26 Feb 2015

The Big Bad Wolf

Remember Little Red Riding Hood? I always thought that she was rather *ahem* a little bit silly and naïve to have fallen for the Wolf’s porky pies and that her and Gradma should have been a little more street-wise and they wouldn’t have been eaten in the first place.

But here’s the thing:  Little Red Riding Hood reminds me of Becky, and quite a few of her friends, actually. Kind, curious, open-minded, chatty and friendly, Becky, like most of her peers, has that innocence and naivety that defines children and makes them the wonderful and unique little things that they are.  

But with this innocence and purity comes danger, too. For we live in a world, where, unfortunately, we have to take some of that naivety away, and educate our children about the bad things out there, about the dangers they could be facing. The real life Big, Bad Wolf, if you will.  

Over the last year or so, as Becky has grown into a confident and outgoing little person, I have often wondered how we can teach her to be wary of strangers and the dangers out there without destroying this precious and indeed so delightful innocence and uncorrupted curiosity in life and the world.

How can I protect my gorgeous little girl from nasty people who mean her harm?

It’s a real challenge. I love the fact that Becky is how she is; that she is confident in approaching people. That she is chatty and friendly and kind and open-minded and curious and all those things. And I hate that we live in times when we can’t just celebrate these characteristics in a child and nurture them. But unfortunately we can’t.

For as much as I love that she is a confident little person who isn’t scared of people, one day it could be the wrong person she encounters, the one with the bad intentions, and then what?

We therefore speak to Becky regularly about “stranger danger” and try to instil a degree of caution and suspicion into her, while trying not to spoil that endearing trust she has in the world. We have read books that explain that there are nasty people out there and regularly point out examples of situations that she needs to be careful in. And she knows not to speak to people that she doesn’t know and only when Mummy and Daddy are there. She knows all that.

But out there, in the real world? I will always worry about the Big Bad Wolf.  And this worry will stay with me forever.
*Picture credit: Dreamstime


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