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Adults to wary to help little girls?

(45 Posts)
Aka Tue 25-Mar-14 16:36:39

Channel 5 tonight 6.30 pm Little Girl Lost.

Two young girls (7 and 5) were ignored by passers bye for over and hour in a busy shopping centre when they took it in turns to pretend to be lost as part of an experiment.

It took a grandmother to stop and ask if help was needed.

Soutra Wed 26-Mar-14 09:35:16

This sort of "experiment" seems to have been designed to prove a point with just a dash of scaremongering. We have to allow ourselves to show common sense and not to be swept along by the idea that nobody would lift a finger. Alas I am afraid that the UK is not unique in this folly *GJ

granjura Wed 26-Mar-14 09:38:01

jane, you know what I meant, I'm sure.

If a child has been taught both at home and at school, nevere to speak to or trust an adult they don't know- they are at risk of not asking for help if ever lost, etc. If the fear of the 'stranger' is bigger than the fear of being lost. Children are taught to distrust at school, and even more at home by many of the parents.

And ThatBags, the fear adults have of being accused also puts children in danger. I find it sad- and as said, really do enjoy the interaction I know have with the local children (I lived in the UK for 40 years) here is refreshing and so enjoyable, and all benefit in the process.

granjura Wed 26-Mar-14 09:41:57

Same goes for other risks- taking risks away from children put them at risk... seems strange, but makes sense. Here is an interesting article one of my ex students sent me from the US today:

Are parents' concerns over children's health and well-being making a culture where kids are less creative and more fearful? That's what some research shows.

Take Two host, Alex Cohen talks to Hanna Rosin about her Atlantic Magazine cover story on how overprotection may not be good for kids.


What changed, why and when?

We became preoccupied with safety. Physical safety, emotional happiness. And it’s okay to be concerned about those things, but we became preoccupied with those things, basically to the point that we made all the decisions through that lense. That change happened basically between the 70s through the 90s. That’s when we started to perceive the world as a really dangerous place.

That really comes out in the playground. Can you talk about why an American playground looks the way it does today?

There was a case during the 70s that cost a city a lot of money. It was a very tragic case of a toddler who fell off the top of a slide. After that people started to get nervous. There were writers who called call playgrounds death traps. As a result companies started to homogenize playground equipment. It got a lot more safe and as a result the playground got a bit boring. Kids couldn’t couldn’t do what they needed to do which was feel excited, feel a certain thrill, feel like they were taking a risk and then mastering that risk.

Why is it important for kids to feel danger?

I think that is growing up. Not to say kids should do dangerous things. But they should feel like they’re doing something dangerous and then mastering that thing they are doing. And it’s through that mastery is how they get older. Kids no longer go through those stages at all.

Even though women work a lot more than in the 70s, we are spending more time with our kids. The conventional wisdom says this is because the world is a more dangerous place. Is that true?

No, the world is a different place, but it’s not a more dangerous place. When we tell kids don’t talk to strangers we have in our head these horrible cases of stranger abduction but those cases are not more common now than they were in the 1970s.

We have a sense that the public space is different. There aren’t moms around in the neighborhood; families are different; there’s a lot more divorces so we’ve lost the neighborhood as a knitted community. But that’s a big vague change to get your mind around so we just go to stranger danger.

What should parents be thinking about when we think about protecting our kids?

We shouldn’t go back to the 70s. A lot of people felt neglected in the 70s. I think it’s about reconceiving your role as a parent. Saying, ‘My role as a parent is not to protect my child every second or optimize safety with every decision but to create opportunity for them to experience things’ and that’s how we build character in a child.

How do we get everyone on board and find that common ground?

I’m nostalgic for my own child. I’d like to let my child do these things but all the other parents are going to think I’m nuts. So we have to all turn the ship slowly one by one.

How do we walk the line in keeping our kids safe from danger but teaching them independence and growing in coping skills?

I think you have to worry about safety but not let safety drive your every decision.

whenim64 Wed 26-Mar-14 09:49:24

There's a world being described here I don't recognise. I live on the edge of a large city, but see friendliness and concern around and know those children wouldn't be ignored. The children are taught about telling adults if they are worried, or anyone tries to touch them in a way they don't like or want. Children chat to me and others in the park and the shops. The children I see at my grandsons' school wrap themselves around their teachers for a hug as they come out of school. Children don't see all strangers as potential paedophiles - to ingrain such views in children would be as worrying as not teaching them about the risks around them in the home or crossing the road. These extremes bring described of children living in fear and not interacting healthily with adults are propaganda, not worthy of heeding.

granjura Wed 26-Mar-14 10:10:00

whenim64, I am so happy to read this. I can only talk about my experience, as a mum, a granny and a long-term teacher. I've always totally ignored the rules and never allowed fears to cloud how I react to children- but glad that here I do not have to worry about this any longer. Colleagues in teaching are terrified of helping a child in distress, of any age. And, as said, I am concerned that a child, if they do not find the right profile person (in uniform, etc)- would rather be at real risk than ask for help.

(I lived in the UK for 40 years until recently- I do not write as a 'furiner' from afar).

Aka Wed 26-Mar-14 10:23:31

Remember the OP was about adults ignoring children who appeared lost. If When's large city is different then that's wonderful, but things have changed over the last couple of decades.

I suggest 20+ years ago more (most even?) people would have tried to help a child in that situation.

whenim64 Wed 26-Mar-14 10:25:33

How awful to have terrified teachers who don't feel they can help or appropriately touch children. Safeguarding Children training for anyone who works with children addresses this issue, talks realistically about what is reasonable and 'normal', how the exceptions can be managed where children are in need of additional safeguarding because they are at risk, and why healthy interactions and relationships between children and adults are important.

There's a world of difference between healthy concern from adults and malicious intentions from a relatively tiny number of child abductors and paedophiles. I'm sure the vast majority of us know this in fine detail. But then, I see humans as being mainly good and well-meaning, despite a career spent working with offenders who harm children.

GillT57 Wed 26-Mar-14 10:42:19

There is a media fuelled panic about paedophiles lurking in very corner which is very unhealthy. The statistics show that abduction/murder by stranger is no more prevalent than it was in the so called halcyon days of the 1950s. Remember all those people parading around demonstrating against paedophiles who then smashed up a paediatricians house? The biggest danger to children is within their own family, and controversially I would suggest that this is due to the loosening of family ties, and the casual way that some mothers move men in and out of their children's' lives. Tia Sharpe was assaulted and murdered by a man who was living with her grandmother, but he had previously been living with her mother. As to the original question, yes I would always look out for a child that seemed to be alone, if I was in a shop I would ask a senior staff member to tannoy and stay until the parent turned up.

Nelliemoser Wed 26-Mar-14 11:46:35

Well said GillT57 we need to go on as we used to to look after wandering or lost children, or children who might be about to run into a street etc wherever the parent might be. The more "paranoid" our society gets about this the more a lost or distressed child is at risk.

As others have said make it clear you are worried about a child, tell another adult what you are doing and don't walk away anywhere with that child.

granjura Wed 26-Mar-14 11:47:27

Expats here often complain that Switzerland is 20 years behind- but sometimes I think it is a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I loved my 40 years in the UK and it will always have a huge part in my heart- we go back regularly and have our grand-children and daughters there, family and many good friends. I often say here 'but in England it's so much better, because...' - but of course, my love for England means that I often feel sad to see the NHS and the education system, etc, goind through such a rough ride... In French we have a proverb 'qui aime bien, châtie bien' -'who loves well, chastises well'.

When we first fot here, we just could not believe how primary teachers here behave with the children, picking up a child who is upset and putting him or her on their knee, holding them, stroking their back or hair- we just looked at each other and though ' wow, that just would not happen in the UK now'- and have discussed such with ex colleagues in the UK who agreed. Sad.

Iam64 Wed 26-Mar-14 18:45:49

granjura, it has not been my experience in the UK that teachers fear offering appropriate physical comfort to children. My daughter teaches, as do many of our friends. As a social worker, I often saw children seeking physical affection, or reassurance from their TA or form teacher, or on occasions, the head teacher.

Ana Wed 26-Mar-14 19:16:00

It's not a myth, Iam64. My daughter runs a day nursery and they have been given similar 'guidelines'.

rosesarered Wed 26-Mar-14 21:56:19

I don't care about rules, real or imagined when it comes to children, I would [and do] stop toddlers and young children wandering out of supermarket doors by themselves. Only last week I stopped a 3 year old old heading out of Sainsburys [nobody with him] I bent down and had a little chat 'where's Mummy?' 'she's at work' 'oh, well who is here with you? '
'Granny' I then look all round, and finally see a worried looking woman about 50 years old hurrying towards us 'Is that Granny?' 'yes!' ' Thank goodness you stopped him 'she said.Nobody else had taken the slightest notice, so you see you have to be a bit nosy and be aware, it doesn't matter if your'e not thanked, as long as you make sure they are safe.If you are a man, I can see that you may not want to do this, but a man can turn to the nearest woman and say loudly 'here, that child is on it's own!'

GillT57 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:58:53

Mind you, I did once have a rather nasty incident and here in the village tooshock. On the way to a friend, with my son then aged 3. Saw small girl sitting on pavement, on corner of road with cars driving past her. I asked her where she lived and she pointed to a house quite a bit along the road, so I asked her to come with me and we would take her home. Knocked on door and was told to mind my own f***ing business by her Mother, really charming especially as I had my three year old with me at the time. Still think I did the right thing though, couldn't have forgiven myself if anything had happened to the girl.

whenim64 Wed 26-Mar-14 23:16:00

NUT Guidance for Teachers 2012. Section 41, top of page 7

This para gives examples of appropriate physical contact with children and dispels the myth that teachers can't touch children to comfort, keep safe, put plasters on etc.

thatbags Thu 27-Mar-14 07:02:42

Cub leaders given similar advice, when, several years ago while also being advised about how to protect themselves from tales of inappropriate contact (verbal or physical).

granjura Thu 27-Mar-14 09:54:50

Was having coffee with a friend one day- in the mid 70s- and suddenly we noticed her little one, about 3, was not around... we looked around the house and the garden- then friend noticed the front door was ajar. Total panic- we rushed onto the street (small village) and frantically looking all around, knocking on doors- then a lady arrived with little girl.

She had found her way to the nearby busy A47- just up the road- and she was walking IN THE MIDDLE ON THE WHITE LINE - and cars and lorries were slowing down to avoid her, BUT NO-ONE STOPPED !!!! apart from that lady who parked up on the grassed area to get her. Which I found at the time so incredible- and still can't believe... that people would slow down to avoid her, but not stop (:

thatbags Thu 27-Mar-14 10:49:37

A similar thing happened to one of my little brothers during the 60s (older kids had left the garden gate open). He was on his tricycle. The person who did eventually stop took J to the side of the road and told J to show him where mummy was so my frantic parents found j on his trike on his way home being followed by the car driver. The car driver reckoned no-one else had stopped because they were terrified that if they stopped and another car overtook them (as other cars do in such circumstances), then it would have been more likely, not less, that J would have been hit. I like this positive explanation of people's behaviour better than the "people don't care and won't help" view.

thatbags Thu 27-Mar-14 10:50:12

Driver was walking by then of course.