Mom says she doesn’t teach ‘stranger danger’ to her kids

Parenting involves making thousands of decisions about your children and the way in which you raise them. Some of those decisions may be viewed as controversial, so we keep them to ourselves. 

Except for moms like Marcie Whalen, also known as the ‘The Unconventional Mom’, who doesn’t shy away from sharing her sometimes unpopular opinions online. For example, some of her posts are about why you should marry young, why having kids isn’t expensive and why your home needs to be beautiful.

Unconventional, yes. Dangerous? Not really.

It wasn’t until she shared her latest TikTok video that the topic of safety came up. The mom of five (yes, five!) daughters recently shared a video titled, “Why to not teach stranger danger.”

The video, which now has 609.9k views, 105.2k likes and nearly 1000 comments, is accompanied by hashtags including #parentingwisdom and #gentleparenting.

The mom starts off the video saying, “Here’s why Dean and I don’t teach our girls about strangers or stranger danger.”

Marcie Whalen.
Marcie Whalen, also known as the ‘The Unconventional Mom,’ doesn’t shy away from sharing her sometimes unpopular opinions online.
Instagram/Marcie Whalen

She continues, “And while that can be healthy and I understand where it’s coming from, parents are trying to protect their kids, keep them safe… but most people are good people and we want our girls to be outgoing and have conversations with people and to, in general, be hospitable to those around them. And so instead of talking about strangers, we talk about strange behavior.”

“Because the thing is, children are most often abused or hurt by people they know, whether it’s a close family member or acquaintance, it’s very rarely a stranger. And so, I want my kids to understand what strange behaviour is.”

She then goes on to explain some strange behavior she would want her kids to look out for, such as someone asking you to keep a secret or go somewhere without their mom and dad. 

She continues,  “My girls understand what to look for, whether it’s in somebody they know really well or somebody they don’t know at all, it’s categorized as strange behavior and therefore the red flags go up.”

“Anybody can have strange behavior, whether we know them or not and when that starts to happen, they’re immediately to come to us.”

“Don’t talk to strangers” has been the rule parents have taught their kids for generations. And while you might think that this mom’s approach to it would cause some backlash, most people were actually really impressed.

One user commented, “This makes a lot of sense cause there may be a time they need a stranger’s help but they also need to know how to stay safe.”

“As someone who was [sexually assaulted] as a child by a family member, this is something I always tell my friends with kids to teach their kids!!” another wrote.

Other supportive comments included, “Changing the way I do things. I like this” and “Great way to position this! Thanks for sharing!”

One user echoed many other people’s sentiment,”You had me concerned in the first half BUT this absolutely makes perfect sense.”

“As a child therapist, this is amazing,” another added. 

One person said, “THIS!! We’ve created a generation of people with no people skills because we were told not to talk to strangers.”

Marcie Whalen.
“Instead of talking about strangers, we talk about strange behavior,” Marcie Whalen explains.
TikTok/Marcie Whalen

“As someone whose mother traumatized her by an extreme form of stranger danger, thank you for this. I’m still afraid of people at 25,” another person wrote.

One commenter provided an alternative opinion, saying, “All valid points however stranger danger must also be addressed. Strangers will act nice until it’s too late.”

Another shared, “I don’t know about the ‘most people are good people.’ I want to believe it but been proven wrong too many times.”

Another concerned person wrote, “Reporting behavior is only helpful when it is not immediate. What are their actions if it is immediate danger, like being grabbed?”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/09/mom-says-she-doesnt-teach-stranger-danger-to-her-kids/