We made a family trip to Sam's today to get some things for a dinner party at our house tomorrow night. As soon as Jonah hears the word "Sam's" he immediately assumes we will have pizza there. So, we did. While we were sitting there, I decided it was a good time to talk more about "stranger danger." We have a rule in our house about seeing eyes. That means in any public place, I have to always be able to see his eyes and he has to see mine.
Well, the past few weeks, he has been pushing the envelope with me and getting further and further away. All it takes to get him back is for me to say "Can you see my eyes?" and he immediately returns to me. But, now that Micah is here, my attention is on him sometimes so I need to be more diligent about having safety discussions with Jonah.
Me: Jonah, if we were shopping here today and a man told you to come with him because your mommy wants him to pick you up, what would you do?
Jonah: I would go with him.
Jonah: But, I like to do what you tell me to do.
Dan: Jonah, the man is trying to trick you to get him to go with him. He is telling you a lie. (Jonah is really into NOT lying these days and points out every time he COULD have lied to us!)
Jonah: Why would that man tell a lie? You aren't supposed to lie!
Me: As soon as someone that you know talks to you and you don't think they are supposed to, as loud as you can, yell "STRANGER! YOU AREN'T MY MOMMY OR DADDY!" Okay?
Jonah: I can yell at a grown up?
Me: Yes, only if they are a stranger.
Jonah, if the man told you that he would buy you an ICEE (he LOVES ICEEs) and then bring you right back to mommy and daddy, what would you do.
Jonah: I would let him. I love Icees.
Us (In Unison): NO!!!!
Dan: Jonah, no matter what they tell you, you never, ever, ever go unless mommy or daddy tells you it is okay. You must ask them first, even if someone tells you we said it was okay.
Me: What if I'm on the floor looking in Micah's diaper bag and a lady asks you to help her pick out candy and then she will give you some. Do you help her?
Jonah: NO! Then I yell "STRANGER" and tell her she isn't my mom!
Me: Jonah, what if a man and a lady tell you their puppy is hurt and scared and needs someone to love it but you have to go to their car with them to see it, what would you do?
Jonah: I would go help that puppy!
Dan: Jonah, NO! You NEVER EVER EVER EVER go with anyone you don't know for any reason. Not if they tell you they have a puppy. Not if they tell you they have candy. Not if they tell you they will take you to your mommy and daddy. Not for any reason do you ever go.
We continued to eat pizza and talk to each other then I said "Jonah, what if you are playing one day and a man or lady tells you that they have Micah in the car and he wants to see you. What would you do.
Jonah: I would go see him. He likes me.
Me: Jonah, that isn't Micah. They are tricking you!!
Jonah: They can't trick me. I know what Micah looks like! I would tell them that is not my brother then I would tell them they are a stranger.
Dan: Jonah, it is too late then. They already have you. You can never go with anyone regardless of what they tell you. Do not let anyone trick you. If you don't know them, you yell "STRANGER! STRANGER! STRANGER! YOU ARE NOT MY MOM OR DAD!"
Jonah: Okay. I will try that. (He then proceeds to point at every person he sees and call them stranger. (Finally making a little progress...whew!)
This dialogue continued through our entire $7.48 meal. (Seriously, there is no cheaper place to eat!) There is a fine line between teaching your child safety and fear. But, we must have those discussions. I don't want him to go through life afraid but I also want to protect him and prepare him for any situation that I can. So, please let me apologize in advance for when you speak to him and he YELLS "STRANGER" at you even if he knows you. He's being a little excessive at this point. And, I'm totally okay with that! :-)