25 answers

What Happened to Don't Take Candy from Strangers

I have Tuesdays off work and I usually run errands with both my daughters. Out last stop of the morning was the grocery store. My younger one was starting to get cranky and it was a little past lunchtime so I tried to make it quick. As I was walking to the checkout line she started to cry and I couldn't get her to stop. Come to find out that she had started to run a fever and probably felt bad. I didn't realize this until I picked her up to put her in her carseat. I had left her in the shopping cart seat while I checked out and paid. While I was paying an older woman came up behind me and nodded to my daughter. I thought she was just wanting to try and keep her entertained while I finished and it wasn't like my kids were more than a foot away from me but at the same time I turned to talk to her the cashier asked me a questions. Juggling 3 things at once I almost missed the fact that she was handling my daughter a stick of gum! I gasped, almost in voluntarily, and abruptly interrupted the action and told her "No Thanks" Not entirely sweetly but not flat out rude. She glared at me and stalked off.

Later on I spoke with my daughter's at length about this and told them that the candy was probably okay but you never take it from someone you don't know. They were okay with this but I still can't get over the situation. I have always been told to never take candy from strangers so in turn I never try to give out candy (unless it's Halloween). She also knew I was busy and she never verbally asked me. What would you have done in the same situation? I'm at a loss. I know it was probably innocent but still concerns me.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I've had similar situations in the past, but in addition to the "Thank you, but no" I always add that "I've taught my daughters not to take candy from strangers and I wouldn't be setting a good example by breaking that rule."

That way I take the "OMG how dare you offer candy to my kid!!!!" offense and put the onus on me even though the other person shouldn't have offered my kid candy. I'm proud of my girls, though... a couple of different times (once from another customer and once from a cashier) before I had a chance to say it myself my daughters said, "Thank you but we can't take candy from strangers. You're nice but you're still a stranger."

4 moms found this helpful

I would have done the same thing. I'll bet my bottom dollar this woman is the type that crosses boundaries all the time. I bet she drops by her daughter-in-law's place unannounced. :D

But, seriously, you did the right thing - don't give it another thought.

3 moms found this helpful

WOW!!! HOLY SMOKES BATMAN!!!

I've had people ASK ME FIRST before they give my kids candy or gum...I think you handled it right...

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

That JUST happened to me the other day at Target! My 3 yr old was crying because he didn't want to use the public potty (do you blame him?) and this lady just came up and WITHOUT asking me offered him a tootsie pop! I said kindly, "No, thank you", but she handed it to him anyway! Then, she looked at my 4 yr old and said, "You want one, too?" My son took it, he said thank you, and we left. As soon as we got out of the bathroom, I told them that they are not eating the suckers and that we need to have a little talk.

We got to the car and immediately had the "stranger talk" about not taking things from people that we do not know. They were amazingly okay with it, although I know my 4 yr old understands more than my 3 yr old about strangers.

Probably innocent, but no way am I going to let my children eat something from a total stranger in the Target bathroom!!

I agree, it was very rude for her not to ask your permission first.

6 moms found this helpful

I would have said "no thanks" as well. I believe in asking before offering food, and even then, I only offer it to children of parents I know well-- and I still ask first.

What she did was something one of my relatives--- who is having more and more 'senior moments'-- would do. Brain not firing on all cylinders. Well-intentioned, but certainly out of the realm of what's acceptable these days.

Now, though, it seems less about "not taking candy" and more along the lines of "If someone tells you they lost their puppy and need your help to find it, do not go with them."

5 moms found this helpful

I've had similar situations in the past, but in addition to the "Thank you, but no" I always add that "I've taught my daughters not to take candy from strangers and I wouldn't be setting a good example by breaking that rule."

That way I take the "OMG how dare you offer candy to my kid!!!!" offense and put the onus on me even though the other person shouldn't have offered my kid candy. I'm proud of my girls, though... a couple of different times (once from another customer and once from a cashier) before I had a chance to say it myself my daughters said, "Thank you but we can't take candy from strangers. You're nice but you're still a stranger."

4 moms found this helpful

The lady probably meant no harm but was out of line without asking your permission. When my son was in the cart, he was in FRONT of me as I was paying the clerk. At that time they didn't have the little seat belts in the cart and my boy was quick and liked to TRY to stand up in the cart.

I see many young parents turn their heads for a second and their children are trying to escape the cart.

So my advice is to ALWAYS have the cart in front and close to you and keep that seat belt buckled!

Blessings...

4 moms found this helpful

I would have done the same thing. I'll bet my bottom dollar this woman is the type that crosses boundaries all the time. I bet she drops by her daughter-in-law's place unannounced. :D

But, seriously, you did the right thing - don't give it another thought.

3 moms found this helpful

Ok, this lady was just trying to be nice and help you out. It's quite possible in the past she had children who behaved that way and she wanted to pay it forward. For me, the sticking point would have been that I dont let my kid have gum.

My daughter is always talking to strangers at stores. A stranger is jut a friend you haven't met yet. No predator is going to come up to your child like that while you are there. the idea of not taking candy from a stranger isnt because of poisoning, it's because of the idea of a pedophile offering candy for sexual favors.

Don't teach your child to live in fear. It makes everyone unhappy, child and mama.

2 moms found this helpful

I definitely teach my children not to take candy (or anything) from a stranger without mom/dad's permission. Not only was that inappropriate, but I would have done the same as you. Also, you never k ow what a parent allows their kids to have. Mine aren't allowed to have gum at a, not even my four year old. Other parents might not allow hard candies, their child might be diabetic, have allergies, etc. The woman was out of place.

2 moms found this helpful

WOW!!! HOLY SMOKES BATMAN!!!

I've had people ASK ME FIRST before they give my kids candy or gum...I think you handled it right...

2 moms found this helpful

What a nightmare! Now days, you never know! I would have been livid. She could have been a lunatic for all you know. It's not like people today don't know that it's widely understood you don't offer candy to children that aren't your own.

The woman was probably off balance. You did the right thing. No need to second guess that one!

2 moms found this helpful

First let me say I am SHOCKED at all the responses saying that it was Ok, and that you over reacted.
Folks, just because you are standing by your child doesn't make the "off limits" to pedophiles and crazies. There are some pretty sick people out there that actually stalk their victims and plan out their strategies. Most attacks on children happen with someone they KNOW : a crossing guard, mail person, neighbor, even the neighborhood policeman. My point is that when it comes to your children you need to be aware of everything and everyone that is coming into contact with them.
Teaching them "Not to talk to strangers," "Do not take candy from strangers." These are all just steps to teaching them to be aware of their surroundings. As adults it is ok for us to think "A stranger is just a friend we haven't met." we have enough worldly experience to determine good from bad behaviors in other adults. For children, their minds are still developing and forming ideas. They have not learned to make those distinctions yet. OMG, they are KIDS NOT little adults. As parents our job is to protect them.

No, you did NOT over react in any way. If anything that woman should have apologized to YOU. Especially if it was a harmless gesture.

2 moms found this helpful

My rule always includes "unless Mom says it's okay." But, since she didn't ask you, just offered, still falls under that rule.
Chances are she was just trying to help. But a grown-up should know better, and ask parents first. Aside from the idea of teaching kids to be cautious of strangers, there are other issues, like allergies (my husband is allergic to mint, if my kid started chewing mint gum in the car with him we could end up with a side trip to the ER), diabetes (candy more than gum), and just plain that the parent doesn't want to give a kid chocolate or whatever.
I think you were in your rights! But it might be good next time (now that you've thought about it in advance) to politely say "No thanks," or something.

2 moms found this helpful

My son has a severe peanut allergy and the mailman gives out candy and gum. My husband had to speak to him because not only are we trying to get him to understand not to take candy from strangers but not to eat anything that we don't give him. The other day our kids were in the backyard(fenced) and my husband and I were making lunch. The kids were told to stay in the backyard(we can see them out the window) Next thing I know they run in with a stick of gum . They were so excited that it didn't have peanuts in it . The mailman gave it to them so obviously they left the backyard to get it. It took alot of explaining to them why it was wrong and that they couldn't have it even if it didn't have peanuts in it. Lots of tears too . Some people don't get it . You did the right thing .

1 mom found this helpful

The woman was trying to be nice because you were having a stressful moment.

Sure, she should have asked you if it was ok but I see it as an innocent old lady feeling bad for a mom struggling with a cranky child because she's probably been there and done that.

I would not go overboard on the instilling fear into your children. Do you really want them living day to day in fear of the unknown?

1 mom found this helpful

I would have asked if it was okay for her to have it before offering it to her.

You never know if a child has a health condition that might be set off by an ingredient, if there are religious restrictions on certain foods, or if the parent just plain doesn't want the kid to have it.

I taught my daughter that if someone offered her anything, to tell them, "You'll have to ask my mom if it's ok."

1 mom found this helpful

God do I hate this day in age, sucks that nice people can't just be *nice*

just remember that when it comes to gum/candy kids forget easily & will probably need to be reminded several more times down the road

1 mom found this helpful

The incident serves as a lesson for you and your kids, it brought up the opportunity for you to have the "dont take candy from strangers talk" that you wouldnt have had if the incident didnt occur.
The lady should have asked you first, but was probably just trying to be helpful and didnt realize she was crossing a line. It will happen again.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, she should have asked you.

No, there's never been a case in the U.S. of a person giving poisoned or tampered with candy to a child. None. Not one. Ever. Look it up.

I hate gum and I really hate the way gum chewers think it's okay for every child in the world to have it. I dislike parents that give their children gum and then bring them to my house. Yuck. I would have been rude like you were probably. That is to say, I would try not to be. But my feelings would be loud and clear.

You did the right thing. She and people like her are the reason for the saying. She probably was OK but then again, you don't know the motives of a stranger.

I would have dome the same thing.

I really think you need to take a step back and look at this as the random, one in a million situation that it really is. An old woman 'thought' that she could help you out by giving your daughter something to comfort her. Not everyone is as savvy as we are about how you deal with children....she is probably old-school and doesn't really know any better. In her day this was probably accepted practice. I have never once had this happen to me with my kids as I am sure that most people haven't. I really don't think this is as wide scale of a 'problem' that you are looking at it as.

You know, I think the old 'don't take candy from strangers' thing was less about poison, and more about being aware of the ways that predators gain children's trust and lure them away. When I was a child I was sure it was about poison, but I've changed my mind. The lady should have asked you, especially with gum. Also, who knows what allergies or conditions any particular child may have. It was always difficult for my sister when at their annual Santa photo Santa would give my little niece a bag of sweets which she couldn't possibly eat because of her juvenile diabetes.

Probably ok and just a case of an older lady who loves kids trying to comfort them and help you out by distracting them. I could totally see my aunt and mom doing this. They go nuts around babies and lose their mind. However, I have an 8 mo old DD and if even the sweetest lady tried to give her a sucker i would have done the same thing! Don't worry about it.

I see both sides. She most likely was trying to help you out by giving your kid a diversion. She should have asked but she didn't. Your mama bear instinct kicked in and stopped her--she got offended and went to lick her wounds. You did what was right for you and your kids. I know its horrible that you cant trust strangers in this day and age-but you can't! You did the best thing and that was to intercept it. She was wrong--you were completely right! I would have done the same thing--I would have also told her that while I appreciate the gesture, I am teaching my kids about strangers and it is absolutely NOT ok for her to come and give my child ANYTHING. She didn't ask me and it was completely inappropriate. As far as talking to your kids--you will have to do this over and over again, but keep doing it-it is worth it to keep them safe. GL

M

Yes, she should have asked you first. She probably meant well but you never know. I have allowed my kids a piece of candy when it was offered in a store I shop at regularly. But not gum. My 5 year old has had gum a few times and it is always a mess. My 2 year is just too young for it. My husband hates gum so we rarely have it around but I loved it as a kid.

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