Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't talk to strangers...

Funny story - these are the ones that make me go to work somedays.

A couple weeks ago one of my clients, Lydia (age 8) came in and was in BIG TROUBLE with her foster parents. Lydia and her brother Michael (age 5) had been caught going up and down their street asking neighbors and random strangers that they saw for food and money. It's been an identified issue for both of them that they have very poor boundaries. Plus, they also have lived in 10 different foster homes. So needless to say, the concept of "stranger" is completely lost on them both.

So, that week I focused with both of them on learnng some "stranger danger". Not too much with Michael - he is notoriously difficult to get to focus. But, Lydia did a great job. We made lists of what it means for a child to be "safe". We also made a list of "people who keep you safe" and "places where you are safe". Then we talked about what to do when/if a "not safe" person tries to talk to you, who we you should ask for to get things, etc. I felt it went pretty good, but I didn't think much else about it.

Then they came in last week for another sesson. When they walked in the door, Lydia's foster mother was laughing.

"I have got to tell you a story!" she said. "This morning everyone got up and got ready, then we sent the kids out to the bus stop. About 15 minutes later, I heard Lydia SCREAMING at the top of her lungs! I sent Sam (foster dad) out to go see what was going on - cause they should have been on the bus already! I was gonna kill them if they were messing around and missed the bus. Steve came back in a few minutes later laughing. When he'd gotten out there, Lydia was standing in front of the door to the bus holding onto Michael's coat sleeve and screaming at him!"
At this point, I was totally confused about why she was laughing about this interaction. This particular foster parent does not usually find the kids behavior amusing. But then she told me the punch line. Apparently, when Sam got out there he asked Lydia what was going on she pointed inside the bus - at the SUBSTITUTE BUS DRIVER.

Apparently, the bus had pulled up, Michael went to step on the bus and Lydia realized that she didn't know the bus driver. She was holding Michael's sleeve and screaming at him not to get on the bus because that person was "NOT SAFE!!"

That's right - I'm a miracle worker.... for today. :)

1 comment:

  1. definately take them where you get 'em!
    So I was peeping at your profile from Lisa's blog and I see you are from the CHicago area, which I grew up in the west burbs and lived in Glen Ellyn a few years after college. Also, you list Torey Hayden, which blew me away. For years and years I always pointed to her as one of my favorite authors, and no one had ever heard of her. I mean, thats why I went into this (line of work, case work, therapy etc)in the first place!
    Anyway, Hi!
    Essie

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