DEAR HARRIETTE: I have twin girls who are going into first grade. They are my life and joy. They have many friends and get along well with baby sitters and adults. However, I worry that my daughters are too friendly and outgoing. For example, I had landscapers come recently, and I found my daughters poking them and asking what their names are. Nothing bad happened in this situation, but I worry about a day that they could approach someone with bad intentions.
How do I steer my babies in the right direction? I don't want them to lose their inquisitive spirit, but I want to rest easy that they don't blindly trust everyone they meet. -- Fine Line, Silver Spring, Maryland
DEAR FINE LINE: Teaching your children about how to navigate their lives, including whom to trust, is a lifelong pursuit. Know that it is good that they are inquisitive and outgoing. As they engage others, talk to them about how and when to do so. The landscapers who were at your home should be safe for them to talk to. Otherwise, they shouldn't be at your home. But you could explain to them that it's fine to talk to them, but not OK to invite them inside or to go off with them. Talk to them about greeting people versus following people places, such as to get ice cream.
As your girls grow, you must continue to guide their steps by teaching them basic precautions about whom to trust and even how to walk away from people who are overly friendly. By also engaging "the village" -- your friends, teachers, family and neighborhood groups -- to support you, you will have extra eyes when needed.