My three year old is the most sociable person I know, he says hello to almost everyone he sees, and he will strike up a conversation with anyone who will listen. He certainly doesn't get this trait for me, I hate making small talk and children just seem to invite that don't they? Henry on the otherhand is definitely mine and hates talking to other people as well. George could actually talk the hind leg off a donkey given the opportunity, he's happy, confident, outgoing and friendly. While all of these are great traits to have, it worries me.
It worries me because he will talk to ANYONE, and I mean anyone. Man with dog, he'll say hello. Woman with baby, he'll say hello. Look at him, he'll say hello. He has even started walking up to people and saying "hello, I'm called George!" Earlier this week we were at a park, it was quiet, it was early and we had the place to ourselves for a while so we were in our element. At most there were about three families there, including us, throughout the whole time we were there. We met one of these families whilst they were in the maze, Henry and I were sat on a bench stuffing our faces and George told the family "I can hear my baby brother Henry!" As they all came out of the maze, George walked off with them asking "are you looking after me?" George really took a shine to their six year old son so we did end up having a little chat with the parents for a bit while the kids played which was nice despite my earlier claims of hating people.
While I am glad he feels confident to talk to people and has excellent social skills, I'm worried he will befriend the wrong person. It only takes a couple of seconds and he could be gone in a blink. He only has to approach the wrong person and that could be it. I know this seems irrational, but I watched a social experiment where a man showed parents how easy it was for him to coax their children to go off with them. George probably wouldn't even need coaxing. And it's scary.
I'm not a helicopter parent and I never have been, I like giving the boys some independence, I like encouraging them to explore and I believe it has definitely helped them to develop physically as they are both excellent climbers and will happily tackle a climbing frame, but these days I am scared to take my eye off George even for a second.
He has never been a shy child even as a baby but all of a sudden his confidence has rocketed and he has become much more independent. Just recently in the ice cream shop he asked the woman who was scooping his ice cream if he could have the marshmallows from the top, and happily paid for a toy in a shop which is fantastic. I am proud of what an amazing little character he is growing into and it is my job to guide him. I won't teach him not to speak to strangers because he has witnessed me say "good morning" to people when we have been out and I enjoy seeing him talking to others. He can bring a smile to anyone's face and I love that about him.
I just wish I could fit him with a tracking device!