DEAR HARRIETTE: I received the scare of my life yesterday when my 3-year-old opened our front door by himself and walked outside. I was moving laundry from the washer to the dryer downstairs, and when I came back up, he was gone. I quickly found him running down the street toward the park, but I was so scared and angry. God knows what could have happened to my son.
I am angry at myself for letting him see how the door is opened and closed. He has clearly seen my husband and me locking and unlocking our front door and learned what to do. My son is under constant supervision until we can figure out what to do. I completely support adding locks higher up on our door.
My husband is being incredibly unsupportive. He isn't taking this incident seriously at all! He just said that we should be grateful our son is smart. I can't believe he doesn't feel as shocked and angry as me. Am I overreacting? I haven't told any of my friends about the incident at the risk of seeming like a bad mother. -- Runaway Toddler
DEAR RUNAWAY TODDLER: What your husband may not know is that you can be arrested for allowing this to happen, or your child could be taken from you by Child Services. It is very serious. You are absolutely right to be concerned. And you need to set up safeguards that will prevent your child from getting out in the future. This includes teaching your child, even at his young age, what he should and should not do. Reinforce the rules always.