The other day, our preschooler asked us what a stranger was. We immediately felt like failures as parents. Even the handbook for slacker moms suggests an intensive seminar on stranger identification by age 11.5 months. How behind are we? Should we do the drug speech while we’re at it? The birds and the bees?
We hadn’t lectured him about strangers, yet, because someone we trust is with him every second of the day. He’s shy and won’t even talk to family or friends half the time, never mind people he doesn’t know. I have enough trouble trying to get the younger one into the car, I didn’t want to complicate matters.
But, the subject came up at preschool and, I’ll admit it, sometimes I take my cues from the professionals. Looking back, I should have run a rough draft by them first. Here’s how it went:
Him: What’s a stranger?
Me: A stranger is somebody you don’t know.
Husband: And you should never, ever talk to strangers. Even if they give you candy.
Him: They have candy?
Me: Gross, yucky candy. That tastes bad and makes you sick.
Him: Oh. Why do they have yucky candy?
Husband: Because they want you to get into their car. But never, ever get into a stranger’s car.
Him: Why? Do they crash them?
Me: And they’re full of spiders.
Me: Then they explode.
Bugs. Car crashes. Explosions. Candy. Clearly, we have some work to do so that abduction doesn’t sound like the best overnight camp ever.