I spent some time this afternoon attempting to hit my four year old with a broom handle. Not exactly where I pictured myself when I fondly imagined my mothering years. Before you call DOCS, let me hasten to assure you that he asked me to undertake this exercise. Asked for it, I tell you.
Mr4 has taken up Little Ninjas. Following in the footsteps of, and standing alongside his big brother, in blue pyjamas. He was very keen on the whole thing, practising his sparring stance and his back-break falls with enthusiasm – until they brought out the stick.
We have reached the ‘self-defence’ module of this term’s lessons, and part of this involves learning to dodge a large, red (admittedly well-padded) stick. Mr4 took one look at said stick and ran screaming for his mother – which strikes me as a sensible thing to do, but what would I know?
Apparently, he must learn to dodge the stick. To go one way when it goes the other. Or some such. I say he graduates with honours – he has learned to dodge the stick by running at breakneck speed in the opposite direction. However, it turns out that he will not get the ‘stripe’ on his belt for this particular module unless he faces the stick. Or ‘The Stick’ as it has become known in the Fibro. Like ‘The Blob’ or ‘The Thing’, only much thinner.
On the way home, after a serious discussion about how the correct response to the question ‘what do you do when a stranger tries to drag you into a car?’ is not, as Mr4 tried in class, ‘get in the car’ (accompanied by big smile), we talked about the importance of facing fears. About how fears only got bigger if you didn’t turn around and look at them. How they grew in your mind while you had your eyes closed. Mr4 took that on board and then asked me to help him face down The Stick.
So, being the candidate for Mother of the Year that we know me to be, I spent some time practising with him this afternoon. I even thwacked the handle on the ground as it whistled past his ears (okay, came down somewhere in the vicinity of his body), so that he would not be frightened of any sound effects The Stick might emit. Even so, I’m not sure that I’m doing it right. When I come at him with a broom handle, he giggles. I clearly need to get a tougher expression as the wielder of The Stick.
We have until Monday to build up his courage enough to dodge The Stick on his own. Mr7 sits behind me, giving helpful big-brotherly advice like ‘don’t let it hit you’. Right. With a team like this on his side, how can Mr4 fail?
I also managed to slip some ‘wrist escape’ practice into the mix. This is the move you use when someone has you by the arm and is attempting to drag you into a car. It involves pulling up in the opposite direction from the person’s grip. Or something. Mr4 was perturbed that I was trying to drag him into a pot plant, not a car, but I assured him the method was the same.
And I will sleep easier tonight knowing that if he learned nothing else today, he knows that the correct response if someone tries to drag you into a car is to run screaming to Mum.
Have you found yourself in an unusual situation as a Mum? And how did you have the ‘stranger danger’ talk without freaking out your child?
I loved this – chasing your son around with a broom! I think what helped me is when we read books or watched movies or were just driving to town, I’d toss in things like, “Did you know that no one has the right to touch you without your permission?” Later, “Did you know that you can ALWAYS tell me anything about anyone. No one can hurt me so it is OK to talk to me about anything.” Just casual conversation. He says now that it was just ingrained to know when things were wrong and that he could always tell me.
I have worries over stranger danger.
I want my kids to be able to chat happily to adults. And they do.
But that fine line between being polite to adults (who are also strangers?) and not talking to strange strangers. It’s such a fine line. I am clueless.
Too funny! I can see you all now. Mr4 will be striped on Monday. I have no doubt. Stranger danger is tricky. At this stage in proceedings I spend more time getting my children to actually SPEAK to people they DO know so I haven’t done much about strangers. I reckon The Stick might be the answer?
I am fairly direct with Bluey. I simply said, that there are some people who like to steal kids from their families. That if a stranger, or someone you don’t know tries to take you from somewhere you say NO and you go to someone you know is safe e.g. if you’re at school you stay with your teacher until you see me, or daddy, or Grandma or if I have told you someone else is coming, then them, but if I haven’t told you of someone else, then you don’t go with them, even if you know them.
That if you get lost at the shops or something, I’ve showed him to go up to the register and talk to the person behind there, not to go with anyone else, they will put a call out to me over speakers.
That if someone pulls over in a car and asks you something, you never approach the car, you keep back, and answer them if you know the answer while you keep walking.
That if someone kidnaps you, you won’t see mum or dad ever again, so this is very important.
This doesn’t so much as scare him, but it’s something I really don’t know how to word. I’ve tuaght him that if someone grabs him he is to drop to the ground, to stop supporting his body with his legs and he is to scream as loud as he can “STRANGER STRANGER STRANGER” until he see’s someone he knows. He is allowed to punch, bite, kick, pinch, whatever he needs to to get free. Still, I don’t think he gets it.
Teaching a cherub self-protective behaviours is more important that stranger danger. The sad fact is the boogeyman in the bushes or van is less likely to hurt them than someone they already know…
I think my boys would enjoy martial arts. And I won’t lie that I would enjoy being the person with the stick! A padded stick, of course. 😉
I don’t feel I’ve done a good job on the stranger danger talk. The school has had the talk with the kids too, and yet both of my children will talk with anybody on the street. *sigh*.
For a long time my son believed that anyone in a van was a bad guy. Not a mini van but just the larger vans. He was also apprehensive of anyone with a lost puppy. So I believe my advice is probably not the best.
The Stranger Danger talk is a tough one. We once asked a group of 4 years olds “what a stranger is” as part of our early childhood program me in the classroom. Most of the kids believed strangers hang out in bushes with poisonous lollies, nearly all said a stranger was “ugly” and one said a stranger wears a green helmet and has “lots of warts”.
I taught mine how to “paint the fence, Wash the floor, and Wax the car” and no one ever messed with them!
Cranky Old Man
Posts like this make me happy Mr 2 is still only just … 2. Not ready to tackle stranger danger yet!!
Oh my goodness Allison. I just posted last night about stranger danger and my growing concern of how to tackle this issue with my soon-to-be Mr4. A recent incident (nothing bad, actually quite amusing) has left me wondering how I’m going to approach this topic and explain the very real dangers that exist, without freaking his poor little mind out, for the rest of his childhood. It is not an easy path to navigate, the stranger danger one.
This was such an amusing post though, poor Mr4, I hope he just gets past this ‘stick’ part, so he can get his stripe and move on ;o)
Oh man, I’ve got so much to look forward to! I’m only just getting over the shock of finding myself saying “oh I hope you do a nice big poo!”
Well, you know how well my ‘stranger danger’ attempts went (“do you drive a white van?”), so I think I should hold the advice.
My strangest moment as a mum to date has definitely been explaining to a carloads of seven year old boys what a ‘woody’ is… Long story, best not retold.
I’m sending you the Feral Threesome for ninja training. Warning : Miss2 is quite the resident ninja tyrant already.