The Lone Adult

Last week I popped to a local shopping area near me to buy a coat for Emma. I had Emma in the pushchair and Daniel was walking alongside me, carrying his monkey toy.

As many parents will know, nothing attracts the comments of strangers like young children. The number of times I have people coming to talk to me and the children is amazing.

We were walking along and a man passed us, he saw Daniel and smiled at him, and Daniel held Monkey up for him to take a look at. The man engaged in conversation and asked Daniel about Monkey, and the usual ‘is that your sister?’ question. We talked for maybe 45 seconds or so before he wished me a good day and said goodbye to the children.

We walked on and as we continued past a woman she stopped and said, ‘huh, that was a bit weird wasn’t it, that man you didn’t know stopping and talking to you’.

At first I was surprised. Why is it ‘weird’? My reply to her was, ‘not really, at least not any weirder than a woman who doesn’t know me stopping me and talking to me’.

When did we get to the stage where a man talking to a mum and her two children is weird? I think it would have been weirder had he walked by and ignored the two-year old holding out his toy to show him. Why is it OK for a woman to stop and talk to me?

Yes, there are people with less than decent motives who talk to children. But does that make everyone the same? We live in a society where you can’t take pictures of your own children if there is a risk you might catch another child – I know I often feel bad if I am sneaking a picture at playgroup on my phone of my own children, I’m careful to avoid accidentally capturing another child in the snap.

Earlier in the year this news article appeared in our local press. It was around Legolands policy to not allow entry to over 16s unless they were with a child. Absolute nonsense I feel. Why is this the case?

The ‘lone adult’ ban isn’t unique to Legoland. Take this tourist centre which has a similar ban. Why is a lone adult assumed to be a risk to children?

Yesterday when I was in a local park it struck me, not for the first time, how quiet our public spaces are during the day. Yesterday was a beautiful spring morning. Bright blue sky and lovely fresh air. Yes, it was cold but with a warm coat on it was nice to be out.

I took Daniel and Emma to a small park near us. As we arrived we saw another mum and her daughter leaving. And then no one else. Not a soul for the 40 or so minutes we were there. The park is usually an area where we see lots of dog walkers passing through or people cutting through to the village centre. But no one yesterday. Would I have felt uncomfortable and threatened if I had seen a lone adult walking through? No. I might perhaps have felt uncomfortable if someone was sat taking images of the children and I, or behaving oddly.

Our green spaces are so valuable and they are the preserve of everyone. I don’t ever want to live in a society that labels lone adults as a danger. I want my children to be open and friendly and to not be fearful. Yes, they will be aware of things like ‘stranger danger’ and being safe. But viewing every adult as a threat is not, I believe, a healthy attitude.

Stopping at two
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8 Comments

  1. lucy
    11th March 2015 / 15:00

    It’s so sad that society has come to this 🙁
    Id find it wierd if any male or female was lurking strangely in the park, but it’s no fair that as a female we could sit in the park where kids play and it’s viewed ok. Yet a lone male sat in the park is deemed wierd. 🙁
    As a parent to boys I hate that they r growing up in a world with this messed view

    • 20th March 2015 / 21:53

      I agree, It’s scary stuff that we are putting this view out there that lone men are automatically a danger x

  2. 12th March 2015 / 14:05

    I don’t think it is a healthy attitude to be fearful or cautious of everything single adult encountered, especially a lone adult in a specific place at a specific time.

    Regarding your incident, I find the lady’s reaction weirder than the man’s – is that just me?

    It is sad what society has become… And how judgemental we can be regarding certain people.

    Really interesting post!
    🙂

    • 20th March 2015 / 21:52

      thank you for taking time to comment. Yes, I did think the woman was the weirder comment too!!

  3. Joanna @mumbalance
    12th March 2015 / 22:47

    Thanks for highlighting your post to me! I completely agree. The media attention to the dangerous ‘lone adult’ (the elephant in the room is that it’s a man) is making everyone uneasy. I agree, I don’t want my children to grow up scared of people and be suspicious about everyone.

    • 20th March 2015 / 21:51

      It’s mad isn’t it. So sad that we are making our children fear other people. x

  4. 29th March 2015 / 08:45

    This is really sad. I never think twice when someone chats to me and my girl. I never knew that about Legoland either. What next? #sundaystars

  5. 2nd April 2015 / 22:43

    How weird that she felt the need to say that to you! I’ve always brought mine up to be kind and polite to everyone, of course they are aware of getting too close to cars if people stop to ask directions and are totally in the know about stranger danger etc. But why make them scared of everyone when they are more likely to come to harm from someone they already know/are related to! Thanks for linkin up with #SundayStars xxx

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