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#1 of 9 Old 04-14-2003, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I need some advice for my almost 4 year old ds, who is constantly running up to strangers in public areas to talk to them and if they show him a pleasant smile or talk he will sometimes give them a hug. At first, it seemed sweet; now it's scaring me. I don't want him doing it. He recently began speaking in pharses, for which he was a late bloomer for words. He loves people, especially pretty woman. I don't get jealous, but I feel very odd about him doing this. I've always been around him. I've been practicing attachment parenting; such as not letting him cry it out, gentle discipline, and co-sleep since he was born. I'm mostly a SAHM except tuesdays/thursdays he attends a preschool while I attend two university classes in afternoon. Whats going on does anybody's elses child do this same thing? What should I do? I've tried talking to him about strangers telling him that " we don't know them, we only talk to people we know" ... so on.. he'll listen most of the time but sometimes he'll run up to strangers and I don't get a chance to say something without causing a huge scene.
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#2 of 9 Old 04-14-2003, 09:17 PM
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I'm thinking about this also with my 4 yo dd. She has always been very social with adults and kids. We just got back from NYC and she flirted with strangers every time we got on the subway! So I have started the conversation about strangers and why we don't go up to everyone. I have been avoiding this conversation for years, but it is time. I started out by talking to her about intuition and how you can sometimes feel that someone is not a nice person even before you meet them. Eventually we will move on to ways to stay safe around strangers - I really hate this because I don't want her to be afraid of people. I don't want her to know about he horrible things that adults can do to children. But I asked her the other night if someone she had never met before asked her to get into his car would she do it and she said, "Yes"(!)
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#3 of 9 Old 04-14-2003, 09:59 PM
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I have the same issue with my dd, who is also four. She was not a late talker, though - she was advanced verbally and has been striking up conversations with starngers for as long as I can remember.

Keep in mind that telling a child not to talk to strangers does not really help - they are not sure what a stranger is, and they actually see you talk to "strangers" all the time - on the supermarket checkout line, in the park, etc., and you may even encourage them to speak to these people as well.

I've told my daughter that she is not allowed to tell anyone her name without asking me first, and I've noticed that when we are in a playground (just about the only public place at this point that she might be out of my sight for a few minutes - I keep an eye, but I don't follow her around), she has been actually running over to me just to say, "Can i introduce myself to that boy's mommy over there?" I'm actually thinking of adding a new rule - she has to introduce ME first.

At this age, with them under almost constant supervision, there isn't too much to worry about, but it is a good idea to start planting the seeds of safety now. Oh, and speaking of playgrounds, now that dd is at an age where I DON'T follow her around, I only go to playgrounds that are fairly small, fenced in, without too many exit gates.
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#4 of 9 Old 04-14-2003, 11:53 PM
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I'm sort of on the other side of the fence with this issue. My dd is 4 too and sometimes just starts chatting away to people and will introduce herself and her sister (19 months) to whoever is listening. I am never out of earshot though so I don't worry too much. As she gets older and spends more time out without me (I mean with a babysitter or her aunt or whatever), I will try to get her to not divulge so much info to 'strangers'. But, I don't want her to be afraid of people she doesn't know. I like the fact that she goes up to other kids at the park and introduces herself and plays. I think that's a good quality and don't really want to stifle it. I think I would be more worried if she was older (like when she's 16 and I finally let her go to the park without me --- only part of me is kidding!).

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#5 of 9 Old 04-18-2003, 03:01 AM
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My dd, now 3.75 yo, also does this, but mostly with children. She'll run up to any child and say, "Hi I'm A., I'm 3.5, do you want to play???" And sometimes with the parents, mostly moms, too.

I don't discourage it at all. She seems to have very good instincts towards people, so I feel pretty safe about it. I've never seen her do this with, like, an intense guy by himself. And she always sees me go up to other kids and moms in the park, so I know she's mostly doing what I do :

I think she's just really a social kid, but we have had talks about the fact that some people like to touch kids or "steal" kids. Then again, I don't remember us ever having met a person whom I really distrusted. I don't distrust strangers easily, and I have told dd that she doesn't have to worry about being stolen when dad or I are around. And she doesn't
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#6 of 9 Old 04-18-2003, 03:25 AM
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Ok. My DD is now 6yo and still this social and trusting. Itr is good and bad. It got a bit out of control less than 2 years ago when DS was born and began getting attention from strangers. She can now get overbearing. For example, we are in the supermarket anda passing woman says "Excuse me" so that she may pass. DD looks at her and says " Hello, my name is____. My Mom has the same name too, This is my baby brother, I am the big sister. I know a song, I will sing it for you" At this point she breaks into the song "You talk too much" which she learned at school. Yes, this is how bad it can get. This is more of a nuisance though. What I fear is the fact tha tsince turning 6 her motto is , "I am 6, I can take care of myself now". No matter how many times I tell her she cannot play unsupervised outside b/c of other people I do not trust, not that I don't trust her. Difficult for her to comprehend. She used to talk about strangers, BUT assumed the big bad LOOKED that way, I explained over and over that most are good but you cannot tell someone is dangerous by their looks-no luck! She assumes any adult with a child i s"safe", she has put many (albeit nice) men in an awkward situation when she was around 4yo cause she'd run from me and up to them in parks, chatting away.

Poiint is, keep communication open and keep over friendly kids closer by. It's mostly a wonderful trait, just be careful when they are too trusting of anyone and truly believe that they could take down a 400 pound "bad guy" on theri own!
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#7 of 9 Old 04-18-2003, 01:45 PM
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:LOL Bebesho, your dd and mine are twins! The other day at Target she was "the Easter Bunny's helper" and was asking people if they wanted and handing out "Easter eggs" to anyone she could corner! Then she wants to introduce her new sister, tell everyone's names, and ask if they want to hear her sing a song! Oy vay!!

Two days ago I was about to NIP and dd said "Oh, now you are about to see her boobies!" to the people I was talking to! We don't even call them that! :LOL

I do worry about the whole stranger/being taken thing, but not too much. What I mostly worry about is that she gets "too big for her britches", thinks she's "all that" and that she is so wonderful that everyone must want to drop everything they are doing and talk to her. I can't seem to make her understand that sometimes people are busy/don't want to chat/aren't comfortable talking, etc, and she should leave them alone. Its more an etiquette/socialization kind of a concern. She is wonderful, of course, and some folks do enjoy chatting with her. I just have to teach her to keep a lid on sometimes! I've talked to her about the "messages" people send, such as saying "That's nice" and then keep on walking.

Single mom by choice to Sophia, age 18, and Eleanor, age 12, and mother hen to too many nursing students to count!
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#8 of 9 Old 04-19-2003, 12:56 AM
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My 3-1/2 yr old dd is the SAME!!! I swear she is the most social child I've ever seen. And that's funny to me because I'm rather reserved (though not shy at all).

Anyway, she is always the star wherever she goes. I can't go to the Post Office or anywhere without her making friends and chatting with people. She especially loves making new little friends about her age. Oh, and babies-- ugh. She always wants to get in babies' faces.

So far I haven't been worried about it. Now that I think about it I can't say she has ever done this with a man or a woman without it being someone at the checkout or whatever.

I have often thought about how my reaction to this behavior could affect her sociability long-term, but then again, I gotta think it's genetic as she's not gotten it from me!

I haven't started the stranger talk as I don't believe she can grasp that. For now, I just keep a close eye on her.
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#9 of 9 Old 04-21-2003, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

I understand that we all like happy, sweet, and social children but my ds different. At times he dosn't seem as communicative towards strangers, he'll use touch(grabs) sometimes before words. For example, yesterday we went to an Easter egg hunt at a school playground. Everything was going really good with his approaches, he was using word communication, running around not hugging every kid but asking to play with them or asking them about the eggs in their basket. He was having tons of fun. Then after awhile he was playing on the playground equiment. Way across from where ds was playing, he spotted a lady on the swing, before i could catch up to him he had already approached her without warning tried to hug her, he actually grapped her boops instead, both of them Needless to say the older lady was shocked and disturbed. I told the lady " I'm sorry he's trying to learn his communication and space" as I was saying this... he ran off to a boy on the moneky bars and grapped onto his legs. I took him along side the playground to talk with him. I told him he can't run up to people and touch them. If he wanted to play with someone then he has to use words instead of touch. Grabbing people will scare them and I told him it was time to go home to put his eggs in the refridgerator. I know He'll get his communication down but I think he's different then other kids his age, it seems he dosn't notice that strangers are people he dosn't know, he walks around like he already knows everyone around him. Does this make sense to anyone? Is this normal?
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