What to do?

8 Apr

Today Cameron had a special program at school, which being the wonderful mother that I am, I forgot about until I dropped him off. After a few minutes of debate whether I would come back or not, I decided I would. Cameron would expect me to be there, and I wasn’t going to let him down.

The school day started with just the kids having a visit with Miss Abby from the Crime Victim’s Center here in Chester County. After the kids got to have fun with Miss Abby, they came to meet their parent’s to watch the film, What To Do. I’m pretty sure I saw this same film when I was in first grade, which I found kind of funny. The film could definitely stand to be updated, but the central message was still pretty clear. What To Do deals with well, what to do in different situations regarding strangers and good verses bad touch.

I know these are important things for kids to learn about and understand, but I wonder if maybe Cameron is still too young? This is really the first time that I’ve had to face the fact that I’m not going to be able to protect him from everything and every one. I need him to have the tools to make good decisions when it comes to who to go with and what to do if someone makes him uncomfortable. Stranger danger has never really had to come up before since he’s nearly always with me or Bill. When we go out people tend to smile at him and say hello (usually people of the older variety), and I always encourage him to be “polite” and say hello back. Am I wrong? Should I be telling him NOT to talk to strangers? It must be so confusing to be a kid; we (or at least I) tell him to say hello to strangers when I’m with him, but when I’m not around he’s not supposed to talk to strangers. It makes MY head hurt just thinking about it.

Really, the what to do around strangers part of today’s talk doesn’t bother me, in fact I found it helpful. I want him to know that he should never go anywhere with anyone he doesn’t know even if they tell him I said it was ok. What I wasn’t prepared for today was the talk about “private parts”. I guess it’s my Catholic upbringing that makes me uncomfortable talking about those “private parts” that made it feel like something I shouldn’t be talking about with my four year old. I have two boys, so we haven’t had any talks about boy parts verses girl parts. My boys bathe together and I’ve never had to field any questions about parts, thank God!

I do sincerely hope that Cameron learned something today, but I can see him using his new found knowledge against me and Bill. This can give temper tantrums in public a whole new level of fun. Can you just picture me trying to carry my tantruming four year old out of Toys R Us and have him scream, “I DON’T KNOW YOU, LEAVE ME ALONE!” Now mommy looks like a kidnapper…YAY! I still clean my kids, if I left the job to them they’d probably be growing barnacles. What’s to stop my child from going to school and telling his teacher that I touched his “wee wee” last night? I guess they might have covered that mommy giving you a bath doesn’t count, or at least I hope so. I’m hoping that at four years old he hasn’t grasped the whole concept of being spiteful, because he could really make mommy and daddy’s lives hard by pretending we’re strangers every time he doesn’t get his way when we go out.

Have you had the “stranger danger” and “good touch/bad touch” talk with you kids? How old were they when you started that conversation? Am I just in denial about how much I can protect my kids? How about some good, age appropriate tools to use at home to reinforce what Cameron learned at school today? Help a mama out here!

I feel like I’m new to this whole parenting thing all over again. Just when you think you have it down, something new comes up.

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