Tricky People

Stranger Danger is no more, if you hadn’t heard. Now it is Tricky People. I have been teaching my kids about Tricky People since they could walk, to trust their feelings about people and to run from people who ask them for help with finding lost pets. Just this week I learned the new term of Tricky People, and we started using it at the last Family Meeting a week ago, when we went over common tactics that adults use to lure children (there were some reported incidents this year and last year in the area). Just to refresh their memories.

Tonight the neighbor kid, who is fourteen, invited himself into our house when I was not home, but corralling up the bikes outside. He had struck up a conversation with my children, first through the screen door and then in the house in my absence. When I came in he was talking video games with the kids and though I stayed in the house cleaning up from dinner, I did not kick him out. I didn’t know what it was all about and I thought I would give him the benefit of the doubt.

After he left and I began cleaning up the video game figures my son informed me that he had been looking at our modem.

I spent the next hour reconnecting everything after changing our wifi password and then I had to talk to the children about how our neighbor is a Tricky People and cannot come into our house. I also had to forbid my children from talking with him, which was sad. I explained that our Tricky neighbor was not really interested in playing video games with them. Their eyes got very big at the thought that someone had deceived them. I told them I was sorry to have to explain it, that some people do things like this. I told them that I would talk to Tricky Neighbor Kid’s mother and that they were not to mention it, and my Middle Son was very proud of himself a half hour later when he walked by Tricky Neighbor Kid and said nothing at all.

Earlier today Middle Son freely admitted he got into a bit of trouble at school on Friday. He had been previously withholding the information, or trying to hide it, so I thanked him for his honesty and gave him a big hug. He has a reward coming at the end of the week if he can have five good days in a row. I think with his new meds he can manage it. I hope we have just started a new era of truth, I hope he learns he has nothing to fear from being honest.

So we have been talking a lot today about honesty and motives. I gave my son a reward for his “security tip”, as he was the one who caught Tricky Neighbor Kid looking at the modem and mentioned it to me. Tricky Neighbor Kid had come to the door a few months ago and asked if he could use my wifi. No, I told him. He argued, and I said no again and blah blah liability. So this is a kid who doesn’t take no for an answer. Very Tricky.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Tricky People

  1. I love this term! “Stranger danger” has always seemed so problematic to me. It hardly requires being a “stranger” to take advantage of someone, as your story makes amply clear! Nor are strangers the people most likely to hurt us the worst. Unfortunately.

    But watching out for people being “tricky”? What a fantastic way to focus children’s attention to what people are doing (yayy!! for Middle Son, btw) and on how other people are making them feel. I am SO HAPPY to have learned this today — thank you!

  2. Tricky People is a good term and covers much more than Stranger Danger did! I think it must be harder than anything for kids to understand that a kid, not much older than them, can be a Tricky Person. When it was Stranger Danger and I was a kid, I probably would have automatically trusted anyone under the age of 21!

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