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he’s just shy

March 25, 2011

A friend told me about this great post from Time with Tracy  called “Haven’t you ever felt shy, you idiot?” about how we can all do a better job in thinking before we speak!

It was perfect timing as I was just getting the boys’ haircut this week when a women in the next chair kept telling my 6 year old how cute he was and how she was going to come and kiss his neck.  We didn’t know this woman and I thought the statement was a little strange- and I could tell my son was uncomfortable and obviously was hoping she was not serious. I had just read this post and instead of making him feel crazy for not responding kindly, I decided I should be speaking up for him and handle the situation so she did not keep bothering him. It made me think of all the time we spend telling our kids to be careful about strangers, but then force them into talking with random people who approach them. What do you all think?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2011 9:04 am

    If you wouldn’t mind, Please share what you said to the woman. I feel like in those situations I can never find the right words…

  2. theconciergemom permalink*
    March 25, 2011 6:20 pm

    KW,

    I am not sure what the right thing is either- but I just said,” Thanks for saying he’s cute, but he’ll pass on the kiss!” – and I stood behind him when she passed. Our kids are obviously not equipped to handle a situation with a stranger and I think we should help them address it rather than shame them into good behavior for some unknown. do you agree?

    Suzanne

  3. Amy permalink
    March 25, 2011 6:47 pm

    Great work, mama! I love your instinct *and* your response.

    I often think of this basic message I read in a book called “The Preschool Problem Solver” (http://peachtree-online.com/index.php/book/preschooler-problem-solver.html), which amounts to making sure that kids know their bodies are their own. The second part of this is most difficult for me to remember. I’m such a fan of kids’ hugs (and of seeing kids hugging their little friends with such pure love), I tended to send them in for hugs without any “is it okay?” questions for the other kid. Now my son asks, “Can I have a hug goodbye?” if the friend isn’t already coming in for the love.

    ‘You’ll also want to reinforce lessons designed to protect your child from sexual abuse. “Your body belongs to you” is an important basic lesson for all kids, and includes the idea that they have the right to refuse hugs, kisses, or other unwanted touches, even from Aunt Tillie. (That guideline is especially important because children are most likely to be abused by people they know.)

    And remind them that the rule goes both ways: no hugging, kissing, or touching other kids without their permission.’

  4. Linda McBride permalink
    March 26, 2011 10:02 am

    I think the blog you quoted had terrific advice. Calling a child shy just reinforces that if he or she isn’t shy maybe she should be, what does the child know about it? They hear it enough and think yes I am shy. Most children speak to adults and others once they feel comfortable around them. As adults we do not always want to talk to others because we find them boring or off on a tangent, but we listen politely because that is what we feel we should do. Children on the other hand are learning and most figure it out. Bottom line is there is nothing wrong with being cautious when meeting strangers at any age.

  5. March 28, 2011 7:15 pm

    I loved your response in that situation, Suzanne. I had a very uncomfortable situation with my daughter at a park once, and it still bothers me to think about it. I was caught so off guard. I would definitely handle it different today. Every little bit helps, so thanks for the post!

  6. March 28, 2011 9:31 pm

    Suzanne,

    I can relate to how you felt when this woman made such an inappropriate remark to your son. It has happened to me so many times! I like how you responded respectfully while still protecting him. Nothing makes me crazier than people who expect young children to navigate these situations in ways that just don’t make sense. How would you like it if a stranger said they would like to kiss your neck? You would pop them in the face! (ok, I would). Thank you for linking to my post. I look forward to reading more of The Concierge Mom!

    My best,
    Tracy

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