PERVS WITH PEEPS! Children in Constant Danger – Easter Edition

Hi Readers — Here’s a story from this scary, scary Easter season that I’m reprinting in full from NBCPhiladelphia.com, (with some commentary): 

WOMAN TRIES TO GIVE CANDY TO KID: POLICE

Police are on the search for a woman who tried to give candy to a child Friday evening along a quiet residential road. [HOW DARE SHE?]

A neighbor on Berkshire Road in Erial, N.J. approached the woman after she offered candy to a 7-year-old boy around 6:30 pm., according to Gloucester Township Police. [WHAT A PERVERT! OR…WHAT A NICE LADY. BUT STILL.]

The neighbor told the kid to go home and then approached the woman behind the wheel of a late 1990s Chevrolet Suburban with New Jersey plates. [JERSEY! I SHOULDA KNOWN!]

The driver, a woman in her late 40s, told the neighbor that she meant no harm and was just trying to get rid of leftover candy from a church event, according to police. [A LIKELY STORY. WHAT MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN DOESN’T WANT GOBS OF CANDY SITTING AROUND THE HOUSE?]

The neighbor told police that there was some candy on the passenger seat. [JUST LIKE DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. ONLY LEGAL.]

By the time police arrived the woman in the Suburban was gone. [THOSE SUBURBANS — THE GET-AWAY VEHICLE OF CHOICE.] Police say the vehicle has chrome rims and silver trim around the doors. It also has a large gold-colored Chevy emblem on the rear door. [THAT CERTAIN NARROWS IT DOWN!]

Police want to talk to the woman and hope someone recognizes the car description. [MAYBE 2/3 OF THE COUNTRY?] Anyone with information should contact the Gloucester Township Police at 856-228-4500 or submit an anonymous tip at 856-842-5560 or by texting “GLOTWP” and the tip to 847411. [HURRY!!! CHANCES ARE THIS WOMAN IS STILL OUT THERE, MAYBE ON HER WAY TO BOOK CLUB OR BRUNCH WITH FRIENDS! HOW CAN FOLKS ENJOY A “HAPPY EASTER” KNOWING THIS WOMAN IS ON THE LOOSE?]

 Watch out for the middle-aged chick!

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95 Responses to PERVS WITH PEEPS! Children in Constant Danger – Easter Edition

  1. Mike in Virginia March 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I wonder what law she broke. I mean, police usually look for suspects who have broken some law, otherwise, detaining and questioning them might be a violation of constitutional rights. . . or something. But what do I know?

  2. Warren March 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I urge everyone here to call the above number, and politely question the police.

    Ask them why they are seeking this woman, and what their intentions for her are.

  3. Joel Dockery March 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    It’s so much easier and safer to go after the nice lady in the Suburban than real criminals. Also more glamorous to hunt down potential “child predators” than shoplifters or bad check writers.

  4. Bridget March 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I am just not sure how I feel about this one. If I had leftover candy from church my first thought would NOT be driving around looking for a random kid to give it to. However, perhaps she was driving home, saw a kid, and thought hey I’ll give him the candy. I just cannot make up my mind about this one.

  5. John C March 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Sounds like she was that witch in the forest from Hansel and Gretel. I’ll bet she really wanted to toss the kids in the oven and gobble them up. This would be the first thought to run through any responsible person’s mind. I don’t blame the police. We’ve had a rash of child-eating witch incidents here in NJ.

  6. Donna March 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    This woman has done nothing wrong. Last time I checked the law books, talking to children and even offering them things is not a crime.

  7. SKL March 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Giving extra candy to a kid on the street? Dang, how come I never thought of that?

  8. SKL March 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I like the way they implied that the woman did the wrong thing by not waiting for the police to come!

  9. SKL March 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    And Lenore, your comments were awesome, perhaps because they are so obvious to anyone with open eyes. “All units be on the lookout for a Suburban with a Chevy logo on the back!” Ha ha.

  10. Donna March 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    @Bridget – It doesn’t matter why she offered a child candy. She has committed no crime. Offering a child candy is not a crime. We can’t prosecute people for pre-crime even if we are 100% convinced that a crime is going to occur. We can send them on their way in hopes of avoiding a crime, but we can’t hunt down and arrest people who we think maybe, possibly were going to commit a crime on Friday evening but were thwarted.

    And what is the point? Why are we wasting resources on hunting her down? They can’t arrest her. It is highly unlikely that she will admit “yes, I wanted to kidnap that child.” And even if she did, what can they do about it? Offering candy to a kid who refused it and walked away doesn’t seem like a “substantial step” towards a kidnapping. She likely didn’t agree with another to kidnap so there is no conspiracy. She simply hasn’t broken a single law.

  11. SKL March 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Donna, the only thing I can think of is that they would like to look up this person’s background and see if she has any possible connections to past foul play involving kids.

    Personally I think it’s inappropriate to give another person’s kid a bag of candy without at least getting the parent’s permission. If it happened to my kid, it would bug me on several levels. The crime aspect would be in the back of my mind just because frankly, perverts plied me with goodies as a kid, and I know that’s not unusual at all. But mostly it’s a matter of interfering in a parent’s role. I agree that is usually not a crime. It’s just extremely annoying. (And if it was a young child with allergies, it would be more than just annoying.)

    Aside from the obvious annoyance, my first thought if my kid came home with mysteriously-obtained candy would be that she stole it. “Some lady on the street gave it to me” would be a pretty hard sell. But maybe that’s because my kid is recently emerging from a klepto phase.

    What I do with excess candy is donate it to an organization that deals with children.

  12. Donna March 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    @SKL – And if she does have past connections? Again, unless there is something that they can arrest her for in relation to that (an outstanding warrant, a probation condition to never talk to a child again), she has still done absolutely nothing illegal. She could have been convicted of child molestation 10 times in the past and THIS still isn’t a crime.

  13. Donna March 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    As for the bag of candy interfering with the parental role, if you send your children out into the world without you, there is going to be some occasional “interfering.” Such is life. We can’t argue that we want a warm, nurturing world and expect nobody to step on our toes occasionally. If you need 100% control over your kids 100% of the time, it is best that you be a helicopter parent (and I do think this is behind some helicopter parenting).

    As for allergies, if you are allowing your child with allergies to free range and haven’t taught them how to deal with those allergies, you are an idiot.

  14. Donald March 31, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Let’s pass a law that it’s illegal to be nice to people. Lets promote and feed the fear hysteria. That way we could do a better job at destroying America than bin Laden could ever do.

  15. SKL March 31, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Donna, no, the answer is not to be a helicopter parent. Yes, it’s an acceptable risk to send our kids out into a world where someone might give them a ridiculous amount of candy. But it would be nice if other adults would be considerate of the parental role, or at least put themselves in our place for five seconds. I mean, she didn’t want the candy in her house, so the answer is to dump it on some other household that would probably be better off without it as well? Personally I don’t view that as “being nice.”

    As for “what could they do if she has a connection,” well, they could look more closely at her past activities and maybe watch her more closely if it seemed warranted. For example, what if someone at her same address has a record for kidnapping and messing with kids. Then they might investigate her as a possible accomplice.

    The other thing is that I think the cops had to tell the media that they were “on the case” because that is what people want to hear. If they said “yeah, we don’t investigate mere offers of candy,” they might have been in the hot seat. I mean, obviously someone thought this was worth an investigation or there would not have been a news story.

  16. Emily March 31, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Actually, Donna, I think people who need 100% control over their kids, 100% of the time, ARE helicopter parents.

  17. SKL March 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Donna: “She could have been convicted of child molestation 10 times in the past and THIS still isn’t a crime.” Well, maybe, but isn’t it likely that if she had that kind of history, she would be restricted from approaching children?

    Not saying that there’s any likelihood of such a history. I think it’s much more likely that this was truly a lady who wanted to dump her candy without actually throwing it in the garbage. I also tend to doubt that the police are actually looking for her, as opposed to just trying to appease the media/community. I was just offering a suggestion for what they could possibly investigate since offering candy is generally not a crime.

  18. SKL March 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Preferring that my kid is not given quantities of candy by strangers as she walks down the street =/= needing 100% control of my kids 100% of the time.

    Presumably most people would not do that and I’m glad. I am not in the camp that says we need more strangers to give candy to children.

  19. SKL March 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    I guess we should be glad that the article isn’t criticizing the boy’s mother for letting him walk down the street.

  20. Donna March 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Regardless of what I think about kids and candy, when my daughter is given candy or other food by strangers – and it happens regularly in A. Samoa – it doesn’t “bug me on many levels” and make me feel that they are interfering with my parenting. It is simply life in the big wide world where many people think that it is nice to offer treats to children. Just because you don’t think it is nice doesn’t mean that all the other people in the world have to think the same way. Sending your kids into the world without you means that they are going to meet people who have a different definition of “nice” than you.

    And, yes, it is a form of excessive control. God forbid your child eat a piece of candy that you didn’t authorize (I’m really not sure how “some candy” on the seat became “a ridiculous amount” of candy). As you said, this is not common practice (at least not in the US; it absolutely IS in other cultures). If bags of candy were being shoved into childrens’ hands every time they walked down the street, I’d may become annoyed. A random person here and there who thinks that it is nice to offer kids candy is just simply not something to get knickers in a twist about in my opinion.

    From my years reading this blog, it is abundantly clear that there are many here who want their children to interact with the world but only on their own terms. There is little tolerance for other people’s way of doing things. It is no wonder that people don’t really want to interact with other people’s children any more to me. Even if it is completely innocent, they run the risk of doing it “wrong.” If I have to second guess and over analyze every single natural inclination I have, I’d just prefer you keep your kids with you and away from me, thanks.

    “Well, maybe, but isn’t it likely that if she had that kind of history, she would be restricted from approaching children?”

    No. She would be prevented from being within a certain distance of parks, schools, etc. She could be prevented from residing with children and working with children. I’ve NEVER had a client whose terms of probation for any offense involved never approaching a child ever. That is way too hard to define.

  21. Donna March 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    And it is not my natural inclination to give candy to strange children from my vehicle. But I may very well offer strange children candy if I happen to have some while I am at the playground with my child. Just like my child has been offered candy, chips, ice cream, etc at various times when we have been at the playground.

  22. SKL March 31, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    The way I read the story, the woman had a lot of candy to get rid of and tried to offload it on a 7yo boy. “Trying to get rid of leftover candy from a church event.” That sounds like more than most parents would want their 7yo kid to be given. I guess I could be wrong about the quantity, but that’s how it read to me.

    Yes, candy is one of my pet peeves and I don’t apologize for it. Of course I always say “thank you” if someone gives my kid a little bit (even though they are better off without it). But too many people overdo it too often. I think it’s because there aren’t as many kids around to spoil as there were when these folks (usually my age and older) were growing up. Used to be a given quantity of candy had to be shared among a lot more kids.

    And then there are those adults who are in positions of authority over my kids, and are told NOT to give them candy/sugar, but repeatedly do so anyway. And then complain to me when my sugar-sensitive kid reacts to the sugar (exactly the way I have warned them she would). And punish her by keeping her in from recess etc. No wonder sugar is a sticky subject for me.

  23. SKL March 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    “From my years reading this blog, it is abundantly clear that there are many here who want their children to interact with the world but only on their own terms. There is little tolerance for other people’s way of doing things. It is no wonder that people don’t really want to interact with other people’s children any more to me. Even if it is completely innocent, they run the risk of doing it “wrong.” If I have to second guess and over analyze every single natural inclination I have, I’d just prefer you keep your kids with you and away from me, thanks. ”

    Well, perhaps there is room for some middle ground here. The little boy in this story was 7. In my opinion that is young enough that most adults should assume the parents should be involved in deciding things like whether they should have a pile of candy – especially when you know nothing about the kid, i.e., does he have special needs, allergies, has he had dinner yet, etc. My reaction would be different if we were talking about an older kid.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you put yourself in the shoes of the child’s parent when deciding how to interact with him. If that is too much strain on your brain, I don’t understand why. There are plenty of ways to be “nice” which most sane humans would not find threatening. A smile and a kind word go a long way.

    There is no need to feed a young child whom you don’t even know. That said, I’ve had times when kids were hanging around me as I fed my kids. Below a certain age, I would ask their parent if they could partake. Above a certain age, I’d ask if they were allowed and if they were not allergic. Depending on their answer I would share or not share (or ask their parent). I would never go up to a random lone 7yo and offer him something to eat (and neither would you).

    And by the way, I’ve noticed that you don’t always like the way other parents interact with your kid, either. Griping about it on FRK does not mean that you’re going to be nasty to that person in real life, I assume.

  24. Emily March 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    I don’t think this woman did anything wrong, but when I was a kid, “don’t take candy from strangers” was one of the first “standard” pieces of safety advice I remember hearing from parents and teachers, and I was born in 1984.

  25. Maggie March 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    What in the world are the police going to do if they find her?

    They can’t arrest her, she has broken no laws and she hasn’t endangered anyone. Therefore, any questioning by the police would be harassment, pure and simple. And why should anyone be in favor of police searching for and questioning people who have done nothing illegal?

    It’s no different than the police pulling you over for no other reason other than you are of a certain racial or ethnic background, or you have tattoos, or you are a woman.

    People should not be supporting police state tactics.

  26. SKL March 31, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Emily, it was the same when I was born in the 1960s, and probably long before that.

  27. Captain America March 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Such nonsense! Who DOESN’T have a ton of Easter Candy they want to get rid of?

    At any rate, decades ago my grandfather was sometimes call the Candy Man, since he’d have lifesavers or some other candy in his pocket and he’d offer it to neighborhood kids.

    When he died, I cried like you would not believe. What a man.

    At any rate, giving neighborhood kids candy was probably a fun thing for him, seeing kids happy was probably a very nice and very human change of pace from his work.

  28. lollipoplover March 31, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    We all know Easter candy is a gateway drug to other more serious crimes like…stopping and asking a kid for directions?!

    As a woman in her 40’s who does not want leftover candy in my house, I sympathize. No, I would probably dump it at a food pantry or my husband’s work instead. But to light pitchforks to look for this poor candy-giving woman like she did something *wrong* and report it in the news to help with the witch hunt is just absolutely insane.

  29. TaraK March 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    In our area two men in a red minivan were seen talking to kids. They’re being hunted down. Doubt anything will come of it, but also doubt that there will be any retraction if they do find the men and it turns out they were simply asking for directions or something equally benign.

  30. Emily March 31, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    @SKL–I remember one time, my first or second year at Bishop’s, when I was travelling home for Christmas, or Reading Week, or something, on the Greyhound bus. Anyway, the bus got delayed because of snow, and a woman on the bus started offering around some peanut brittle that she’d bought as part of a fundraiser for her son’s school band. Most of us gratefully accepted, and I made a joke about “taking candy from a stranger,” and we all had a good laugh about it.

  31. Jim P. March 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    I’m a child of the 50’s and one of the earliest lessons I recall being taught was never to take candy from strangers, especially strangers in a car.

    I’m very much on the Free Range side as a rule but one does wonder if the woman’s story is what she claims it is.

    Driving around looking for kids to give candy to has always been a bit suspect, even a few generations ago.

    I’m retired out of working in Intelligence type law enforcement and her story makes me twitch a bit…left over candy from a kid’s (presumably) event at a church doesn’t ring true since you could simply give it to the kids there.

    I don’t see child molesters on every corner but I’d definitely like to see if her story checks out as it just doesn’t quite pass the sniff test..

  32. bmj2k March 31, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    I don’t know. While I agree the woman did not commit a crime, I have to wonder about that woman’s lack of judgement. In this day and age, no matter how well-meaning you are, in an age where kids are taught not to take candy from strangers, why would you be a stranger trying to give kids candy?

  33. Warren March 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    @SKL

    How is it you know how much candy she was offering?

    @Jim P

    How did “on her way home from church” become driving around looking for kids?

    And yes there is always leftovers from kids events, that you do not give out to the kids there, because it is not enough to give everyone some. Standard rule, if you don’t have enough for all, then don’t give it out.

    Besides this was probably the same redheaded lady, from Quebec, that offered kids a ride, when it was cold? She is not nice she is a psychopath.

    And I hate to tell all of you that suspect this lady even a little, you are not as free of fear as you like to think you are.
    This lady tried to be nice, it would not enter her mind that she was doing what the sexual predators do to lure kids. So now we are not only on the look out for perverts and predators, but the people with innocent thoughts, intentions and souls.
    God help us all.

  34. SKL March 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Warren, I addressed the quantity question in one of my posts. Of course I do not know but that’s how I interpreted the information given.

    I don’t think most folks here think this lady is a predator, just that she lacked good judgment. I would not hold her action up as an ideal of community, FRK or not.

  35. C.J. March 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Offering candy to child isn’t a crime but it probably isn’t the smartest thing to do either. Kids have been told for decades not to take candy from strangers. I know I was when I was a kid. That safety advice actually saved my sister from being kidnapped when she nine. It happened in 1989. Two men offered her candy when she was on her way home from the store. She said no thank you. They tried again asking her to approach their car offering goodies. She got scared and started to run. One of the men got out of the car and started to chase her. She ran to the gas station that was two buildings away and man chasing ran back to the car and they drove away. Kids shouldn’t be afraid of all strangers but to me it just seems like common sense to not offer candy to strange children considering it is common advise to tell kids not to take candy from strangers. I don’t think it is bad advice either. Stranger abductions are rare but they do occasionally happen and offering candy to a child to gain their trust has been used to kidnap children in the past. It doesn’t sound like that lady was really a threat but she probably should have found some neighbourhood kids that she knows to give the candy to or maybe drop it off at a youth centre.

  36. Sherri March 31, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Sounds like a random act of kindness to me…

  37. CrazyCatLady March 31, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Thank goodness this happened in PA. If it was in LA, I would be worried for my life driving around in my Suburban, after what happened to the two women delivering newspapers when the cop killer was on the loose. Hate to think what they would do to me in my much older Suburan that also isn’t the same color. Oh, and yes, I live in WA, but the way they were going there with the shooter, I would still stay home.

  38. CrazyCatLady March 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    All my kid had to do to get offered tons of candy by strangers was to go to school. I don’t know what it was about the teachers, but for some reason they felt the only motivator for a child was candy. And my daughter came home with some every day, including the first day when the teacher WAS a stranger. (And she got stranger as the year went on, but that is another story!)

  39. Doug March 31, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    When I was about 8, we had a discussion in class about what to do if a stranger offered us candy. Every kid in the class seemed to agree that you would quickly run the other way and find an adult and report it. Some of the kids spoke of people in limousines stopping next to them to offer them candy, rides, etc. Others talked about temporary tattoos laced with LSD. Years later I found out that some of these were debunked as urban myths, and others were probably flat out made up by kids in class who wanted attention.

  40. bmommyx2 April 1, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    LOL, thanks for the laugh. I once had an older lady approach my son & I and ask if she could give him some bubbles. It caught me off guard as unusually, but I said OK & thanked her. I have friends who I know would have run the other way.

  41. hineata April 1, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    Love it, Lenore! Wish I’d found a kid to give my Easter eggs too, before I gave in and ate them myself, LOL! My own kids got plenty of their own….

    Wonder if this woman was a foreigner/new immigrant of some type, because with the level of hysteria America seems to have achieved over the last few decades (although, of course, I’m only judging through the media, and stories here), it does seem like an odd thing for an American woman to do. Us foreign types, anything goes….:-)

    If this child had been in SE Asia, the woman would probably have leapt out of the car and taken a photo with him….he’s lucky he only got offered candy!

  42. Hels April 1, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    I don’t think I would have accepted such an offer as a kid – or offered candy as an adult. It reminds me, though, how I was waiting for a table at the Disney World and bought some candy in the meantime. When the buzzer went off, I forgot the candy on the bench where I was sitting… when I remembered it some 5-10 minutes later, it was gone. I can only hope that it went to make some child very happy rather than go into a trash can, a pound of assorted candy…

  43. Donna April 1, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    SKL –

    I can’t put myself in your shoes if you are a stranger because I don’t know your shoes. Some people appreciate the niceness of a candy offering. Some people don’t. I’m suppose to know which one you are if you are complete stranger, how? Or is your stance that I should never offer anyone anything because there will always be some people who will not appreciate it (and apparently can’t just say no, thank you)? This is simply not a world I want to live in – a world where nobody does anything nice for anyone ever because there is always going to be someone who doesn’t want that nicety.

    Most of my interactions with strange children – all strangers in fact – are spur if the moment, spontaneous interactions. I’m not going to sit around and extensively ponder the pros and cons and try to read minds and fret about my decisions before I act. I’m just going to do what feels right in the moment. And that will probably be to encourage my candy-eating child to offer some to friends that she is playing with.

    To me there is a huge difference between a person that I’ve told not give my child candy giving my child candy and a random stranger who has no reason whatsoever to know that I don’t want my child to have candy giving her candy. The former is underminding my authority as a parent. The second is just trying to be nice. Getting worked up over someone trying to be nice, even if not something I would do, just seems pointless.

    The times I’ve been annoyed at anyone’s interactions with my child have always been situations where they knew, or should have known, that I didn’t want the interaction. Usually it involved someone watching me refuse to do something for my child and then taking it upon herself to do it anyway. Or a busybody interfering with something I allowed my child to do. Random acts of niceness rarely bother me even if they complicate my life in some way.

    If I don’t want my child eating candy, it is my job to tell her never to accept candy and her responsibility to not accept candy. If she eats candy, it is her I am upset with, not the candy-giver. Expecting others to read my mind about candy is just ridiculous.

  44. Lisa April 1, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    How is this any different from a stranger offering a kid a ride: probably innocent, but possibly not. I want my kid to be both smart and polite. These are both problems that can be solved with simple instructions given directly from parent to their own kids. Parents who don’t want their kids to accept candy from a stranger, or accept a ride, or accept candy from *anyone* for that matter, can simply tell their kids that the way to respond in such situations is “no, thank you”. Nobody force-fed the child. It was an offer, and a child who isn’t allowed to partake would decline. No harm done. Would people really be annoyed that someone *offered* something that you didn’t want your kid to have? If a coworker offers you a piece of cake when you’re dieting, at you annoyed, or appreciative of the offer even if you don’t want it?
    Let’s remember, too, that this was not a young child. This was a 7 year old, out on his own because his parents presumably know and trust his ability to use good judgement. A very young child might need a parent to help with this offer – but in that case, I would assume that the parent was nearby, and the woman probably would have said “would your child like some candy” rather than offering it directly to the kid. If not, the parent would be able to thank her and remind the child of their family’s rules about candy. Again, no harm done.
    I’m not saying that kids accepting candy from strangers is a *good* idea, only that we can politely decline and in general follow reasonable precautions without automatically assuming the worst and criminalizing someone without evidence that they did anything wrong.

  45. Jennifer April 1, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    I would not allow my child to take any food from a stranger on the street, not because it might be poisoned but just because you have no idea where it came from . That being said, I would not call the cops either. I would just politely decline.
    Although, we were at a hotel over the weekend and yesterday morning when we went down to breakfast there were plastic eggs strew about the lobby for kids to find. I did not think twice about allowing my daughter to grab one and eat the chocolate candy that was inside. And now that i think about it, really not all that different from a lady handing it to her on the street. But since it was in a hotel…
    Hmmmm, something to think about.

  46. marie April 1, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    If my 7-y-o came home and said a stranger offered her candy and my child said, “No thank you, ” that would have been the end of the story.

    If I came upon a woman offering children candy from her Suburban, I WOULD NOT CALL THE POLICE. Of all the crazy ideas! The neighbor who called the cops is the really weird part of this story. What the heck was she thinking?

    Oh, never mind, I KNOW what she was thinking. Some people get a charge out of imagining the worst. Some people like the idea of telling the story about the time she saved some kid from a pervert, even if she made it all up.

    Maybe we should have a registry for nosy neighbors. That information would be more useful than knowing where the sex offenders live. Nosy neighbors who call the cops when their imaginations go into overdrive…those people are to be avoided.

  47. SKL April 1, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Donna, you seem to be in a mood. How is it any different for you to decide my kid ought to have some candy which I didn’t provide, vs. for another parent to decide your kid ought to have some help you didn’t provide? It’s the same thing. Up to a point, we tolerate it, but it is still annoying. And all I said was that it’s annoying. I never said it was criminal or mean. That said, giving a kid a piece of candy (especially in a group situation where your own kid is having some) is different from going up to a random kid and giving him all the church leftovers.

    And I personally think 7yo is fairly young. Most US 7yos are in 1st grade right now. I’m sure some of them have the ability to make good decisions, but I’m also sure that many have not been raised to do so. I don’t expect my own 1st graders to refuse candy if offered. I do expect them to ask my permission before they eat it. They are pretty free-range by US standards, but my eldest has serious issues with sugar. She craves it excessively, and eating it makes her behave like a drunk. She has been known to sneak it too many times. No, a stranger would not know that, which is why a stranger should not be offering my kid a pile of candy.

    What is so hard about just asking yourself “would I want someone doing this with my child / would the average parent be OK with it” before acting? I do this all the time. It doesn’t give me a headache or stop me from being nice to kids. Maybe I’m not as “nice” as you are, but I can live with that.

  48. SKL April 1, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    About the lady who called the cops. Isn’t it sad that we can’t trust people to have actual instincts any more? Maybe she got a genuine bad feeling from the woman during their interaction, and maybe there was a reason for that. Or maybe she is just a loon like that lady who called the cops over an innocent maintenance guy standing in a parking lot. I honestly don’t know which is more likely. However, this makes me a little nervous because it is so important to have instincts to keep ourselves and our kids safe.

  49. SKL April 1, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    I should clarify that when I say “I don’t expect my 6yos to refuse candy when offered” I did not mean in a situation like this where some stranger drove up in a vehicle and offered it. I’m talking about everyday situations such as a church lady or grandfatherly type neighbor offering it out in the open.

  50. lollipoplover April 1, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    @SKL- “Maybe she got a genuine bad feeling from the woman during their interaction, and maybe there was a reason for that.”
    Sadly, ANY encounter with a stranger can trigger an *instinct* in an overprotective parent and EASTER CANDY turns into candy apples with razor blades and potential child snatching. How she got this reported in the news is astounding!
    I’m much more concerned with speeders in my neighborhood than a woman who actually admitted to what she was doing instead of racing away without an explanation. But they are looking for her…

    Strangers with candy.
    The world is coming to an end.

  51. marie April 1, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    With a handle like ‘lolipoplover’, it seems clear that you are biased in favor of certain criminal activities…like offering candy to strangers, hmm? :-)

  52. Warren April 1, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Well I did call the cops and spoke with a nice lady constable. She had to look up the report, because it wasn’t staring her in the face.

    She told me

    1. The mother of the child phoned it in.
    2. They are treating it as an attempt to lure.
    3. These things have to be investigated, in these days you just never know.

    That from the police, at the number provided.

  53. Warren April 1, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Honestly, the deciding factor, for me about the intentions of the lady………………the fact that when the neighbor intervened she didn`t just bolt. She actually tried to explain to the neighbor.

    I know still not proof, but a good sign on her part. The natural instinct for a perv or predator, would be to rabbit at the first sign of detection. Not sit there and wait for a neighbor to approach her.

    Not being there when the police showed up, is not a sign of guilt. This lady did not even know the police had been called, as it was the mother, inside a house that called.

    But still let`s get the rope, a horse, and find that tall oak tree. YEEEHAWW we ain`t had us a good lynchin` in a coon`s age.

  54. SKL April 1, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Good point, Marie! 😛

  55. Captain America April 1, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    If it was my 7 year-old, I’d be glad for the real-world chance for interaction. Wouldn’t matter to me if he took it or said no.

    I doubt there are really that many Candy-Poisoners around. Very few Willie Wonkas out there.

  56. Captain America April 1, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Oh, SKL, you’ve a right to your own parenting and opinion. I support you in that.

  57. Papilio April 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    April 1st, 2013 – Congratulations Lenore, on your first lustrum as America’s Worst Mom! :-)

  58. pentamom April 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    “About the lady who called the cops. Isn’t it sad that we can’t trust people to have actual instincts any more? Maybe she got a genuine bad feeling from the woman during their interaction, and maybe there was a reason for that.”

    Her instinct to call the cops was wrong because THERE WAS NO CRIME. If she had an instinct not to trust the woman, or to warn people that something untoward might be up, that could possibly be right. But how can you trust someone’s instinct to call the cops where there was no actual crime? That’s what the cops are for. How can one trust that a person might have been acting off a legitimate instinct to do something that was absolutely wrong?

  59. pentamom April 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    “How is it any different for you to decide my kid ought to have some candy which I didn’t provide, vs. for another parent to decide your kid ought to have some help you didn’t provide?”

    You missed the distinction she was making. The distinction was between the help that Donna (in the example) clearly refused to provide, as opposed to candy that she might have been perfectly happy to allow — no one could know because “Donna” was not in present at this time.

    In Donna’s example, she was present, and demonstrated that she thought her child shouldn’t have help with something. In the candy scenario, she’s not present, so the person offering the candy is not clearly violating what she has observed Donna didn’t want her child to have.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that anything I would tolerate my child having, I would haven given to him myself before sending him out into the world. It IS reasonable to assume that something I saw Donna refuse to give her child, is something Donna does not want her child to have.

  60. Puzzled April 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I don’t know why so many bits are being spilled about how to divine what the parents want in interacting with a child. Isn’t this philosophy about the fact that you (as a parent) are not always in charge, and don’t always get what you want – that you let your children make decisions, even if they aren’t the decisions you’d make, because, well, they are humans and need to practice that skill?

  61. Lisa April 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    i don’t think it’s about “how to divine what the parents want in interacting with a child”. As pentamom said: “In Donna’s example, she was present, and demonstrated that she thought her child shouldn’t have help with something. In the candy scenario, she’s not present, so the person offering the candy is not clearly violating what she has observed Donna didn’t want her child to have.”

    YES, offering a child candy and having him or her need to practice social skills by either accepting or politely declining, based on what the rules are in THEIR family (which the stranger wouldn’t know) is valuable. But I do think it’s incredibly disrespectful to hear parents tell their child “no’ and then step in and offer to do something or give them something.

    i’ve actually experienced that with another mom, who invited my daughter over after school. I called to check the plan (she was 8 at the time) and said that I could pick her up after work, or if that was too late then she could just walk home (which is how she normally got home from school). The mom replied “oh, no, I wouldn’t make her walk! I’ll drive her home.” All within earshot of my child. It very much came across as implying that I was a bad mom for expecting her to get herself home. Happily, my free-range kid was incredibly confused… she was appreciative of the ride, but she asked me later why her friend’s mom made it sound like such a big deal for her to walk home.

  62. delurking April 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Quite a few posts in this thread (and some others) seem not to understand the purpose of a police force. It is reasonable for a police officer to speak to someone who has not committed a crime. Police officers are also members of a community. By the nature of their profession and the authority vested in them by the state, their interactions with others are circumscribed in ways that non-police interactions are not, but that doesn’t make it tyranny if a police officer asks you what you are doing, any more than it is tyranny if some other person asks what you are doing. It only becomes tyranny if the police violate your rights.

  63. Sky April 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Is this an April Fool’s joke? Have none of you free rangers taught your free range kids not to accept candy from a complete stranger who drives up to them in a van? Am I the only fear-mongering free ranger who has suggested my kids be cautious in such situtations? No, I don’t think the cops need to chase her down (and frankly I doubt they are), but all of these posts suggesting it’s totally off the wall to be even a little bit suspicious in such a situtation…really?

  64. AW13 April 1, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    A couple of days ago, I was parking my car when I saw a neighborhood kid (about 12, I’d say) wipe out on his rollerblades on the sidewalk. I immediately stopped what I was doing and asked him if he was ok and if he needed any help (he didn’t). I suppose I was on a slippery slope, though. Thank goodness I didn’t do anything completely untoward, like helping him up.

    Also, hineata makes a very good point: do we know that this woman is an American? As an ESL teacher, I know that my students often come from countries that have a different idea of community and that offering food is something you just do. It’s really not so different from the way things were in America, pre-WW1 (and even more recently than that, depending on the region – my friend’s family was from small town Arkansas, and she told me that you couldn’t set foot in anyone’s house down there without being given food, or sweet tea at the very least – and this would have been in the 1980s).

  65. Josh April 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    I thought this was an April Fools joke. I called the number, and sure enough, they’re looking for the woman.

    May I suggest more people call and express surprise that a capable police force would be choosing to expend resources in such a way?

  66. Donna April 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    “How is it any different for you to decide my kid ought to have some candy which I didn’t provide, vs. for another parent to decide your kid ought to have some help you didn’t provide?”

    I only object when I am right there and have refused to do something for my child or it is someone that I know and I’ve previously asked them not to do X. For example, when I have repeatedly refused to put my child into a swing (when she was little and swing obsessed) and someone, who was standing right there when I refused, picks my child up and puts her into the swing. Or someone who takes my child out of a tree although I am standing right there and clearly not objecting to the climbing. Or when I tell my child “no” after she calls for help and someone decides to help her anyway. All of these have happened in playgrounds and all annoyed me.

    That is a HUGE difference from your stance that any attempt to offer anything to an unaccompanied child is somehow underminding parental authority.

    “I don’t expect my own 1st graders to refuse candy if offered.”

    So everyone should never offer any child in the world candy because you don’t want to expect your 1st grader to refuse candy? I fully expect my 1st grader to do whatever the heck I tell her to do, including refuse candy if so told. Of course, I am sometimes let down in that expectation. But then my beef is with her, not with a person that innocently offered her something that I have told her not to accept.

    “What is so hard about just asking yourself “would I want someone doing this with my child / would the average parent be OK with it” before acting?”

    I never do something for another child that I would object to someone doing for mine. That’s the point. I’m going to guess that, barring a true pedophile trying to lure a child, EVERYONE who offers a child candy would allow their child to take candy in that particular situation. People do not randomly offer things that are opposed to their own views.

    You don’t want people to think about what they would do and do that at all. You want them to divine what YOU would do and are bugged when people (1) think differently about candy than you, and (2) are incapable of reading your mind.

    I agree that offering candy to a strange child from a car is odd and not something I would do or want my child to accept. However, I am willing to allow her to accept candy from strangers in a myriad of other situations. Your statements didn’t limit yourself to the particular situation here and broadly defined yourself as bugged on many levels if ANYONE offers your child candy without your permission, even when you are not around to give your permission and they had no previous knowledge that you are opposed to candy. You simply believe that everyone should feel the same away about candy and not everyone does.

  67. pentamom April 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    delurking, a police officer who notices something like this and acts on it is definitely doing the kind of community policing thing you’re talking about, and that’s all good.

    But calling the police on someone is usually something that is done in response to a crime, not something you do because you think that a person might possibly be doing something that could lead to a crime. there’s a difference between, “Hey, there’s a police officer over there patrolling the neighborhood, I’ll ask him to talk to this lady” and “I’ll call the police and have this incident put on the list of things the police need to respond to RIGHT NOW because it’s as important as responding to an actual crime.”

  68. John April 1, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    Sky, I think the point of Lenore posting this article was not so much that it’s really OK to accept candy from strangers but that the article itself and the police going after this woman like they used to go after the witches in Salem is a blatant over reaction when the woman most likely meant no harm.

  69. SKL April 2, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    Well I think people should draw the line where something is likely to affect a child physically. Like a pile of candy would do for many kids. I think in the US it is reasonable to expect that strangers will not try to feed my young child (outside of an organized feeding event) whether I am there or not. People should have enough sense to know that different kids react differently to different foods. This is common knowledge in the US.

    The idea that I should keep my kid with me until I can be sure she will not agree to anything that might be unhealthy is not a very free range idea. Many kds (myself included) would never have been allowed out at that rate. I let my kids out but I reserve the right to be annoyed by adults who interact with them in an irresponsible way.

  70. Donna April 2, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    ” I think in the US it is reasonable to expect that strangers will not try to feed my young child (outside of an organized feeding event) whether I am there or not.”

    And I, who also lives in the US, don’t think that it is reasonable at all. I don’t think that it is ever reasonable to demand where other people draw lines, outside of criminal activity. I do think that it is reasonable to expect you to teach your children not to take things from people if you don’t want them to have them.

    And I say this as a parent with a child allergic to shellfish. I don’t demand that nobody ever offer her anything. I don’t get upset if someone offers her shrimp because they don’t know she is allergic. I don’t even get annoyed if someone who’s been told that she’s allergic in the past forgets that she is allergic and offers her shrimp. I would, however, get annoyed if someone decided that my child really wasn’t allergic and gave her shellfish purposely. I’d be annoyed even if it did turn out that she had outgrown the allergy.

    I do expect my child to ask if something contains shellfish before she eats anything new that may possibly contain shellfsh. I do expect that my child will ALWAYS say no to shellfsh. I do expect that my child will not just decide to try shellfish for fun. I do put effort into educating my child as to what shellfish is and what she needs to avoid.

    “The idea that I should keep my kid with me until I can be sure she will not agree to anything that might be unhealthy is not a very free range idea.”

    So instead you expect everyone else around you to change their lives to fit what you want for your child. That is not a very free range idea either. Free range is all about world-proofing your child and not child-proofing the world.

    The simple fact is that nobody has to modify himself for your child, except maybe you. You can accept that or you can choose to keep your child with you at all times if you can’t. Or I suppose you can continue to send your child out into the world and PRIVATELY stew over things that are not to your liking if you wish to do that to yourself. But you have no right to insist that other people bend to your wishes.

    “I reserve the right to be annoyed by adults who interact with them in an irresponsible way.”

    And I reserve the right to continue to offer children candy, or whatever, in situations that I deem appropriate. I reserve the right for those situations to be different than what you want.

  71. hineata April 2, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    @Donna – laughed when I read about someone offering a child shellfish, but then remembered you’re currently on an island, so maybe they do….How have you coped this year? Must be lots around….

    My husband has an issue with these as well, but still insists on eating them. I therefore insist that he keeps his insurance cover up to date, and laugh at his red face, itchy mouth and throat etc. Only close to anaphylactic a couple of times, so so far so good, but you would think a 49 year old man would have more sense, wouldn’t you?!

    Good luck with your girl, hope she grows out of it.

  72. pentamom April 2, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    hineata — the scenario of someone offering a kid shellfish at the park is a bit amusingly unlikely, maybe, but imagine she goes to a party and shrimp are being served?

  73. marie April 2, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Like a pile of candy would do for many kids.

    Many kids? I don’t know ANY kids who would react badly to a pile of candy, other than to turn into greedy little monsters. But a physical reaction to sugar? I don’t know of any.

    I do know kids who are allergic to candy ingredients–peanuts, for example. My nephew can’t eat the red M&Ms and he has been avoiding them on his own since he was 18 months or so. If someone offered him a handful of M&Ms or Skittles, he would eat the ones that were not red. His mom taught him what to avoid; she didn’t spend any energy at all teaching ME what to give him or not. If I had a “pile of candy” I wouldn’t offer it to strange children on the street (too risky for me because people call the cops at the strangest times) but I wouldn’t hesitate to offer it to the neighborhood children I know. They can take it or not–and if they do and shouldn’t? That’s for their parents to sort out.

  74. SKL April 2, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Knowing that a lot of parents don’t like their kids being given candy and giving it anyway tells me something about your personality / sense of community.

    Marle, I am talking about various hing s in candy that affect kids. Mine reacts badly to the sugar, others to dyes, nuts, gluten, etc. Young kids are not always mature enough to think of all that before they stuff a goodie in their mouth. Yes I should teach my kid what not to eat, but are you goiing to be so glib when a child has a reaction to your act of “kindness” that puts him in a hospital?

    And Donna I did not know that refraining from giving strange young kids a pile of candy was likely to cramp your lifestyle so much. Gosh, perhaps I should offer compensation to people for having to think of some other way to dispose of unwanted candy.

  75. Warren April 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    @SKL,

    Then I advice you keep you kids out of our neighborhood.
    The kids in this neighbourhood are human trashcans for leftovers, labrats for new recipes, and they still want more.

    We have had numerous kids at and in our place, who we did not know, and did not know us. They were part of the crowd that came with our kid. What do you do with kids, just like with livestock, you water and feed the little buggers.
    Hell our grocery bill almost doubles in the summer, just for the packs of roaming ravenous kids. It can be like Lord Of The Flies when they get hungry and descend on your housee.

  76. lollipoplover April 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    “I agree that offering candy to a strange child from a car is odd and not something I would do or want my child to accept. However, I am willing to allow her to accept candy from strangers in a myriad of other situations.”

    Like Halloween?
    We have an entire day devoted to going door to strange door and accepting candy from strangers.

  77. SKL April 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Of course Halloween is different because if I dressed my young kid up and sent her trick-or-treating, obviously I’ve given permission for the neighbors to give her candy. She brings it home and we donate most of it to a charity.

  78. David April 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Regardless of what anyone thinks, it’s common sense you don’t approach a small child you don’t know in your car and try to give out candy. The police are looking for her because they probably want to check she isn’t a prior offender. (Highly unlikely, but still something they probably want to check out.) And Donna, I’m not sure where you practice law but here in America it’s actually quite common for a condition of probation for a sexual offense with minors to be to have no contact with children.

    “Above and beyond these terms, typical sex offender probation requirements include no contact with any minors under age 18, no attendance at church or involvement in children’s groups without probation officer permission, no visits to places frequented by children, no access to any medium which may cause sexual arousal, attendance and cooperation with all counseling and abiding by any other terms as directed.”

    Obviously if she is not an offender, she did nothing wrong – outside of showing very little common sense.

  79. Warren April 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    For the second time, I have contacted the number given and the police are not be all nice about this. They are treating it as an attempt to lure. Which is bullshit, and giving into the paranoia of the nosey neighbor.

    The question is not whether you would do what this woman did, and frankly who cares what you would do. Any of you, really when it gets down to it, what you would do or not do is not relevent.

    What is relevent is the neighbor after speaking with this lady, and hearing her reasoning, still thought she was going to abduct the kid. Sorry, I know alot of middle age and older women that would be tempted to do this. And if they stayed to talk to me, and explain to me their motive, there would be no way in hell I would be thinking pervert, rapist, molestor, kidnapper or sick freak.

    This is what the story is about. The fact that parents are so freaking paranoid that they see danger, perversion and sick freaks in everything, including a nice lady.

    @SKL
    Sorry but if you are that OCD about candy, teach you kid well. It is not my job to know what you want. If I offer and they accept………..that is good enough for me. You don’t like that, tooo damn bad. Teach your kid better.

  80. Donna April 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    “Knowing that a lot of parents don’t like their kids being given candy and giving it anyway tells me something about your personality / sense of community.”

    SKL – I don’t know that a lot of parents don’t like their children being given candy. I “know” one person – YOU – who doesn’t like their children to ever be given candy. Everyone else that I know is perfectly fine with their children eating candy occasionally.

    “And Donna I did not know that refraining from giving strange young kids a pile of candy was likely to cramp your lifestyle so much.”

    Again with the pile. Clearly any candy is a pile to you. No pile has been mentioned anywhere in this story or thread and yet you continue to insist that we are talking about PILES of candy.

    The times when my child has been offered candy by strangers it was a piece of gum, a single lollipop, a single hard candy, a single Smartie, a little (Halloween size) piece of chocolate. I clearly travel in poorer circles than you if PILES of candy are being handed out to strangers left and right in your ‘hood outside of Halloween. Do you live in Candyland?

  81. Donna April 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    @hineata –

    Shrimp is available at just about every party we attend here. We even went to a kid’s party Saturday with shrimp fu yung. My girl is pretty picky so no issues so far.

    My mother used to do the same thing as your husband. She developed an allergy to all mammal meat 7-8 years ago, but she could not part ways with bacon. She had an anaphylactic response to bacon a couple years back and finally conceded to give it up.

  82. SKL April 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Donna, like I said, the story was about trying to dump surplus candy from a church event on a 7yo boy. Do you really think this was just a lollipop?

  83. SKL April 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    I don’t believe I am the first person you have ever heard of who doesn’t want her kid to be given candy without any parental input or regulation whatsoever. If that is true, either you are not seeing cues from other parents, or you don’t hang out with other parents. Even online this attitude is expressed frequently. Come on.

  84. SKL April 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    And Donna, no, I don’t live in Candyland, I live in Midwest USA. Here, no stranger has ever offered my kid candy without asking me first. It’s the paid caregivers / close relatives who tend to do this and get under my skin. Perhaps because it is not culturally expected of strangers here, this strikes me as being unacceptable. There are other ways to make a child (and his parent) happy.

  85. pentamom April 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    “Donna, like I said, the story was about trying to dump surplus candy from a church event on a 7yo boy. Do you really think this was just a lollipop?”

    Maybe she offered the kid a couple of pieces, and was planning to offer a little bit to a lot of people? We can’t know either way, but I think your assumption (that she was trying to give one child a whole pile of candy) is less reasonable than the other because it is less likely a person would do that.

  86. SKL April 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    Pentamom, I thought of that, but do you really think it is likely that a woman would drive around neighborhoods looking for strange kids all evening until she got rid of all the leftover candy, piece by piece? That would be even more weird IMO. The more I think about it, the more that lady seems to have a screw loose.

  87. Warren April 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    SKL,
    Maybe you should ease off on the coffee as well. What is it with candy? Were you force fed candy as a child, or whipped with licorice? What was it?

    This lady was just at a church event, had some leftover candy, and tried to give some to a kid. She didn’t run from the neighbor, instead she explained to the neighbor.

    But you have her as a nutjob, the police say she was attempting to lure, and so many others want to just hang her now. Before you start judging others, take a look in the mirror.
    And keep you kid away from mine, because mine will want to share their candy, and I don’t want you yelling at my kid for being nice.

  88. SKL April 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Warren, while you accuse me of twisting the story, you enjoy twisting my words and obvious intent.

    None of us knows what this woman was actually thinking. The fact is that some children have been lured into bad situations with candy (by adults). And some people act inappropriately because they have screws loose. And apparently some people are just so socially clueless that they think parents in PA would be happy if more strangers handed out candy from their cars. And I suppose it is possible that some PA parents would be happy for that, though I kind of doubt it.

    If you are as nasty IRL as you sometimes are online, then don’t worry, I wouldn’t send my kids over to your house anyway, and most likely they’d be scared of you.

  89. JulieD April 2, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    LOL

    Just saw this tonight. Hilarious, Lenore! Love it!

    SOMETIMES people are just trying to be nice. Kind of crazy to start down the WHAT IF! path when the behavior was perfectly innocent.

  90. Donna April 3, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    SKL – I currently have surplus candy from a school event in my frig. It amounts to a half of a bag of Reese miniatures that I keep meaning to take to work. Not exactly a pile of candy by any respect. I’m not sure why you insist leftover candy must be copious amounts.

    A reason to give candy to a kid, rather than a middle-aged woman take it home, is the same reason I’m taking this to work (maybe, eventually). Kids imply family, meaning more than one person chowing down on a bag of candy. My kid doesn’t like Reese so if I keep the candy at my house, I will be the sole eater. If I take it to work, I will get some but others will eat some as well.

    Sorry, none of my parent friends/acquaintances complain about their kid being given an occasional piece of candy without checking with them first. Either in the abstract or a particular instance. I spend a great deal of time with parents who run the gambit from ultra-healthy nutritionist to the mom who feeds her kids cookies for breakfast. Some are extremely concerned with providing well-balanced, healthy meals for their children. Others not so much. Some will complain about a particular person serving too much junk food, but none prohibit it all together. And this includes parent friends/acquaintances in both my granola-crunchy hometown in Georgia and A. Samoa (who come from all over the US).

    I don’t doubt that such people exist. You are evidence of that. I don’t believe that they are the societal norm. Maybe in some circles, but not in mine. Nor do I have any interest in them joining my circle. If you are so OCD that I have to call you before I can allow my child to eat a Smartie in her own home (because it would be extremely rude for my child to eat a Smartie without offering one to a friend who was over playing) than you are WAAAAY too high maintenance for us.

  91. Donna April 3, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    Nor have I seen any explanation why candy automatically means “piles” in your mind. You’ve explained why you think it may mean more than a piece or two in this case. But everytime someone mentions candy you equate it to piles. Is there no ability to say “that’s enough” after a piece or two in your world?

    I suppose if I had a friend who fed my kid piles of candy regularly, I might say something to THAT PERSON. But my kid is at other people’s houses without me sometimes 3-4 afternoons a week – occasionally even at houses of people barely known to me with a friend – and I think expecting every one of them to call me everytime someone in the house wants to eat something (because it would be extremely rude to not offer to everyone) is a tad onerous.

  92. SKL April 3, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Donna, I’m not sure where you’re reading that every time someone gives a kid candy it is a “pile.” In this particular case I think it probably was. In most cases it probably is not.

    If my kid were playing at your house, I would have informed you if we had an absolute ban on certain food (e.g. allergies). I would not prohibit you from giving my kid candy. I would assume you had enough sense to not go overboard since our kids are similar in age. For example, I assume you would not lay out a bowl of jelly beans and sit and watch my 40-lb kid eat the entire bowl. If you did, I’d be surprised and annoyed. And next time I would feel the need to tell you not to let my kid have copious amounts of candy, because it hurts her in multiple ways.

    But if I sent my young kid to your house, you’re not a “stranger.” If you are so much a “stranger” that I have not had a chance to talk to you about important things such as my kids’ allergies, you shouldn’t be giving my young kid anything to eat without my permission.

    To find out whether a child is responsible enough to manage his own allergies etc., I’d have a conversation about such things and see how the child talks. But below a certain age, I would not assume the parents have taught the kid to be responsible about goodies they will react badly to. We’ve seen in this thread that even adults give in to temptations when they know they are allergic. I just don’t understand why you need to go there. I wouldn’t bring out the goodies if I wasn’t sure every kid in the house was able to safely eat them.

  93. marie April 3, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I dislike teachers handing out candy.
    I hate the huge amounts that come home from Valentine parties.
    I am appalled at how much candy is handed out on Halloween.
    Santa gives way too much candy and the Easter Bunny overdoes the jellybeans.

    Offering candy (in any amount) to a strange child is still not illegal. It might be odd, it might not be odd. It is not illegal.

  94. Wendy April 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    I gotta say, I’m with SKL. No crime was committed, the woman was probably harmless, but I find it utterly bizarre that someone would drive around looking for kids to give candy to. I am extremely free range, and my rule with my kids is that you can talk to strangers and make friends with people when mom and dad aren’t around, but you can’t go anywhere with them or take candy from them. This seems to be a fairly universal, common-sense rule, so an adult going around looking for strange kids to give candy to, however innocuous it may be, raises a red flag with me.

  95. pentamom April 5, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Sure, it raises a red flags, but you call the cops when there is either a crime that has been committed, or imminent danger of one, not when someone does something that doesn’t feel right and is worrisome.

    You see someone handing out candy to kids that don’t know her from her car — tell the kids to go home, tell the lady she should stop doing that, and maybe knock on some doors in the neighborhood. That’s good. Calling the cops on something that is not illegal and can be discouraged without guys with guns and handcuffs showing up to arrest someone who hasn’t committed any crime — a waste of police resources and a sign of someone who can only think in terms of arresting people who do undesirable things.