Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stranger danger

We probably haven't spoken with our kids enough about stranger danger. And that's most likely because we don't think it's smart to make our kids afraid of people, since most people are completely safe and have no interest in harming our children. It's hard to find the balance in teaching them what's okay when it comes to people we don't know.

Isabella has been getting reprimanded at school for saying hello to people outside the gate of the school. The first incident was Monday, and the teacher recalled the story with a thick incredulity that took me by surprise.

"She was just talking to people outside the gate! And I was like, is that your mom? No? Then you don't talk to that person!"

I just did that awkward parent-smile thing that says, "Hashtag kids, amirite?"

I didn't really think anything of it, until the director of the school stopped me in the parking lost last night.

"We had to speak to Isabella again about talking to strangers outside the gate."

Again, I was dumbfounded at the apparent severity of this infraction. "What did she say?"

"Oh, just 'Hi, I'm Isabella, what are you doing?'"

The horror. "Okay, I'll talk to her," was all I could manage.

When I went into the school, I overheard the teacher from Monday reprimanding Isabella. "And I told you to not talk to strangers, and you did it again! You're not listening to me!"

Listen - I know there are some monsters out there. I get it. We get it. But our kids are already shy, ESPECIALLY Isabella. She is so distrusting of everything. The front playground of the school is surrounded by a gate that she can't get through and no one can get to her. I think it's worth talking to her about it, but reprimanding her - especially in front of other children - seems harsh and unnecessary.

It's not that I want to keep them naive about the dangers of people they don't know. I just want them to stay curious. Learning to talk to people you don't know is an incredibly valuable skill, one that I have not developed well. I'd like them to be better at it than I am.

Side note: she bit her best buddy on the finger this week (she has never bitten ANYBODY), and I feel like they are taking the stranger thing way more seriously that the bite. Maybe the stranger thing is Isabella's attempt at distracting them from the bite. She is a smart kid.

PJ photo by Gina.


Kim Tracy Prince said...

Yes, that is one of your jobs as a mom is to also moderate what the kids' teachers do to them. It is a partnership - you are meant to work together to guide them in the right direction and if that preschool lady continues in a vein you do not think is right for Izzy, then mama bear is necessary.

LOL biting. Everyone does it. The other kid will survive.

amy said...

I feel like as long as the strangers are giving them candy it's all good, right?

Katie said...

Amy - I mean, obviously.