they asked his age AGAIN. Before I could control him, he yelled “5! I just turned 5!!!” They wanted his school and he went to tell them, but I shut it DOWN. “Please stop asking my child questions. Where he attends school is none of your business. I don’t mean to be rude.”

They gave me a look like I was insane and maybe I was acting … insane, or I just wasn’t high and on their level. But total strangers now knew my kid’s full name, including middle, his age, that he is being Spiderman for Halloween—now they wanted his school. What was next? Our home address?

I waited until they left. I didn’t want them seeing our car or license plate #. The guys at the pizza place know us and to cut JD’s slice in half when I order. “You OK? That was weird!” pizza man said.

They were probably just being nice, but I got that “not right feeling.” I trust that “not right feeling.” I don’t get it that often. When I do … it’s on.

On the way home we discussed strangers:

  • Never talk to strangers
  • If a stranger ever comes near you, run and scream, HELP
  • Tell me, your family or teachers if a stranger ever comes near you
  • Never trust a stranger—even if they have a ninja toy or ice cream
  • And remember, I am the secret keeper. You can tell me anything and I will always help you and be on your side.
  • Strangers are bad, unless mommy says they are OK to talk to.
How do you discuss strangers with your kids? I watch too much Nancy Grace, btw. *Cringe*
More from me!

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Spending Money On A Vacation Is A-OK In My Book!

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About Christine.Coppa

christine-coppa

Christine.Coppa

Christine Coppa is the author of Rattled! (Broadway Books, 2009), the creator of glamour.com's Storked blog and a freelance fashion market editor. Her son, Jack, is 5 and they hail from North NJ. Her work has appeared in Glamour, First for Women, Redbook and Parenting among other publications.

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49 thoughts on “Stranger Danger: Some Random Peeps Approached My Kid for Info!

  1. Mary says:

    I took E. to a class on safety, strangers, bullying etc. (Kidpower – cannot recommend it enough). We practice what we learned there, we refresh our strategies by reading the cartoon book they gave. That being said, I am also trying to get E. to talk to “safe” adults like his teachers. We talk about who are the adults he can talk to. He can be very shy around adults and does not speak up for himself and that can be a big problem. If something happens, he needs to talk to his teachers or the adult in charge and tell them what is going on. I work in the home office of a coffee company (sorry no east coast branches yet) and several times a week we go into the branch on the way to school. E. is allowed to pick something out but he must tell the person what he wants – I won’t do it for him. We see the employees here a lot, they know us and they know I work for the company as well cause I have to flash my employee badge to get my free coffee (it’s awesome). I tell E. so-and-so is very nice she works for company X just like Mommy and you can talk to her and tell her what you want. And we are getting the point where he actually says what he wants in voice they can actually hear him (at first he just mumbled or talked to his shoes). However, I picked him up at school one day and he comes running up to me and says “Mommy, I talked to a stranger today”. He was very proud of himself. Doh, mental head smack. After some digging, I found out it was the parent of one of his classmates he had spoken too. But that made me realize how hard it was for them to understand. That night we looked at our book again and we keep looking at it

  2. Caitlin Adams says:

    We’ve had the talk this week. April jones a 5 year old girl in the uk got in a strange mans car last Monday and hasn’t been seen since. She’s all over the news here so the kids school and us took the opportunity if anyone not parent grandparent or expected auntie or uncle try’s to get you into a vehicle you run and scream and kick and bite to get away.
    Not that my kids are ever out of an adults sight but it only takes a second.

  3. Ashley P says:

    This is timely. I just spoke about stranger danger to my 4 year old on the way to school this morning. More conversations to come.

  4. mel1974 says:

    You did exactly the right thing (and all due respect to Dana M. above but she’s nuts). My husband and I just had this conversation because our daughter came home talking about the boy at school who likes to play tickle monster with her. It set off bells, and my husband asked her teacher about it. There was a simple – and extremely innocent – explanation involving a computer game, but my husband worried he had been rude to ask the teacher about it. I’ve taken self-defense. One of the first things they teach you is that it’s OK to be rude if you are keeping yourself safe. How many women have been attacked because they don’t want to insult the strange man in the parking garage? If I feel unsafe, I will be rude to you. And if I feel my CHILD is unsafe, I will be rude to you. How many of Sandusky’s victims could have been saved if their parents trusted their instincts instead of not wanting to be rude to the nice important man from the football team?

  5. Melissa says:

    Definitely trust your gut! A friend’s 7-year old son was playing on a playground while his older brother was at lacrosse practice. Clean-cut looking guy comes up to the 7-year old and starts talking to him — my friend shut it down but got a weird feeling. He sort of followed them in his car afterwards so she got the plate. Her dad is a police office so he checked into it. The guy was a registered sex offender. It’s a scary world out there.

  6. bunnytwenty says:

    Mel: as a middle-aged, overweight woman with glasses, I’m incredibly nonthreatening-looking. In what way did it benefit my neighbor’s child to teach them to be scared of the likes of me?
    In the meantime, I’ve entertained the babies of stressed-out moms on buses; taught the neighbor kids dog safety (they didn’t know how to greet a strange dog, and I taught them how to determine whether a dog is friendly in the safest way possible), and encouraged them to release a pet frog back into the wild (they did), and chatted about video games with kids on mass transit. All valuable experiences that your child will miss out on.

  7. jt15 says:

    I work in retail and have seen my fair share of children in the store… I will absolutely strike up a conversation with them while Mom/Dad is shopping so they’re engaged, instead of bored. I also taught swimming for 8 years and being around kids and interacting with them is natural to me. I do also know when to lay off though, especially if Mom/Dad is giving the, “ok-that’s-enough” (although that rarely happens). Christine, as JD’s Mom, if you got a “not right feeling,” you got it. You did what felt right for your family and none of us should judge you for that. While other Moms may feel it’s totally fine for (high) strangers to ask personal questions of their 5 year old, you don’t. And that’s ok.

  8. jt15 says:

    I will also add that I’ve never asked what school, home address or last name!

  9. Joey says:

    I know that we all think that we look non-threatening, but you have to remember that there are strangers out there that will do things to our children that don’t look threatening. A lot of the people who commit abduction crimes do not look like they would harm a fly. My godfather is in law enforcement and used to tell me several times growing up that bad strangers can look just like good ones. He dealt with several missing child cases and a lot of the time when they found the child, it was with a person who looked harmless. I’d rather be safer than sorry about my child. As for people just being friendly, yes they are out there, but those are people that talk to the parent before they engage the child. I know because if I see a child being adorable in a restaurant, I always ask the parent any questions before I wave or make silly faces because the little one is playing peek-a-boo. Yes, kids can have rewarding experiences with strangers, but those strangers should go through Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, whomever the child is currently being supervised by first.

    As for the fact that these people were high, I wouldn’t want them around my child whether they were just smoking pot or not. In Christine’s case, her child is five years old, who wants their five year old around drug usage? Definitely not a responsible, smart parent.

  10. Marisa says:

    You totally did the right thing. There is NO REASON for a complete stranger to ask where your kid goes to school – none. If they are honestly trying to find a school recommendation or something? Then ask the parent.

    I don’t mind some harmless chit chat between my kids and strangers while I am present and also included; for example, standing in the grocery line and the next person says hi, or comments on their toy or whatever. But to ask age/name/school? Too much.

  11. Melissa says:

    My discussions are pretty simple for my 4 yr old but we will be reviewing again after reading this story. For your situation at the pizza place, my feeling is rather be safe than sorry. Any clear thinking adult should have seen that the parent was uncomfortable with the questions being asked and stopped asking.

  12. Uncle Carlo says:

    The one thing that has not changed with time is sick people out there. All children should be fingerprinted at your local police station and taught not to talk to strangers. JD’s name and the names of all vulnerable youths should nit be exclaimed in full. EVER!

  13. Uncle Carlo says:

    Some readers may not remember this.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Adam_Walsh

  14. Crystal Rak says:

    Ugh! This made my skin crawl. I agree. You did the right thing. I consider myself to be very friendly and outgoing…esp. with kids. I was a nanny for a million yrs. However, I would never ask a kid where they went to school! I dont even ask their names! This kind of stuff scares me so bad. My lil one has speech delays…she cant talk very well to tell people her name (she knows it…you just may not understand her when she tells you) thats a good thing if a stranger asks her for info. But its also important for officials to know if, God FORBID, she were ever lost. Ive had a mild stranger-danger talk with her before…but I might step it up a notch. The Bernstain Bears has a great book about strangers. I remember my mom reading it to us as kids. I may go pick that book up and take it up a notch. Good for you, Christine-mama-bear :-)

  15. Courtney says:

    Shouldn’t you then NOT post his picture along with this story, not have his initials as your twitter handle and keep his face off Twitter, your blogs and Facebook? Any wack-a doo could learn where he goes to school, the identity of his father and his mother’s place of employment with just a little Internet searching. You have shots of the interior of your apartment, you blog about your schedule and his school schedule- I don’t think that’s very safe. I’m seriously thinking about getting off Facebook entirely and my child only has limited presence on my profile. And I certainly haven’t blogged about his private life from birth to 5 years. Not trying to stir the pot, but if you are having a serious conversation about the issue of child safety, we cannot ignore the fact that your child’s life is the subject of very public blogs.

  16. Danielle says:

    I probably wouldn’t have said verbatim what you said but in those awkward situations how do you even react? I guess I would’ve just said kindergarten and just went on with my night ignoring them. In this day and age more people are strange than they are normal…so you had a right to have that reaction. Some people think they’re being friendly but let’s be honest talking to other people’s kids as a stranger in a pizza parlor is weird.

  17. stephanie says:

    You did the right thing!! Absolutely!! The people that say otherwise are CRAZY! Anytime your Mom radar goes off you should listen to it. It seems like you’re friendly and affable and raising JD to be the same. For some kids to engage JD in so many personal questions is weird.

  18. MEL1974 says:

    BunnyTwenty (Dana M.) – I think my kid can live without your “lessons”. It’s admirable that you have so much to offer, but you may want to consider looking for outlets beyond befriending children you don’t know. It’s not my job to help your life be fulfilling by allowing you access to my kid in the park, on the subway, or anywhere else. It’s my job to keep her safe and adults who won’t interact with ME first, don’t get access to her.

  19. Uncle Carlo says:

    I must agree with Courtney. Discontinue your blog, seek new employment and hire a security guard. He has been exposed too much and everyone knows our business.

  20. Gina says:

    I like making small talk with kids. I ask them if they like pink (especially if they are wearing head-to-toe pink), if they like blueberries, if the doll they’re holding is their baby. I don’t ask them their name – I might ask the parent that – but sometimes I do ask where they go to school. It’s more of a neighborhood thing. I am an educator, I’m interested in the different schools in my city, and little kids are often proud of their school. I really don’t mean to pry or be aggressive.

    That said – I most definitely would not post my child’s name, face, neighborhood, school schedule, etc. online, especially paired with my work schedule, when I am out of town, the names of his relatives, etc. Do you know how easy it would be to yell to a child, “Hey, I’m your uncle Brian’s friend! He said he’s waiting for you at the pizza place! Let’s go, I’m giving you a ride!”

  21. Gina says:

    An article in the New Yorker last month about the Sandusky story goes into some detail about how sexual predators will court the parents for a long time to gain their trust, then make a move on the child. People in a booth at a pizza place are probably just having some laughs at your expense. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and remember an early post when you were mad that the receptionist at the pediatrician didn’t smile at your kid. You can’t have it all ways.

  22. steph says:

    @DanaM. I’m guessing you don’t have kids or much common sense if you think that drugged out people are harmless. By the way, they don’t make the best drivers either. I think that you need a big strong dose of reality here. Anytime a parent senses that their kid could be in danger it is their duty to protect them. And Christine wasn’t rude. To be fair she was eating dinner; it’s rude of anyone to assume they can just interrupt your meal and start talking.
    As for Christine’s whole life being public – yes it’s a little scary. Many moms put too much info out there on the web. I’m guessing though with a brother in law enforcement Christine has followed his guidelines and is careful.

  23. Courtney says:

    I know that I sound really dramatic, but I am in the middle of dealing with my sister’s stalker. Yes, 19 yrs old with her own stalker. He has been watching her on Facebook, met her at a campus party and greeted her with the opening line of “[insert her name] I’ve been waiting to meet you for some time.” He then rattled off details about her private life, her dorm, the classes that she takes, her friends, etc. Suffice it to say she rejected him. He was very angry and followed it up with unwanted phone calls, manipulative language (Don’t you believe in God? If you did, you’d call me), and even death threats. It is very scary stuff and the police cannot help us because “harrassment is so common amongst college kids.” This has really scared me. My child is getting off Facebook, and no one even knows us. No stranger should know anything about my life, my opinion.

  24. Courtney says:

    I don’t want to freak you out Chrissy. But somechester the molester could yell, “Hey [J--]. I’m your dad! Your mom said its OK to come home with me. I love you, buddy…” Holy smokes! I’m scaring myself. Hugging my kid tight tonight. And yes, I agree with you Christine. If YOU are uncomfortable with anyone talking to your child, you should terminate the conversation. Don’t let anyone tell you different. I personally do not talk to children in public directly. I don’t like it when people talk to my child.Yes, I will be that mom that does not allow sleep overs, at my house or away. No need unless it is with family. My child will not spend the “night out” at a friends until he hits 18. I have to get him to 18 fully intact. I am paranoid though. I changed pediatrician’s after his doc kissed my son’s head when he was a baby. Do not kiss my child unless you are family.

  25. Katie says:

    I don’t have a kid, but I am a teacher, so the topic comes up from time to time. The rule I tell my middle school students is this: If your gut tells you something is up, follow your gut. It’s rarely going to be wrong.

    I think you acted in the best interest of your child. Maybe they were harmless stoners, but what if they weren’t? The same people who are on here trying to bash your choice as his mother would be saying how you weren’t protective enough. You can’t please everyone, so you have to do what you think is best.

  26. Christine.Coppa says:

    Stellar comments. BRAAAA-VO

  27. Marie says:

    Better be safe than sorry. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the way you reacted. I would have done the same. I recently took my daugter on vacation to South Carolina where people are much friendlier than Jersey. We were in the food store, and random people would approach her, asking her name, where we were from, telling her she was pretty…although I know it wasn’t a threatning situation, we were hundreds of miles away, out of our environment, and I was constantly on my toes. She just looked at me llike “momma, is it ok to answer?” We were out of our element, but that doesn’t mean that just because people seem nicer, that things can’t happen. as a mother, our intuition is 99% right…and again, better be safe than sorry.

  28. Nikki says:

    I think as long as he understands Stranger Danger and what to do about if a stranger approaches him, it’ll be alright because he’s gotta learn about the people around him and the world, if you shelter him too much you’ll end up doing more damage then again you don’t want him to have free reign, there’s gotta be a medium. Maybe create a code word that only you, JD Carol and the rest of your families knows only knows. Times are so strange and we have to be so careful but you also don’t want a fearful kid. Take it from someone’s mother who put the fear of God into her about strangers and talked about abduction cases like they were the most natural thing. It’s a miracle our generation isn’t in heavy duty therapy

  29. Lori says:

    I teach my kids about “tricky people” not strangers. Any random person could try to talk to your child. Child not respond because they are a stranger and then the stranger say, “my name is (insert), now we know each other and aren’t strangers and we can now talk”. I talk to my two daughters about different things tricky people might try to do. (Ask them to get in their car, offer them candy, etc)

  30. Crystal Rak says:

    What ever happened to using “safe words?” I still remember mine. If a child is approached by a stranger and says “Hey _____ Your mom said it was ok for me to pick you up today!” The child would then say “If you know my mom, what is my safe word?” It should be something hard enough for a stranger to guess, but easy enough for a child to remember. I will enforce the safe word with my little one.

  31. Gigi says:

    Hi Christine! I don’t normally comment, but I’ve been reading since your Glamour blog! I think you acted just right in what you said to those people. Even if online it sounds rather innocuous (probably high/drunk young people, not so likely child abductors) you had a feeling that something. was. not. right. and you acted on it. Bravo for not being too shy to do that! I’m sure that you let JD say “hi!” or respond when normally friendly ‘strangers’ interact innocently with BOTH of you, in an appropriate way. For me, I’m naturally really outgoing and I love kids, so I often end up having little chats with them while I’m out walking my dog or on the bus. However, these are moments initiated by kids asking me questions (how old is your dog? can I pet him?) or rarely if a child & parent sit next to me on the bus, I might say “hi” or “I love your backpack, princesses are so cool!” while smiling and also making eye contact with the parent. I think it’s important to really drive home that ‘Mommy’ is in charge of meeting new people, and to stay away unless you say okay so that he doesn’t feel afraid of EVERYONE who is friendly. I love the Berenstein bears book on stranger danger – I think it made the point really well.

  32. ReRee says:

    I’m a fan of the “new” version of stranger-danger as “tricky people” especially since living in NYC my son is constantly around “strangers” who engage with him and one day he may need help from said stranger; Patty Fitzgerald has promoted this idea if teaching about Tricky People instead of stranger, and ways to talk to children of all ages. I especially like the idea of explaining to look for a “mommy with kids” when needing help or if someone is bothering him, also the point to teach that adults don’t need help from kids etc.. (Pattie Fitizgerald from SafelyEverAfter.com). I don’t want to teach my son fear but defiantly protect him, hard to find that balance. And yep, totally agree- listen to your gut!

  33. Christine.Coppa says:

    Love the secret word approach. Carlo, Bri and I had one and we still know it. I will do this with JD, but I tried once and he told every one our word was “taco.” I think he’s too young to grasp, “secret word.” LOL! I am signing him up for Safety Town this winter and our cop neighbor and uncle Car always talk to him about “bad guys.” Keep it safe!! XO

  34. Nathalie says:

    I think it’s safe to assume that Dana is NOT a parent. Her comments/opinions are irrelevant.

  35. Angie S says:

    This article was great. Your reaction was normal, you stopped the conversation when they started asking for his school. That is not rude, that is being a mom.
    I live in a place where when walking down the street strangers say hi to each other. My kids grew up with that as normal. When my daughter was around 5 or 6 a guy I went to school with saw us walking and started talking to my daughter., Like JD she was all about answering all questions. He asked a question about where she lives and what she likes to do and I just felt uncomfortable about it. So I ended the converstation (which I was not a big part of, other than the usual “what have you been up to since graduation?”)
    That night since we had just moved to a new neighborhood I got online and checked for registered offenders and the guy who was talking to my daughter was on that list. I had that conversation with her that night about not talking to everyone. I told her it was alright to say “hi”, “good morning.” and things like that but that her personal information needed to stay personal.
    We still say hi to people when walking around town but now I and my kids are more aware.
    There is NOTHING wrong with being protective of your child. Do not let any of these comments make you feel like you did something wrong. Trust your gut, JD is your child and you need to protect him.

  36. jad says:

    I would modify your guidelines in one way. Yell “Fire” instead of help. People are much more likely to look if they hear Fire.

  37. Not frightened mom says:

    I have no problem with my kids talking to strangers. Perhaps it’s because I personally have to trouble talking with strangers either. Maybe it’s also because being paranoid is a huge waste of energy. It’ll be your Uncle Mervin who molests your child, not some random whacko. Saddens me to see some overzealous mom scare the crap out of readers. Too bad the internet gives a platform to every social fool–I would never have published this silly little rant.

  38. RobC says:

    Two people had a conversation with your child in an open, public place and you didn’t immediately call the police? What on earth is wrong with you? What kind of world would it be if everybody just started initiating friendly conversations with random strangers without the slightest bit of suspicion or paranoia inhibiting this perfectly harmless social interaction?

  39. Keltie says:

    Wow! Paranoid much? Statistically, your son has a far greater chance of being abducted or assaulted by someone you or he knows than the so called scary stranger.

    Maybe watching a few episodes of “Bubble Wrap Kids” will give you some perspective.

  40. Brittany says:

    CC, I 100% agree with what you did. Most of the people giving you negative feedback probably don’t even have children or lack the sense to know just how dangerous our world is becoming. I’m sorry but if I can prevent something bad from happening to my child, I’m doing it…and when I say BAD, I mean, BAD….not a knee scrape or something minor. My son is five. He knows what we do about strangers. I guarantee you, if we are in public and a stranger speaks to him, he will not respond until he gets my nod of approval. If I have a bad feeling, I will simply apologize and remove my son from the situation. As a mother, your gut instinct intensifies times a trillion. Trust it, ALWAYS. I am a great mother, as are you CC. Rock on with your ability to hold your head up and prevail DAILY. :)

  41. Charismaga says:

    Christine, thanks so much about blogging about this topic, and Reree, thanks for mentioning the Pattie Fitzgerald site. This makes me realize that I really haven’t talked to my daughter about this much at all. I also love the tricky people concept and am ordering Pattie’s book about safety “No Trespassing” as well as another book called “I Said No – Keeping your Private Parts Private.”

    A couple of months ago at my daughter’s school, she and two other kids (she is 4) were about to pull their pants down about to show each other their privates. It was this one boy’s idea. I thought at the time they were just kids and didn’t understand that those things should be private. But now I am thinking…what if that boy was abused and was reinacting it? What if he tried to ask my daughter to do this again? I told her to keep those things private, but didn’t give her the tools on what to say if that situation came up again. I assumed they were just playing around, but it didn’t even occur to me that maybe it was something else. Luckily she’s in a different class now. And perhaps it was just an innocent thing. But this post has really opened my eyes and I’m really going to give my daughter the information and tools she needs with “tricky people” now. Thank you!

  42. Alexandra says:

    Hold the bleeping phone — you completely acted appropriately. JD had the chance to be friendly with the strangers, to the point at which it seemed too much. Plus, they were kind of interrupting your dinner. This blog post has nothing to do with free-range parenting, it’s about reacting when the situation calls for it. Which is what we do, and what we need to teach our kids. Sometimes a situation or people give you a weird feeling. We can only go with our guts.

    When my son was 2, a man came up to him outside the library and picked him up. I had one hand full of books and the other carrying my daughter in her car seat. For a second, I thought we knew him. But we didn’t. He didn’t make a move to walk away, but he was clearly drunk. I know, because I have a sense of smell. I told him to please put my son down, which we did. Then he followed us to the car. Perhaps he was trying to be helpful, you might ask. Nope, after I told him to please go away, and locked us all up in our car, he staggered about trying to figure out which car belonged to him. Then he staggered to the bus stop. I called the police. Sometimes our spidey-sense tells us that something ain’t right.

    I think the responses to this blog were a little unkind. If you disagree with a parenting choice, please find a nicer and more constructive way of saying so.

  43. Laura says:

    I gotta admit, I’m the child-less stranger asking kids questions like the ones JD got asked. If i ask where they go to school and it turns out its the same school I did we have something in common and they might think I’m cool (which matters a lot cause I like kids and I hope they like me as I want to have one someday) . I know I don’t mean any harm but the parents don’t know that. I’m glad to see it from a parents perspective. I’ll be less invasive with my questions…

  44. Christine.Coppa says:

    Great comments! Enough with the blog stuff @Courtney and brother. Yeah, I’m a mom blogger. Buzz is a dad blogger. Erin @ parenting.com is a mom blogger. Our kids’ names and images are out there – along with 1000000 other parent bloggers. My son is WELL looked after. This is the man in my area trying to kidnap kids! Sue me for not telling 2 strangers where my son attends school @ the pizza place. Cheers!! http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2012/10/hackensack_police_release_sketch_of_suspect_in_attempted_luring.html

  45. Christine.Coppa says:

    @Alexandra: Go you! You go with your gut!!

  46. Bre says:

    When I was a young girl playing in a church yard with my friend we were approached by a guy trying to get us to to get in his car to show him where a building was that we could see from where we were standing… we refused and had a fence between us, he got incredibly mad and sped off in his car… Clearly my mom taught me correctly otherwise I may have gotten in that car with that guy, it is our job as parents to protect our children. This isn’t a situation that anyone should judge how it was handled. They’re OUR children… we can raise them how we see fit!

  47. Keltie says:

    How is the advice “If a stranger ever comes near you, run and scream, HELP” working out for you? Must be incredibly awkward when you are out in public and your son is running away and screaming help everytime a stranger comes near him.

    I do think that you handled the people in the pizza place appropriately but feel like your advice about strangers is a little off. I can certainly appreciate that you and your brother are hyper aware given his field of work.

  48. jacky abrams says:

    You were actually dead on RIGHT. I don’t think they should have askedhim where he goes to school….. and not including you in the conversation is a huge red flag to me too. Listening to your gut is good. Polite chitchat would be talking more about spiderman, not asking for name, age, school,…. and who knows what else?? They may have been harmless, but then again, maybe not. I can’t believe some of these people think giving out all the information to strangers is OK?? I don’t either. I’ve got your back.

    Jacky

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