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Overly friendly 4 year old

Parenting - Parenting, Children, Teens: How do you teach "stranger danger" to an overly friendly 4yr old without scaring the living crap out of him? ...

 

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Alberta, Canada
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    28
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    Question Overly friendly 4 year old

    How do you teach "stranger danger" to an overly friendly 4yr old without scaring the living crap out of him? My son talks to EVERYONE. This is extremely stressful for me as I can't stand talking to anyone, let alone everyone - but thats kind of besides the point. We will be walking to the park, and he insists on saying hi to absolutely every person we see, whether they are walking past us on the sidewalk or are 4 blocks away (he yells and doesn't stop until he gets a response).

    If the person does not respond, my son seems a little hurt, so I try to explain that some people are shy and just not as friendly as him. If the person does respond, my son will stop and start talking to them about everything. If I try to keep him moving, he tries to pull away and says he just wants to talk to the man or woman. Which a) says to me that he doesn't listen to me and does not view me as the supreme authority that I should be as his parent (which I know is my fault and is a blow to my self-esteem, but something I'm not entirely sure how to correct) and b) its incredibly scarey.

    He is an incredibly sweet trusting little boy, and there are way to many evil monsters out there for him to be so trusting of absolutely everyone. Even my parents (who are NOT the socially inept person that I am) have made comments about him being too friendly on the odd babysitting occassion, so this is not just me over-reacting because I can't deal with people.

    I have tried explaining that there are some really bad people out there, who would hurt sweet little kids like him, and because of those few people, he can't be so friendly with everyone he sees. I've said, its ok to say hi to people that we walk by, but not to stop and talk to people he doesn't know. All of this goes right over his head. I don't want to stop him from being out going and friendly, I just want him to be safe. How do I take his attention away from everyone else and back on to me? How do I explain to a 4 yr old in terms he will understand that he simply can't talk to everyone he sees?
    Last edited by white page; August 28th, 2009 at 04:47 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Street-Proofing Children

    • Kidnapping by strangers is very rare, accounting for less than 1% of missing children cases, according to the RCMP. Still, we should all take sensible precautions:
    • Never leave a young child alone in a public place – not even for just a minute.
    • Don’t put their name on their clothing. A stranger can use it to gain their trust.
    • Go along when a young child uses a public washroom, even if they protest.
    • Never assume there’s someone else watching out for your child. Always know where they are and who’s looking after them.
    • And, in case the worst happens, keep an up-to-date photo (no more than six months old) with your child’s height, weight, eye and hair colour on the back, along with a description of any birth marks.
    • There are also a number of things you can teach your child to help them deal safely with strangers on their own:

    1. As soon as they’re old enough, teach them their name, address, phone number and parents’ names.
    2. Teach them to shout, “You’re not my mother!” or “You’re not my father!” if someone tries to take them away.
    3. Teach them to go to a sales clerk if they’re separated from you in a store.
    4. Teach them to go to a police officer if they’re in trouble and one is nearby. Never frighten your child by threatening to call the police if they do something wrong.
    5. Give your child a code word for emergencies. That way, a stranger who doesn’t know the word won’t get far, even if they say something like, “Come with me to the hospital; your father has been hurt.”
    6. Teach your child to say “no” firmly. Practice shouting it with them. Give them permission to scream it if they’re in trouble.


    Additional resources from the Child Abuse Prevention Website and....Streetproofing Your Kids-CBC

  4. #3

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Sounds like a great little boy!

    Truthfully, I wouldn't worry if I were you.

    Child abusers are generally people who 'groom' easy targets.
    An easy target is generally a neglected child who is left alone a lot.

    Just saying Hi to every single person he sees won't necessarily lead him into danger - an abuser is every bit as likely to abuse a quiet, shy child as a loud gregarious one.

    Just make sure (like all parents should) that he is never left alone outside on a busy street where strangers pass.

    A bit of common sense and there shouldn't be any problem.

  5. #4

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Quote Originally Posted by moomoo View Post
    Sounds like a great little boy!

    Truthfully, I wouldn't worry if I were you.

    Child abusers are generally people who 'groom' easy targets.
    An easy target is generally a neglected child who is left alone a lot.

    Just saying Hi to every single person he sees won't necessarily lead him into danger - an abuser is every bit as likely to abuse a quiet, shy child as a loud gregarious one.

    Just make sure (like all parents should) that he is never left alone outside on a busy street where strangers pass.

    A bit of common sense and there shouldn't be any problem.

    I have to correct you on this Moomoo. As a victim of child sexual abuse, my abuse was more frequently at the hands of my parents' friends and acquaintances...Not by strangers. Common sense is definitely part of the equation. But please don't assume that only strangers are predators. That's simply not the truth of the matter. In fact, in my experience, it's always been people who've been very close to my family..And my experience is more recent than I wish....

    Ss, from my perspective, just listen to your child's instincts. If he doesn't feel comfortable with someone, that's ok - give him that freedom. Just listen. If he comments about any kind of discomfort with someone, just don't impose that person on him...IMHO.

  6. #5

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    I know Jazzey. It's very sad.

    I know it is more likely to be friends of the family or family members.. I know from the frightening experiences of my siblings and some childhood friends I had. - Plus from the media.

    But no matter who the abuser is the usual MO is to 'groom' a vulnerable child.

    This boy sounds really nice - and he doesn't sound like he's vulnerable, he has a mum who loves him and is thinking of his safety.

    He may even grow out of being so friendly with strangers - it might just be a phase.

  7. #6

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Sorry Moomoo, it's just not that simple. Child abuse can and is a little more complex. I'm not saying that SS's child is a target. But you're simplifying it.

    Grooming is definitely part of it. All I'm saying is, let your child be who he/she will be. BUT also listen to them. If they don't feel comfortable with an adult, do not impose that adult on that child.

    It's not merely enough to have a mum who loves us. That doesn't always protect the child Moomoo. I wish it were enough, but it isn't. Unless you equate loving your child with listening to their own internal dialogue. If they're uncomfortable with a particular adult, for me personally, that's the end of that particular relationship. Invite and encourage open communication with that child. Loving them isn't always enough, you also have to be prepared for talking to them, listening to them.

    But again, I'm biased through experience. I'm going to try and find articles that I've posted in the past Moomoo. And I'll post them here again.

    Please see: http://forum.psychlinks.ca/adult-sur...ual-abuse.html
    Last edited by Jazzey; August 29th, 2009 at 02:10 AM.

  8. #7

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Quote Originally Posted by moomoo View Post
    [...]
    Child abusers are generally people who 'groom' easy targets.
    An easy target is generally a neglected child who is left alone a lot. [...]
    While I don't necessarily disagree with this statement, it is woefully incomplete.

    Yes, child abusers are adept at grooming easy targets. However, these children are not necessarily or even generally children who are neglected and/or often left alone.

    An "easy target" is one who trusts without question or caution. That's what makes them "easy" -- they've already placed their misguided automatic trust in the predator because they do not possess that internal caution sensor. If a child is of a trusting nature by default, he or she conveniently decreases the effort and work necessary for the predator to groom his mark. What could be easier than getting your victim to do the bulk of your preliminary manipulation for you? It's effortless when the child automatically trusts everyone who befriends him. Pre-trusting child = less work to groom = easier target.

    I'd say the stronger argument for an easy target would be the child who cannot filter his trust; I doubt very much that a despicable human being inclined to commit such atrocities wishes to make more work for himself than necessary. The easier the grooming, the easier to get away with it. Remember, it's about how the victim perceives his or her abuser. The implicit trust will make the child doubt herself; she probably won't doubt the person she trusted fully and willingly right from the start. If doubt ever does creep in, so will feelings of self-blame for letting it happen in the first place. It seems to me that this would cause the child to keep the horrifying and heartbreaking acts a secret -- a secret that allows a monster to get away with the life-altering crime he is committing.

  9. #8

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    All children what ever their background are easy targets. due to their physical vulnerability, innocence and natural trust.
    It is the responsibility of the parents and caring adults around them to protect them and teach them to defend themselves.

    I echo TSOW's post.
    There are a few sensible rules to follow.

    As has been pointed out, much abuse goes on within the close family and circle of friends, step fathers and step mothers.

    Small children are often very gregarious, this doesn't mean we have to stop them from being friendly, it means only that we stay with them and don't let them out of our sight in public places, and we don't leave them in the hands of anyone we are not a 100% sure off and that means family and friends as well.

    It is the overly friendly adults we should be cautious with.

  10. #9

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Some excellent points, WP.

  11. #10

    Re: Overly friendly 4yr old

    Ok people CHILL.

    I don't want to get into any arguments about why and how people abuse kids.

    I never claimed to be an expert. I'm not interested in learning more about abusers either.

    I only wanted to reassure SS that her son would be fine.

    She loves him and is looking out for him and is obviously mindful of the dangers of modern society.

    Sheesh.
    Last edited by Turtle; August 29th, 2009 at 10:29 AM.

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