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Kids hanging around me while fixing car

  • 12-07-2020 10:44am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    Hi, this is more to get opinions of am I overreacting or not, than a what to do question.

    I live in a gated development so all the kids play on the road / parking areas. I'm a middle aged single guy and, weather permitting, I thinker with my car by the side of the road. It's a classic car, and lately the kids (about 3 to 8 I'd guess) have been coming over to me in small groups, asking me stuff and saying your car is nice mister etc.

    I try not to engage with them, without being rude. Yesterday, one of the asked me to tie his shoelace, I said ask your mammy, was told she was out so I said ask you dad then, forget the response. I didn't do it anyway.

    I felt doing so might look bad to any parents looking on, in this day and age (I'm sure I don't need to write what I was thinking?).

    Am I paranoid or doing the right thing?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭MissShihTzu


    How well do you know the kids, OP? For me, the response seems odd. Why would you NOT tie the child's shoelace? Or at least let him tie it himself with you telling him how.

    But then again, I'm female. Although I do not have kids, my natural instinct would be to of course tie the lace good and tight, so he doesn't trip and hurt himself.

    But I guess times have changed and you can't be too careful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,321 ✭✭✭Loveinapril


    Unfortunately I think you are doing the right thing. Often men only have to look in the wrong direction for people to jump to conclusions. I work with vulnerable children and young people so child protection is always at the forefront of my mind, so maybe I am over- vigilant in circumstances like this. Next time you see the parents, maybe try to strike up a conversation and mention that the kids are interested when you are out fixing the car. Just name it with them and they can manage it as they see fit. They may tell the kids to leave you alone or they may be fine with them hanging around by you but at least it will all be in the open. Obviously if you don't feel comfortable, tell the parents you are working with dangerous tools and are worried the kids may get hurt. They should realise you don't want the audience then and keep the kids away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,842 ✭✭✭✭El_Duderino 09


    Out on the street, in plain sight and doing something innocent like tinkering with your car, I'd be OK with helping the child with his shoelaces. And chatting with children is ok. As long as you don't try to touch them and keep your distance, I'd say it's fine. Anyone watching in good faith will see it's innocent chatting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,267 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard


    I think you're overreacting. You're out in public clearly working on your car. A vigilante mob isn't going to form just cause you tied a kid's shoelace.

    Is the real issue that you just find them annoying, by any chance?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,780 ✭✭✭KungPao


    You’re probably right not to tie his lace or get too chatty if you don’t know them. So many crazy paranoid people nowadays, you’d end up having your picture shared around the local neighborhood watch WhatsApp groups saying you’re a creepy perv or something. Made to look like Jimmy Savile for nothing.

    Sad but true.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,201 ✭✭✭Man with broke phone


    I'd stay on the side of caution OP. Lot of mad people out there. Id one woman jump off a bench in a playground and run to my child asking who's child he was when I walked over to him. I had to explain he was in fact my child and I had just been pushing his brother on the swing. I'm a fairly normal looking person with a standard haircut, clean shaven and clean Jean's and t shirt, and a perfect BMI.
    There is a world of middle aged women around now reading the daily mail and dublin live and getting their knickers in a twist. I should have checked if she had kids with her to be honest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Thanks for the replies.

    MissShihTzu - I don't know the kids at all, or who the parents are. I thnk the optics are different for a female vs male

    Loveinapril - like I said I don't know the parents. But great idea re dangerous tools, that would be a good way to ask them to move without being rude!

    Dial Hard lol yeah they are a bit annoying,but that's not why I posted this

    KungPao & broken phone - yes, I'll try to discourage it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,118 ✭✭✭Idle Passerby


    Dial Hard wrote: »
    I think you're overreacting. You're out in public clearly working on your car. A vigilante mob isn't going to form just cause you tied a kid's shoelace.

    Is the real issue that you just find them annoying, by any chance?

    I'd be annoyed if random kids were hanging around me too, to be fair. Probably most people would. I doubt you'd get lynched for tieing a shoelace but you shouldn't really have to entertain strangers kids when your busy doing your own thing. Mention to the parents that your working with dangerous tools/engine fluids and hopefully they'll steer them away in future.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,886 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain


    Yea, unfortunately you can't be too careful now a days. Well done for being vigilant in my opinion.
    It's also annoying to be working away and being distracted by these children not to mention dangerous.
    I'd say maybe don't engage at all with them, be brusque without being rude (that's another minefield) and hopefully they'll pee off and leave you alone.

    To thine own self be true



  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    I would be more concerned with the possibility of them getting hurt. if there are that many dangerous items maybe you should not be working on the car there. I would wonder about it s legality


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought


    I would be more concerned with the possibility of them getting hurt. if there are that many dangerous items maybe you should not be working on the car there. I would wonder about it s legality

    Y - that’s the typical reply you’d expect from the bored housewife/ husband brigade when you don’t fawn over their children and indulge them at every point.

    OP - things can go wrong and get out of hand very quickly where children - ie their parents are concerned. Personally I’d also be wary of being too brusque to the kids or being too familiar and friendly - the easiest way to anger a mob of bored or frustrated househusbands/wifes is not to tolerate their kids, and equally to be too friendly with them - its hard to win.

    I remember years ago kids would cluster around anyone doing anything mechanical or interesting on the road and vie to be in with them or hang around with them - especially car mad or attention starved boys. Sadly those innocent days have long passed and it might be better to pass a few minutes being nice but not too friendly with them before say something like Goodbye now - I have to concentrate & can’t talk anymore - enjoy your playing before stucking your head firmly in the engine and becoming deaf. Headphones might help too!


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,176 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes


    You are doing the right thing.

    Also you should tell the kids not to be talking to strangers. Tell their parents they need to do more training on this.

    Im kind of worried a kid is going up to random men asking them to tie his shoelace.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭Heres Johnny


    I have a similar living situation to you and have a similar problem although my object of attention is a puppy I got. The kids are always hanging around my garden and although I engage as little as possible with them, I do try to be polite to them but makes me uneasy. Only saving grace is there's always loads of them but never on their own.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Thanks everyone for your replies. Nice to know I was not being silly in refusing to tie a lace! (and sad we have to think this way)

    I'll try to get rid of them in future using the danger of tools angle as suggested by some, thanks!


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,842 ✭✭✭✭El_Duderino 09


    Thanks everyone for your replies. Nice to know I was not being silly in refusing to tie a lace! (and sad we have to think this way)

    I'll try to get rid of them in future using the danger of tools angle as suggested by some, thanks!

    That might work. But I've never heard of a young lad who isn't Intrigued by power tools and telling them they're dangerous will only sweeten the deal. And if you find out who the parents are, don't lie to them about imaginary dangers from spanners and wrenches. They'll see through the lie and have legitimate reason to wonder about you. If you have genuinely dangerous tools like angle grinders or welding equipment then fair enough but they might have good reason to ask you not to use those tools in the public road (if you're doing it on the street)

    In any case, employing obvious subterfuge is only going to make you seem suspicious. Just chat with them for a couple of minutes, satisfy their curiosity and they'll probably get bored and be ready to move on. Then say you need to concentrate, as the poster above suggested, and say goodbye.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Thanks everyone for your replies. Nice to know I was not being silly in refusing to tie a lace! (and sad we have to think this way)

    I'll try to get rid of them in future using the danger of tools angle as suggested by some, thanks!

    if the tools are that dangerous they should not be on the roadway and its not "just typical reply you’d expect from the bored housewife/ husband brigade". You asked for advice and should consider what will happen if one of them hurt themselves. If there are so many and so many tools how will you watch them all?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 66 ✭✭Ultima Thule


    You are dead right in what you are doing. I wouldn't tie the shoelace either. All it takes is one small misinterpretation for it to blow up.

    The kid could twist the words at home "oh mister x showed me his car today......helped put my shoes on."


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13


    Can you not fix the car outside your own house, rather than the road? And maybe close over your gates? (Maybe that’s not how your housing development is laid out though)


  • Registered Users Posts: 368 ✭✭Iodine1


    You are right. Do not put a hand near one of them for any reason, you will be labelled.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,842 ✭✭✭✭El_Duderino 09


    Iodine1 wrote: »
    You are right. Do not put a hand near one of them for any reason, you will be labelled.

    Ah come on. There's very little chance that they would be labelled anything. The idea that tgey would be labelled is being hysterical. Let's not pretend every time an adult talks to a child or does something like tie their shoelaces, in plain view and not being any way secretive or dodgy or trying to touch the child, someone labels them.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,897 ✭✭✭✭GreeBo


    Ah come on. There's very little chance that they would be labelled anything. The idea that tgey would be labelled is being hysterical. Let's not pretend every time an adult talks to a child or does something like tie their shoelaces, in plain view and not being any way secretive or dodgy or trying to touch the child, someone labels them.

    It doesnt have to be everytime, it just has to be once and happen to you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 274 ✭✭Adam9213


    Hi, this is more to get opinions of am I overreacting or not, than a what to do question.

    I live in a gated development so all the kids play on the road / parking areas. I'm a middle aged single guy and, weather permitting, I thinker with my car by the side of the road. It's a classic car, and lately the kids (about 3 to 8 I'd guess) have been coming over to me in small groups, asking me stuff and saying your car is nice mister etc.

    I try not to engage with them, without being rude. Yesterday, one of the asked me to tie his shoelace, I said ask your mammy, was told she was out so I said ask you dad then, forget the response. I didn't do it anyway.

    I felt doing so might look bad to any parents looking on, in this day and age (I'm sure I don't need to write what I was thinking?).

    Am I paranoid or doing the right thing?

    No not all haha, do not tie that kids shoelaces whatever you do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 274 ✭✭Adam9213


    My grandparents live in a rough area I'm middle class myself but in those areas it would be very normal to chat to the kids playing, I've noticed the kids in those areas are a lot more grown up and are very easy to have a laugh with if they were hovering around your car, but if you were in a middle class area it would be different there's a big difference between the kids in those two communities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Just to clarify, since lots are mentioning I should not be working on my car by the road. it's just basic servicing I'm doing, not changing engines. And If I had a driveway I'd be using it for sure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Adam9213 wrote: »
    My grandparents live in a rough area I'm middle class myself but in those areas it would be very normal to chat to the kids playing, I've noticed the kids in those areas are a lot more grown up and are very easy to have a laugh with if they were hovering around your car, but if you were in a middle class area it would be different there's a big difference between the kids in those two communities.

    Didn't you do well for two generations? You are right it depends really on how well the op knows the kids. in some places there is an "everyone knows everyone" vibe in others not so much

    For instance OP do you know the children to say hello to when you drive out. Where my friend lives all the kids know the adults and wave to the adults as the drive by and say hello on the street. I wouldn't tie a shoe though like you have to touch the lace. Just be nice andsay your hands are dity from the car and ask your mum to tie it


  • Registered Users Posts: 274 ✭✭Adam9213


    Just to clarify, since lots are mentioning I should not be working on my car by the road. it's just basic servicing I'm doing, not changing engines. And If I had a driveway I'd be using it for sure.

    Also it depends on what type of person you are if you're that creepy weird guy on the street and people see you talking to a bunch of kids it might not look good for you


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,794 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith


    Mod Note

    Adam9213 when replying to threads in PI/RI, either offer the OP constructive advice as per the Charter, or don't post in the thread at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 625 ✭✭✭dd973


    Think you're doing the right thing erring on the side of caution, nowadays just living alone and being childless is enough for some lamebrains to come up 2+2=5.

    In Finglas there was an Egyptian chap who used to speak to local kids giving them sweets etc, he started having mental health issues and acting erratically some time later and in no time half the pyjama and tracksuit brigade were on the hunt for him gathering outside his home. I'd guess his over familiarity with the local kids might have been a cultural thing, the first thing that come to mind with Arabic countries is crowded souks and living areas, people in multi generational households with loads of youngsters running around.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,061 ✭✭✭leggo


    OP what’s the context here? Are they being cheeky kids trying to annoy you and take the piss? Or are they nice kids just taking an interest because you’ve got a cool car? That’s kinda pivotal to how I’d view it.

    I wouldn’t be overthinking whether people are going to worry you’re a pedophile. People will start to take notice of people when they’re taking an active interest in children. But just responding politely and engaging back when they engage you is fine. It’s weirder to be hostile towards them. Kids or not, as a rule, if you just behave appropriately in a given situation people will respond as such. But I appreciate for some gauging that can be a difficulty with absolutely no malice intended. So yeah if you’re finding that line difficult you’re probably best erring on the side of caution and doing your own thing.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio


    Yeah kids can be annoying I wouldn't want them hanging around me either if I was you :V


This discussion has been closed.
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