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A stranger bought my dd a chocolate bar...am I over-reacting?

post #1 of 166
Thread Starter 
Okay this is making me crazy, I haven't been able to talk to anyone about it yet as it was late so I really need to vent about it or else I may throw up.

Tonight me and the kids went to the video store to rent a movie. We were standing in line and ds started pulling me away, so as I was attempting to wrangle him back in to line my 4.5 yr old dd stayed in line, I was about two feet away. She had a bucket full of rocks which she had picked just prior to going to the store and was asking some people if they would like one. So she turned to the man behind her and asked him if she would like a rock, he bent down and was very nice and said oh! thank you, those are very nice rocks, etc. they were talking for a few seconds and then he said that in return he would like to buy her a treat...(they were standing right beside the chocolate bars) I turned and said oh! no no no no, that is fine,you don't need to do that and smiled. ds ran away again and he told her to pick something, which she did to my nauseous heart, and he said he would like to get it for her, I quickly came back and said No thank you, she was just happy to give the rock away to someone, smiled and went to rent our movies. That was that, dd waved bye to him and we left. We were parked right in front of the store and while we were getting in he came up to me quite shyly and said, I would really like her to have this, I told her I would get it for her, he quickly handed me the chocolate bar and said to dd It was nice to meet you, share it with your mom and brother okay? and he left. I was kind of stunned and said thanks but you really shouldn't have, even though I had the bloody bar in my hand. And there I was. We didn't eat it, and I immediately had a very important heart to heart with dd about accepting things from people we don't know, or even allowing someone we don't know to buy us things, we talked about the situation and how next time if someone asks her to pick something out like that just to say no thank you. But oh my god, hyppocrite!! I just took the bar! I feel dirty, I feel nauseous, this whole thing REALLY bothered me! From start to finish. I think honestly the guy just felt touched that she gave him the rock and didn't know what to do. He was fairly young and obviously didn't know how inappropriate that was to offer such a thing, and it really floored me that he did. I honestly didn't know how to deal with it! And it all happened so fast, between me trying to keep the kids together and get the movies and stay in line and say no thank to this guy firmly yet politely it was chaos! And since then I have just felt so rotten about this! I should have said right away very firmly and point blank, no thanks she is not allowed to accept things from people she doesn't know. Or some such thing. I am always TOO bloody polite, worried about offending someone, well not always but something passively weird like this just kind of throws me! Ack!

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent, I will never let anything of this sort ever happen again. Even though it may have been totally innocent it was still really kind of creepy and it really freaked me out that dd picked something. I feel like a crappy crappy mom.blah.

Am I over reacting? Not reacting strongly enough? I might need some help with perspective here...
post #2 of 166
I actually don't think you made a mistake by taking the candy car. I am a very paranoid mama, and would also have talked with my ds about it if we had been in this situation. But I see it this way: If the guy was some kind of creepy, scary, weirdo, then taking the candy bar was the quickest way to get rid of him. And if he wasn't, then no harm done. I probably would have told my ds that he if any stranger ever offers him food/treats/toys/whatever that he tells them that he has to ask his mom or dad. And if they aren't there to be asked, then the answer is no thank you. This sounds very much like what you told your dd.

I think you handled it just fine. I know what you mean about these things happening quickly, and I especially know the fear that you compromised your children for the need to be polite. But I don't think that is necessarily what happened here.

Just to be clear, I would also have found it scary, and would not have let ds eat the candy bar. But just the act of you taking it, after having already told him no several times, I don't think is a big deal.
post #3 of 166
If it was hard for you to say no, think of how much harder it is for kids. How scary doe you!
post #4 of 166
I think you are overreacting a bit. He didn't walk by your house, stop to chat your dd up in the yard, then offer her candy. He was in line at the video store and your dd initiated the conversation by giving him the rock. She was kind in giving him something (well, a rock but still her heart was in the right place) and he felt he'd like to give her something. Nearby is a candy bar display. No harm in that unless you are diabetic. He didn't pull the possibly tainted candy from his coat; it was for sale at your video store.

You say he was young; if he didn't have kids, he may well never have imagined his actions could be upsetting or worrisome to you. He was just trying to be nice.

I think it is sad that we are to the point where we shield our kids from decent people just in case they are the small percentage point who could harm them. You were right nearby; I assume the clerk could see her in line. It doesn't strike me as dangerous or unsavory in any way. I can see where it would happen.

I do understand your "is this ok?" feelings about it; it is something to give a once over to. I just would have come up with a different end feeling I think.

Did you or your dd have a bad feeling about him before he wanted to give her the candy?

I once read that if you need help, it is better to randomly ask someone than wait for someone to offer. Thought being that your chance of choosing the predator is very low. But the predator will be looking for someone in need to "assist". Your dd chose this man to give a rock to. In line at your local video store. Now if you'd seen him driving past your house last week, over and over, or asking the video clerk if they had kiddie porn - I can understand a strong reaction to him speaking to your child. But she initiated it and it seems harmless to me. I think he was just trying to be nice.
post #5 of 166
I also think you are over-reacting a little bit. I would have been mostly weirded out by the fact he pushed the issue so much byfollowing you to the car and continuing to insist you take the candy. He probably was feeling a strong need to return the favor since your daughter did give him something.

Feel better- you did what was best in the situation- you got rid of him by taking the candy.
post #6 of 166
You will not find a more paranoid mother than me. Seriously. But here it is normal for strangers to walk to and give kids stuff. Candy, juice boxes, stuffed animals. No kidding. One of my friends had someone come up to her car and hand her son (18 months old and in his carseat) a piece of candy. People have walked up to my son on the street and given him stuffed animals. We can be checking out at the grocery store and the manager may come over and give the kids candy. When we were visiting the Heritage Village (one of those places that does things the "old" way to show how things were done), my DD was running around (20 months at the time) and suddenly she was GONE! One of the men who ran the place had picked her up and taken her into the office to get a juice box. I about fainted. I was running around frantically searching for her because the village is right on the beach and I had all sorts of horrible thoughts going on in my mind. Two minutes later this man appears carrying DD who is happily sucking down an apple juice. My DS who is 3+ will not take ANYTHING from ANYONE. They have to hand it to me first and then he will take it only from me. He also won't say thank you, but that's a different problem. My DD also will not take something from someone who just walks up to give it to her (with the exception being the apple juice, I guess she was thirsty.) And if any MAN talks to, touches, tries to pick up, looks at, or otherwise pays any attention to my DD at all, my son immediately gets a challenging look on his face and says "You don't touch my BABY!" He will yell for me or his dad at the top of his lungs saying "THAT MAN IS TOUCHING TABARAK!" My DH is very proud of that. And that's not something we taught him, it's just something he did on his own. Interestingly though, he doesn't have the same qualms towards women.

So I guess all that is to say that in the same situation, I would have declined and if he insisted, I would have probably made sure that the candy came through me and explained to DC (for the millionth time) to never, never, ever take anything from anyone without me or Dad okaying it and they should always see us take it from the person directly.
post #7 of 166
I think he was out of line to offer your child candy and to continue to be so persistent after you clearly made your wishes known. You did great
post #8 of 166
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post #9 of 166


Count me in the minority here ... but hey, I'm a minority ... but I would not only have not accepted it, I would have been borderline rude when he came back again and again.

I would have said ... and have had this experience and have said, "No, thank you, I will not accept it and my child will not have it. Do not give anything to my child. Please."

And if he persisted (as has happened), I would have said, "Get away before I call the police."



Sorry. To the OP, once you said no (which you did) and he ignored that (which he did), he overstepped all sorts of boundaries and there is no reason to be polite.






Then again, I read the OP quickly, maybe it was less boundary-crossing than I took it to be.
And glad that you got a teaching moment out of it.
post #10 of 166
Wow, yea, I think that you overreacted, and I hope that you don't pass that paranioa onto your DD. There is a time and a place to be scared, but this, from your description, was not the time and place.
post #11 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPJJJ
Wow, yea, I think that you overreacted, and I hope that you don't pass that paranioa onto your DD. There is a time and a place to be scared, but this, from your description, was not the time and place.
I agree. I wouldn't have had a problem with it, but it seems just about everywhere we go DS is given candy etc.
post #12 of 166
i think it was just his way of being nice. People are still nice now a days ... its just that we have become this paranoid soceity because media has made us this way. I mean i know bad things happen to kids alot now a days but it has for a long long time. It is just now they have a way to report it to people. SO i am not really in the "it is more dangerous now a days" mode as much as we just here it more than our parents did when we were little.

The only thing i think was wrong was that the man came to your car to give it to you after you said no. Would you have said no if he paid for your movies or asked her to pick out a movie? i sorda look at this as a RAK on this mans behalf. I would have taken it in the store and if i didnt want her to have it maybe talk to her about how its candy and not healthy so lets go pick out a healthy snack or a small toy in exchange (and pay for it myself) ..
post #13 of 166
Ya know, I'm thinking if this happened with my DS and I reacted similarly he would be pretty confused. I mean, I felt it was OK for him to walk around a bit and talk with strangers and offer them a gift and then I get upset when it is reciprocated. I know he'd wonder why it was OK for him to approach and offer someone that doesn't know him something but not when it is reversed.

I think the video store is such a controlled environment and you were right there that getting a bit freaked out at a mutual exchange with me right there would upset my DS. He's very sensitive and would wonder why I felt he wasn't safe with me right there. But he picks up on very subtle undercurrents.
post #14 of 166
That would not have freaked me out. I think he was just reacting to how sweet your dd was. Sadly, people just aren't used to other people being randomly nice anymore, and he probably was just moved by her kindness. It's kind of ingrained in us that we have to return a kindness in some way, it's really hard for a lot of people to just accept it. He may have felt obligated to return her gift of a rock with a gift of his own. It's also kind of customary for people to refuse a gift profusely before accepting it an then offer a gift in return (think eating out with friends and one offers to pay, "Please, let me!" "Oh, no, I couldn't!" "But I insist!" "Okay, but I'll pay for the next lunch then!")
And then, he promised her a candy and may have felt obligated to keep his promise to her.
In another situation it could be totally inappropriate and freaky, some dude sitting on a bench at a kiddie park handing out candy or something.
post #15 of 166
I think that you overreacted also. If he had tried to hide the fact that he gave it to her, and said "Don't tell your momma" or something like that, then I would understand.

Maybe this guy was just flattered that your daughter was kind and polite enough to give a gift to a complete stranger. You should be overridden with pride that you are raising such a kind, and caring child, rather then worry that this guy was a loony or something. After all, don't kids get candy from strangers on Halloween?

If you were really worried about it, you couldn't have looked it over, and made sure that it wasn't "contaiminated" or something like that. I really think that he was just trying to reward her for doing a nice thing. After all, there still are kind, honest and decent people in the world.
post #16 of 166
I don't blame you for being concerned and upset that he was so persistent in making you accept the candy. I had a similar experience when we were on an elevator and an older man offered my 3 year old some candy. There was no escape, so I let her accept it, but when we got off the elevator I explained that we don't take candy from strangers and we threw it away together. I was surprised and annoyed that a man of that age didn't realize that most parents wouldn't appreciate a complete stranger giving candy to their kids.

I can't help but wonder what caused that young man to be so persistent. I just don't get a vibe that he was sinister or strange or anything. The thought occurs to me that he really loves kids, maybe he is a bit lonely .... maybe, heaven forbid, he lost a child recently.
post #17 of 166
It wouldn't have freaked me out. I've had people buy candy for DD before, and it doesn't bug me.

But it's your call to make, and I get why something like that could be upsetting.
post #18 of 166
Quote:
Pagan_princess wrote: After all, don't kids get candy from strangers on Halloween?
I've seen this argument used before in this context, and to me, it just doesn't play. Halloween is a very different situation because the parent is in control of who they allow their children to solicit candy from. And, yes, they are soliciting the candy, it is not being offered out of the blue and catching the parent off-guard. Parents who do not want their children accepting candy from strangers most likely choose not to participate in trick or treating. It's a completely different situation and not comparable to what the OP is describing.
post #19 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonconformnmom
I've seen this argument used before in this context, and to me, it just doesn't play. Halloween is a very different situation because the parent is in control of who they allow their children to solicit candy from. And, yes, they are soliciting the candy, it is not being offered out of the blue and catching the parent off-guard. Parents who do not want their children accepting candy from strangers most likely choose not to participate in trick or treating. It's a completely different situation and not comparable to what the OP is describing.
But the DD picked the candy bar that he gave to her, he didnt just dig it out of his pocket. The mother knew the source and watched the DD pick it off the shelves, so this instance was even safer than trick or treating.
post #20 of 166
Quote:
But the DD picked the candy bar that he gave to her, he didnt just dig it out of his pocket. The mother knew the source and watched the DD pick it off the shelves, so this instance was even safer than trick or treating.
Did the mother of the child in the OP go to the video store expecting, wanting, knowing that her child would receive candy from a stranger?

Was the parent in control of who provided the candy and how or when it was offered? (When we trick or treat, we make sure we go only to safe neighborhoods where we know the people who live there. We also make sure we go only after the kids have had a full, healthful meal so they won't fill up on candy before eating with the family.)
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