This is a question that was raised based on one of my posts regarding my 3 year old defiantly telling his preschool teacher "NO".
While I know exactly how I feel on the subject, another reader of my blog did not. It left me wondering how other parents felt about teaching our children to say "NO" to adults. The concern being that it might make them feel that they couldn't say "NO" to any adult, even one that might have predator's intentions.
We have made it very, very clear to our children that they are not allowed to tell us, our well known family friends or their teachers "NO" in defiance. In fact, as a side note, every time either of our children have a time-out, we have a conversation about why it happened, why it wasn't acceptable, and a better way to handle and/or say it next time. It's about teaching them as well as disciplining them. Never underestimate the level of their intelligence. Explain the differences to them between when they can and cannot say "NO". You can be specific without frightening them.
We have made it very clear to our 3 year old when he SHOULD say "NO" to an adult, no matter who that adult is, then to immediately go and tell us or another adult. We tell our 2 year old as well. An abridge version, of course, we don't get a huge response from him because his communication skills are still coming through. At this point he pretty much just nods at us and says "okay". But they understand so much of what we say, so we say it anyway. It's never too early for them to become a part of the family conversation.
We on a regular basis remind them of both our and their full names, our full address, and our trusted neighbors names. We on a regular basis remind them that their private parts are private, and that nobody but us can touch or look at them. When my 3 year old fell and bruised his private parts, I took him to his pediatrician. He told her in no uncertain terms that his moms were the only ones that could look at his private parts!
It's sad that most molestations that happen to our children are by the people that we know. It makes us all frightened, doesn't it?
So what I would offer to any of the parents out there that might have the same concern as one of my readers is this....Communicate, communicate, communicate. If you want to repeat it to them daily, do so!
Put on your "mommy pants", in the most loving way, don't be afraid of drawing lines in the sand and at the same time teach them the acceptable time and place to tell an adult "NO".
We're all concerned, frightened, worried and overly protective, but you can do it, and you can teach them to do it also!
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