It’s true. I taught my son to never help you. And I am NOT sorry. In fact, I role played someone asking him for help over and over again – because I know my sweet little one and I know he LOVES to help.
We’ve all read the articles about being followed in grocery stores or malls. How people will blatantly come up and try to get in between you and your child. And I thought I had explained to my son what to do if that happens.
Run. Scream. Fight. Bite. NEVER STOP FIGHTING!
But after reading an article about one mother’s experience with her son being asked to help out a stranger, I realized that the beautiful soul my son has and his love of helping could, in fact, hurt him.
So I told him that he is a child. And mommy is an adult.
And adults NEVER need the help of children.
We role played it in the car and I was sick to my stomach when he answered me. Because when I explained a scenario where an adult came and asked for him to help out in the bathroom, my son said yes!
And then I had to explain over and over again that no, an adult never needs your help!
We tried it again and he said no. Phew! But then I changed the scenario and told him that an adult needed his help finding a puppy. My son paused for second and then said, yes?
He knew the answer was no, but I could tell he was confused. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to help someone find a puppy?
Isn’t helping others what I harp on him day and night about doing?
Help your mom. Help your brother. Help your sister. Help daddy.
What have I done?!
Once he caught on to the scenarios his answer was always no. But I also wanted him to take an action step after saying no. Because adults are sneaky, and my little one doesn’t understand misdirection or pressure. So, I told him that as soon as he says no to run to mommy or daddy.
I don’t want him standing around waiting for this adult to come up with another great idea.
We are going to talk about this until he is twenty-one. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over protecting him.
But I also realized that I needed to take my own advice.
Sometimes I’m so concerned about being nice that I put myself in a compromising situation. I teach my child to be kind and respectful, but I also need to put it into context for him, because that’s my job.
So, if you ever randomly come up to my child and ask for help he will tell you no. He is also supposed to run and then come ask me if it is okay.
I’m not trying to make him shirk responsibility.
I’m not trying to be the scared police. I’m just trying to be the best mom I can. And I know I won’t sleep unless I tell him these things.
Click here for more tips on how to talk to your kids about talking to strangers.
And I pray to God he never has to remember them. Tell us – have you talked to your kids about why they should never help a stranger who approaches them asking for help? Have you had a close call with a stranger trying this with your little one?