That First Play Date

What do you do when that first dreaded request comes? Mommy can I go and play at so-and-so’s house?

Prepare yourself, this one is serious! I cannot conjure up any humorous emotions towards this topic.

We’ve always said no until they went to primary school. You can’t quite have the other parents think you suspect them of all being paedophiles for the rest of your kids’ school career!!!

So here’s what we did….

We first invited the kids to our children’s birthday parties and invited the parents and other siblings along. Thereafter we started migrating towards those parents at the school events. The first play date was where mommy stayed there to allow them to play and only then did I allow them to stay unsupervised.

It may sound extreme but nobody can be certain! Bad people don’t look like criminals and aren’t limited to dodgy suburbs!

The first play date was at a little girl’s house where I got to know the parents pretty well before she went. Even though I was entirely comfortable that my child was safe, I was itching to phone, SMS or just drive over to see what was happening. It was becoming increasingly clear that I was the one suffering from separation anxiety.

My daughter has since slept over at her friend many times and vice versa. I have not increased her list of sleepover friends as yet though. I have friends of mine with kids where I do allow them to go but I’ve known the parents since primary school.

I’ve taught both my kids that they must tell me everything and may never feel uncomfortable in a situation. There are no secrets between parents and children, no matter who tells them that and whenever they do not like a situation that they are in with an adult or older child, they may scream, kick, bite, slap and do whatever it takes to defend themselves. Also run to another adult.

I recently saw a disturbing clip on Facebook that had me think again whether my kids truly understand the dangers. It was of a man conducting an experiment at a playground. He asked a number of moms whether they taught their kids not to speak to strangers. All of the mothers emphatically stated that their kids will not engage with strangers. After getting permission from the parents to approach their children, he walked up to them individually with a puppy in his hands. He showed them the pup and allowed them to play with it. After that, he told them he had the rest of the litter at home and invited them to come and see them. All of the children approached by him were willing to leave with him!

Needless to say, I was shocked and immediately told my kids about this danger. I’m still not convinced though that they wouldn’t go along if the person looked friendly. We tell our kids to be friendly towards others and respect older people but in the same vain they have to protect themselves. It is so sad that we have to live in a society where our kids aren’t safe.

For those of you who were not expecting a downer blog, I promise to step up the tone in future blog articles. I just needed to get this one off my chest!

 

Rather safe than sorry!

 

 

 

 

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