Tricky People: The New Way to Talk to Your Kid About Stranger Danger

Hi everyone!

Can we be serious for a moment? About once a month on a Facebook mom group I'll come across a post along the lines of "OMG I'm freaking out my kid almost got snatched by a man/woman at the store/playground/parking lot!" Followed by a series of comments including "I'm never going to to Target again!" "I'm never leaving the house again!" I'm never putting my 6 year old down again!" Which feels heartfelt in the moment, but... come on... it's Target, people! I can't quit you.

Since we can't avoid all places with strangers, and we don't know when we'll come into contact with these baby snatchers, the best thing we can do is stay near our kids and teach them the difference between good people and bad people. But when you're four years old, your Creep Meter is still pretty weak. The conventional wisdom has been to have them avoid all strangers, but when they wander off to look at a toy and suddenly Mom is nowhere to be found, what are they supposed to do when they need help and EVERYONE is a stranger?

This scenario is why Pattie Fitzgerald, the founder of the sexual abuse education company Safely Ever After, popularized the (brilliant!) concept of Tricky People. Instead of telling your kids that every stranger is bad news, we teach them to make educated inferences about the intentions of people based on their professions and their behavior. Even the littlest toddler can get on board with this. You start by teaching them the habits of Tricky People, then give them tools so they can discern potentially safe people to seek out if they need help and Mommy and Daddy aren't there.


What Kids Should Know About Tricky People

The problem with "Stranger Danger" is that it teaches kids that strangers are scary, but the type of strangers who look to entice kids don't act scary. They are typically friendly and charming. The difference between Tricky People and and safe strangers is that safe people will ask other adults for help, while Tricky People ask kids for help to do something that an adult should do. Tricky People will try to entice your child to break safety rules, like going somewhere without Mom or Dad or giving away personal information to someone they don't know. 

So, the most important thing to teach little kids is that adults don't ask kids for help. For example, if an adult loses their pet, they ask other adults for help, not kids, because adults can use the phone or talk to police or get in their cars or make signs.

And no adult will tell a kid to keep something a secret from Mom or Dad. And this includes telling a kid not to ask a parent for permission. Kids should know they can't go anywhere or with anyone without asking Mom or Dad first. 

Don't send your kid out in public with their name on their shirt, backpack, or anywhere else it can be seen and used to call them.

So what happens when your kid gets lost somewhere? Fitzgerald recommends they freeze and yell, or find a mom with kids to ask for help. She identifies a mom with kids as the safest stranger (odds are that mom's not yearning for more!). You can also talk to your child about identifying police officers, dads with kids, and store managers. 



What Parents Should Know About Tricky People

When it comes to kidnapping, the above tips are great to keep kids alert and aware. But the sad truth is that your kids are less likely to be kidnapped by a stranger than they are to suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know, like a relative or a coach. The tenets of Tricky People will only get them so far when they are frequently alone with someone your family trusts, like a music teacher. It's up to us parents to be alert to potentially unsafe situations that can arise with the people in our circle. Here's how:

Be alert to gifts or unusual attention from people in your kid's life. If your kid seems to be an instructor's favorite or receives gifts from an adult for seemingly no reason, it could be a sign they are being groomed for abuse. 

People who want to spend alone time with your kid or babysit for free who aren't Grandma and Grandpa should be met with a raised eyebrow. How many other people's kids do you watch for free?

Remember, kids are intuitive. If they don't want to be around a babysitter or relative, pay attention. They may be getting a red flag you aren't aware of. Also, be careful when older kids are playing with younger kids. Keep doors open and an ear out.  

Fitzgerald recommends to keep the conversation positive. Instead of telling kids there are people out there who want to harm them, tell them that anyone who tries to get them to break a family safety rule is a Tricky Person, and they should find someone else to go to right away. Have them memorize family rules and go over a few scenarios so they can practice judging the difference.

I hope this helps! Back to School is a great time to talk to kids about Tricky People, as they'll be building new friendships and relationships with teachers. Let's keep our kids safe (and keep Target off our blacklist!) 

That's it for this week! As always, check our website for events. And if you like what you're reading, help keep the computer screen on by following us on Facebook or Instagram and signing up for our weekly emails at

See you next time!




It's Good To Be a BAD Mom... Join Us!

Hi everyone!

A while back we dove deep into the crazy world of Facebook Mom groups. Now we're back to talk about my favorite: BAD Moms of Westchester! Read on to learn more about this group and how to join us on our wine tour, mommy's night out, or just get loads of support on our no-bitchyness-please message boards. 


But first, did you get your tickets to the annual Muddy Puddles Mess Fest? Read more about it here. And you can get $5 off your tickets with the code BABYGOTCHAT! Click here to registerKids under 2 attend for free!



BAD Moms of Westchester

This group started as a refuge for castoffs who were kicked out of that other Westchester Moms group (and yes, there are that many people who have been kicked out!). BAD Moms is unapologetically ... well ... unapologetic. This is the group where you can post things like "My child is making me crazy" and no one will mom-shame you. What you'll most likely get is "Me too!" followed a bunch of GIFs of people drinking wine.

BAD Moms was started in 2017 by Alessandra Suarez, a Yonkers mom with two toddlers. She felt like so many Facebook groups were run by middle school bully types. There had to be other moms like her and she wanted to find them. She was right—the group has quickly ballooned to more than 5,000 members. Despite its size, it feels more like a group text with your besties. BAD Moms maintains its hundreds of daily posts and comments with little to no drama.

Alessandra loves that there are the OG regulars who help shape the tone of the group, and the newbies who come in and exclaim, "I love this place!" A series of Paul Rudd GIFs will typically follow. This forgiving group won't kick you out unless you get judgey, so save the "I would never!"s for the other mom groups. 

It's been such a hit that there have been several IRL spinoffs. Join us for:


Mommy's Night Out drink nights. These happen whenever a member posts "Let's go out. Who's with me?"



An official BAD Moms Wine & Cider Tour scheduled for October 14 in collaboration with The Little Wine Bus. A busload of lovely ladies will be leaving from Westchester to go to the North Fork of Long Island to experience tastings, nibbles, raffles, grape stomping, light bites. There will be goody bags and a souvenir wine glass! Want in? Email for more info.

The BAD Moms Book Club meets monthly (or whenever the hell we can finish the book) to discuss only the most critically intellectual literary offerings, you know, like Nicholas Sparks!



T-Shirt Posse. Take your BAD self offline and snag some BAD Moms gear. They've got t-shirts for mom, kids, and infants, as well as tank tops, hoodies, and a hat. Show your Westchester mommy love and snatch one up. Click here to order.



Weekly giveaways! Check the page every Wednesday for the chance to win great prizes. Past giveaways have included a sleep training phone session, baby gear, a treatment at the Lice Clinic, teethers and teething jewelry, a free season of Soccer Shots, and a free kid's haircut at Dolce Vida Kids Salon. 

BAD Moms Brunch organized by group members whenever the fancy strikes. Or you can set up your own!



Play Dates galore! All you have to do is say "Who needs to get out of the house with these tyrants?"

Members can post anytime to set up get togethers, so join us and find your mom squad.

That's it for this week! Hope to see you Saturday at Mess Fest! As always, check our website for events. And if you like what you're reading, help keep the computer screen on by following us on Facebook or Instagram and signing up for our weekly emails at

See you next time!


Don't miss the Muddy Puddles "Mess Fest" with Peppa Pig! $5 coupon inside!

Hi everyone!

We may be nearing the end of July (no, summer, don't go away!) but one reason we can't wait for August to get here is the Sixth Annual Muddy Puddles "Mess Fest"! This FUNdraiser is good messy fun for the whole family. 


But first, don't miss the annual Songs For Seeds concert at Chase Park in Scarsdale Saturday, July 28 at 10:30 am. If you haven't heard, Songs for Seeds is a children's music program featuring a live band playing original and popular songs reimagined for kids. It's free and always a great time! Bring friends!



Muddy Puddles Mess Fest

On Saturday, August 4th, head to Kiwi Country Day Camp in Mahopac from 11:00am to 4:00pm and see the camp turned into one big playground in honor of Ty Louis Campbell, who lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of five in 2012. Click here to read our review of last year's Mess Fest.

Ty lived in Pawling and loved jumping in muddy puddles. Now once a year the foundation urges us all to come out for games, bounce houses, swimming, boating, the zip line, the slip n slide, splatter painting, a pie toss, food fights, raffles, visits by some of your favorite characters including Peppa Pig, Star Wars and Disney princesses, and of course, stomping in the mud.


Germaphobe? Don't worry! There's plenty of non-dirt things to do, and the camp is so large you could wander around all day and still avoid the muddy puddle. There's also a big fire hose to clean up with on your way out.


It's a great day for kids to be kids (without trashing your house!). Your ticket helps the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation raise money for cancer research. For more information visit The last five Mess Fests raised approximately $400,000 for childhood cancer research, and the foundation is so excited to keep the momentum going this year. 


We went last year and had so much fun! It was easily my favorite annual Westchester event. (Sorry, Chappaqua Children's Book Festival, you're demoted to #2!) 

In fact, I love it so much I want to give my readers the chance to go for $5 off their ticket! Click here to register and use the code BABYGOTCHAT to activate $5 off tickets. Kids under 2 do not need a ticket. 


Or attend for free by raising $100 for the Foundation and participating in the Dirty Dunk! If you go that route, a professional photographer will be there to document the dirt and give you a photo for free.

We hope to see you there—don't forget your wellies! And while you're on a donation streak for sick kids, don't forget there are only a few days left to participate in the Presents From Heaven Toy Drive! Click the link for more info. 

That's it for this week! As always, check our website for events. And if you like what you're reading, help keep the computer screen on by following us on Facebook or Instagram and signing up for our weekly emails at

See you next time!