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Discussion Starter #1
Let me preface this by saying I'm friendly to kids at parks. I'm always at our neighborhood parks with my two kids... we have two parks within walking distance of our home.<br><br>
Kids are drawn to me. They probably smell other kids on me, lol (I work at a home-based Waldorf preschool). They are always around me, talking to me, telling me stuff, asking me questions, etc.<br><br>
Today there was an 11 1/2 yo. boy who seemed a little bit special needs at our park. Maybe a bit of Asperger's or very slight autism or something. His dad was washing his car, right across the street from where me, my dh and my kids were playing.<br><br>
I told him my name, my kids' names, and my dh's name. He told me his (John Jr.). He pointed to his dad and said, "That's my dad." I said, "Oh, what's his name?" He said, "John, Jr. I'm actually John the third." I yelled out "Hi, John Jr.!" and waved as a friendly gesture to the dad. I jokingly remarked that we were learning all about them. The dad got mad that the kid told me his name. He yelled for his son to come home.<br><br>
I explained quickly that I was joking, that we had just introduced ourselves and I asked what (dad's) name was so I could say hi. (You want to introduce yourself to a kid's parent, right? Esp. if you're talking with them.) He still made his son come home and he made him play in the back yard. He wasn't allowed back over to the park while we were there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I was shocked. I'm a really friendly person; I always joke around and talk with parents and I'm a regular fixture around the neighborhood parks with my kids. We're outside all the time... everyone around here pretty much knows where we live. It's not like we're strangers or anything.<br><br>
My dh totally understood where the dad was coming from. He said I am way too friendly and shouldn't talk to kids about anything specific AT ALL. A simple "hi" and nothing else, because some parents are really paranoid.<br><br>
I feel bad now for being so friendly with everybody.<br><br>
Was I out of line? Should I not talk with the neighborhood kids anymore?
 

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I doubt he's really in trouble. Seems more like the dad's trying to reinforce the "don't talk to strangers" rule, and like it or not, you're a stranger.
 

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I wouldn't worry about it. You have no way of knowing what the father was thinking. Perhaps he worries about his son being too vulnerable, gullible or naive and worries about his safety? Maybe he felt his son was bothering you or that you were bothering him. This has nothing to do with you.<br><br>
I think it's great to be friendly especially to other kids at the park. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I'm always calling my kids away from other parents / people in the park. It has nothing to do with my worry for my kids (I'm right there, no one is going to be able to harm them). It has everything to do with the fact that I don't want them to be bothering other people. So I wouldn't take it personally.
 

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I doubt he was in trouble, too. I agree with the pps who have said it is more of reinforcing that you don't talk to strangers and/or making sure he wasn't bothering you. You mentioned that this kid might be on the spectrum, well if he is that is even more reason for his dad to be protective (or 'over-protective' in some eyes) because he may not understand what is or is not okay to say (or disclose) or do.
 

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Maybe he was just rattled to hear a stranger using his name? I know I would be.<br><br>
I am a very private person. I am from NY, and lived there for the majority of my life. I grew up protecting my personal space, and not invading anyone elses'. I do not make eye contact with strangers, generally, and I do not ask for personal information. Its not that I am unfriendly... but I AM standoffish. Anyway, it is just the culture in NY.<br><br>
Now I live in Portland OR, and its really weird for me. People are not so protective of their space, and it makes me uncomfortable. I don't think I will ever really adjust to it, but I can deal with it for the most part.<br><br>
SO.... what I'm getting at, is that maybe this guy grew up with a more private culture. Maybe it made him uncomfortable to hear a stranger use his name, when he didn't offer it. Maybe its common in his family to not give out personal information, but his son has a hard time grasping that concept. I don't know. It doesn't mean YOU did anything wrong.... he just might be coming from a different perspective.
 

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Here is my perspective, and let me first say that I am a very private person and don’t really enjoy socializing much (working on getting over that though since my son is a social butterfly! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> )<br><br>
If that had happened to me and my son at a park, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it at all. I’d have smiled and waved back. I don’t have a problem with strangers speaking to my son, or even knowing our names. I mean, I use my son’s name all the time to address him so all sorts of strangers will know it! I am just happy when I see adults being friendly with kids, it’s so rare these days!<br><br>
I guess I can understand the stranger danger issue, though I personally don’t buy into it and I don’t think strangers are a huge risk to my child (thanks to protecting the gift!) but some people are still really serious about the not talking to strangers thing. Not your problem.<br><br>
My point is, I personally don't think you that were out of like and I wouldn’t let it deter your from speaking to other kids. Some parents will not mind and some will. It’s their job to keep their kids and themselves in their own comfort zone. I wouldn’t let it stop you from being friendly to kids.
 

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I'm very much the same way! I usually end up running around the playground or being the "monster" chasing the kids around and growling at them. Everyone laughing hysterically, and me getting exhuasted. My son when he was three used to go to the playground and yell, " Hey kids, Collin's here to play, and so is Collin's mom!" I would see the other moms laugh and even seem to appreciate getting a few minutes to themselves. But I have also seen some parents seem very uncomfortable with their kids hanging out with an unknown adult, so I guess it is just a matter of comfort.
 

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I'd have been bothered that you were getting information from my child without me there. I'd be worried what questions you were asking and how much my child was telling you. I would not ask personal questions of a child without his/her parent there.<br>
We tell parents not to put their kids in clothing with their child's name printed on it, so no, I wouldn't want you asking my name or my childs name when I wasn't there to assess the situation.<br>
For all the dad knew maybe next week you or someone you know would approach his son and tell him to come with you, that his dad, Jack Jr. (cause little Jack is the third) asked you to go pick him up.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kirei</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Now I live in Portland OR, and its really weird for me. People are not so protective of their space, and it makes me uncomfortable. I don't think I will ever really adjust to it, but I can deal with it for the most part.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> That explains it! I was thinking that it was perfectly normal to chat with everyone and that I couldn't see being upset at my kid giving out his/her first name. But then, I grew up in Portland. It all makes sense now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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yeah, it would have freaked me out, esp if he is an aspie. My son is an aspie, and they are just so open, it makes them ver vulnerable. I would call him away to help reinforce the fact that he shouldnt be so open
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Meiri</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I doubt he's really in trouble. Seems more like the dad's trying to reinforce the "don't talk to strangers" rule, and like it or not, you're a stranger.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, I guess I have a hard time understanding where to draw that "don't talk to strangers" line. His dad was right across the street in plain view... which is why I figured it was fine, yk? I would think that if a stranger was fishing for info. from a child, they wouldn't then yell it out to the parent, wave, and introduce themselves.<br><br>
I would feel bad ignoring the kids around here for fear of not respecting what other parents are trying to teach their kids.<br><br>
Last year, this little boy Brian became enamored with our family. He'd ride his bike to the park with us, chat with us about everything... and I mean EVERYTHING. One day he started going on and on about how his REAL dad didn't live with them, that he hadn't seen his real dad in x number of years, then said, "Hey! I've got a picture of him! I'll be right back!" and was off before I could stop him! I was like, whooooaaa no, this isn't gonna look good at all! And his mom looked at me really strangely for a long time after that. I probably should have offered an explanation, but I never did.<br><br>
I'm hoping it's not a race issue. We're one of the only "white" families in our neighborhood, and I hate to think that the children's parents view me as some woman taking advantage of white priviledge. Ya know, thinking I'm fishing for info. about their families so I could "save" them or something. I know, seems <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wild.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wild"> but if I were in their shoes, I'd wonder if she thought she was better than me or something.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>luvmy3boys</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I doubt he was in trouble, too. I agree with the pps who have said it is more of reinforcing that you don't talk to strangers and/or making sure he wasn't bothering you. You mentioned that this kid might be on the spectrum, well if he is that is even more reason for his dad to be protective (or 'over-protective' in some eyes) because he may not understand what is or is not okay to say (or disclose) or do.</div>
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Yeah.<br><br>
The dad might also have been worried his son was bothering you. My ds is on the spectrum and sometimes he goes on and on forever to people we don't even know and I am always on him to stop bugging people. Not only because he doesn't understand boundries and staying away from strangers but because I don't want him pestering people.
 
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