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My 4 year old daughter played with another parent and his son (around 3) at the playground. They started jumping on the dad's thighs as he was sitting on the ground, so the play was physical for a short time. I paid close attention when to cut the game short, but it was all innocent. I was also surprised, as I have not seen such openness from my daughter towards an unknown adult previously. At home we discussed with mom that next time I should tell my daughter to play with kids her age. This course seems to be the best way of handling such situations. Is it?

Somewhat related question: Is it allowed to play with unfamiliar child?

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    Can you clarify why you believe it would be a problem for your child to play with the parents of other children? – James Snell Oct 16 '15 at 21:16
  • Because I don't know those other parents even if we play at the same playground. They could be the best parents in the world, or sg else... – giorgio79 Oct 16 '15 at 21:18
  • Without knowing the other parent's (adult's) past, they could be felons, sexual offenders whatever... Or they could be saints as well, but a playground is not the best place to find these out while they play with my child. – giorgio79 Oct 16 '15 at 21:33
  • I realize this question relates to the bigger issue of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_danger, so may be too large of an issue to discuss here... – giorgio79 Oct 16 '15 at 21:48
  • Do you live in a region with high incidence of kidnap/extortion such as south/central Africa? – James Snell Oct 16 '15 at 21:56
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Based on the additional information provided in the comments and to paraphrase the question: You are concerned that an unknown male parent in a public park and with their own child of a similar age might abduct/harm your child from right under your nose while you are watching them play a game that has no inappropriate content whatsoever. All this while presumably there are also other children and parents around.

It is natural to be concerned about the welfare of your child there is a point at which such concerns and worries leave the bounds of rational behaviour and decision making.

From the way you've described the situation and your reaction in comments I have good reason to believe that this may be the case and it is something that you need to seek support, possibly from a professional about learning how to manage. If you don't then there is a genuine consequence that your child will become so risk averse that their ability to get on in later life will be severely affected.

Evidence shows that the majority of the kind of attacks on children you're most concerned about come from people well known to the victim and their family (Nearly 72% according to one study of cases in 2006/7) - precisely the people you've known for years who you feel you can trust. Such incidents take place quietly and behind closed doors.

Life is about risk and reward; you need to start working out better ways to weigh up the two. Right now you're so wrapped up in your little princess that you think you can protect her from everything, and that's being a caring parent. There comes a time when being a 'caring parent' means that you will cause long-term developmental issues for your daughter.

Unless there is a specific risk backed up with evidence then you have overreacted massively by trying to teach your child to avoid other children's parents. In the case of a "known" risk (even if you do not know their identity) then steps to mitigate/reduce that are often very different anyway.

  • You didn't have to be so rude. – DanBeale Oct 19 '15 at 0:15
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    @DanBeale - I frequently amend answers based on constructive feedback when you have some. Otherwise if you feel strongly about this post then feel free to take it up in meta. – James Snell Oct 19 '15 at 10:25
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    "Evidence shows that the majority of the kind of attacks on children you're most concerned about come from people well known to the victim and their family" could you perhaps add a/some links referencing this claim? – Maurycy Nov 16 '15 at 21:55
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    @Maurycy - done, apologies for not doing that sooner. – James Snell Mar 14 '16 at 12:07

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