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The big bad wolf

I just had to have a real difficult talk with my son.  I guess I should start from the beginning - I was class mom at my son's school this week (he's 4 and just started school in September).  I'll be doing it all day every Tuesday from now on.  Those teachers need so much help! This week was my first week.  For the most part, it was a great experience.  I got to see how the teacher teaches and what my son is learning.  I got to see what he gets up to when he's not at home and meet his little friends.  I got to work with a bunch of the kids as well; helping them with learning to write, with arts and crafts and phonics.  It was a really rewarding and lovely day.  My son LOVED it.  When the teacher introduced me to the other kids as his mom, he beamed with pride!
The part that left me feeling really unsettled was that the kids leave the classroom unattended to go to the bathroom when ever they need or want to.  I witnessed kids say they were going to the bathroom, but walk off in another direction.  They didn't leave the area, but they could have.
During gym class (which is in a whole other building) the kids could leave the gym and go down the hall to the changing rooms on their own.  The teachers have 30 kids to look after.  How long would it take to realize one was missing?  The door of the building was locked, but school employees can come and go.  My son trusts everyone and is very social.  He'd easily be led away.  It occurred to me that I needed to raise some red flags and start to take away some of his innocence. It killed me to do it, but I knew it was time.
Tonight I told him the two places no one is allowed to touch him.  I told him he shouldn't talk to grown ups he didn't know.  I could see he wasn't getting it and told him that some people are bad and might want to hurt him or steal him away from Mommy and Daddy.  You can't always tell when people are bad - kind of like when the big bad wolf dressed up like Grandma.  They may look nice, but might not be.  I told him to never go anywhere with a grown up that wasn't Mommy or Daddy - even if they say that Mommy and Daddy said it was ok.  He said, 'You mean they might be fooling me?' I said, 'Yes, that's right, Baby.  You run away and find a teacher or another grown up.'  I could see he was getting disturbed so I stopped there, but it's so hard knowing what to say and how far to go.  I apologized to him for having to talk about scary stuff, but it's my way of keeping him safe.  I just wish it wasn't so necessary!

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