Just read an article "Can a Kid Be a Psychopath?" on Yahoo which I find very disturbing.
There is also a very high profile criminal case that is in the Canadian press right now (I live in Canada) - two people, a man and a woman, lured an 8-year old girl, then raped and killed her.
My daughter is 7 months old now, and I feel unprepared to raise her when I read stories like this. How do I ensure her safety without teaching her to be suspicious of every person she meets? How do I prepare her to the fact that not all kids are nice and well natured (the article is talking about very extreme cases but there are always kids around who are more agressive, cruel or manipulative than others). My daughter is cute, and wherever we go we get lots of attention - people comment on her cuteness, smile to her, try to talk to her which seems perfectly normal and natural. I teach her to smile back and to wave "hi" - e.g. if we are in the lineup in the supermarket. She is getting used to it, and she smiles to people easily. Yesterday we were in a clinic, and she gave a really broad smile to someone behind my back. When I turned around I saw a somewhat creepy looking young man smiling to her. Am I wrong to teach her to smile to strangers and to say them "hi"? Do I put her at risk by making too friendly? Of course she is supervised now 24/7 but there will be a long time before she is old enough to understand what she can and can't do. How do you teach safety your kids without making them (and yourself) paranoid?