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?