|Background image by Shawn Campbell|
Ahh...the crack security of our youth - where we were taught to say our parents were "in the shower" when answering the phone unsupervised at home (latchkey kids unite!), the house key was hidden in a fake rock, and we were taught to never ever talk to strangers.
I don't agree with that last one. I want my son to know how to talk to strangers.
So, we practice. I have him place his food order in restaurants. I prompt him to talk to other people in grocery stores. And because I lead by example, we start random conversations with strangers in elevators and while in line at the post office (older women love us).
Are you shy? Don't be shy. Here are some conversation starters:
- If you didn't have to work, what would you do with your days?
- Ask for advice on something, even if it is a "What do you think of this color?"
- Say something simple like: How's your day going so far?
- Hit them with a crazy random fact like, "Did you know that most human brains aren't full functional for learning until after 10 am?"
So yes. Talk to strangers. Just don't leave with them. There is a difference. Now that we are getting the hang of the talking part down, we can start to work on the second lesson. Maybe we'll need to resurrect those code words.
How do you handle "stranger danger" in your household?