So… I didn’t make up the stranger danger line, M-ito’s fourth grade teacher did and I just copied it. It has a certain zing though.
Anyway. This is the conversation we all need to have with our kids about adult strangers, private parts, and how the two should never meet. Of course Mom-ita and I realized we hadn’t had this conversation with M-ito about camp just about one hour into the trip… to camp. I know. I know. I’m a bad Dad-dito. Mom-ita and I realized this just about the same time (not that I’m a bad Dad-dito, but that we hadn’t had the stranger danger talk – work with me here). So we attempted to have this conversation as our son was just about holding on to his nerves knowing that he was going away for two weeks on his own to camp where he’d never been before.
What not to do:
- Don’t bring this up on the car trip up to your son’s first sleep away camp. Otherwise… your son will drop his jaw and get a deer caught in the headlights expression on his face, followed by anger that’s expressed as, “You’re bringing this up NOW?”
- See bullet one above. That’s really the only thing not to do.
- Don’t bring up in detail the whole Penn State thing. It’s too complex. Don’t ask me how I know. I’ve done enough damage for one afternoon.
What to do:
- Bring it up any time before the day of the trip to camp. A few days is probably better as a cushion.
- Do tell him it’s not okay for anyone else to touch his private parts and make sure he knows (he’ll tell you, I know what you mean) what you mean.
- Do tell him to get help from another adult at the camp immediately, if he can.
- Do tell him to make noise and get away if he can.
- Try not to make it seem like anything will be his fault.
- Have these conversations with your child when he’s much younger so by the time he gets to the age of 10 and is going away to camp and rolls his eyes at you for bringing this up you know it’s okay because he’s been stranger danger talked to enough already. Then you can sleep well at night.
- Prevention is protection.
A side note. When I brought this up with M-ito yesterday we talked about it a little more and it was okay. As long as I didn’t go on for more than 30 seconds, like I usually do. I actually stopped before my son said, “Dad-dito, that’s enough.”