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“How are you raising him?!”

My Friday evening took a scary, unexpected turn when a neighbor intercepted my son and me on our porch. “Come here,” he told my three-year-old son, Li’l D. Li’l D hid behind my legs.

Conversations with this neighbor had been friendly to date, so I smiled and said, “Nope. That’s not likely to happen. He saw a cricket on the door, and he’s convinced all bugs are out to get him!”

My neighbor ignored me, instead addressing my son again. “I told you to come here.” He held out his hand and said, “Come here and take my hand.”

Bemused by the weird turn of the conversation, I said, “No. I don’t believe in forcing kids to respond to adults, even close friends. It’s important training for them learning to trust their instincts.”

Again my neighbor ignored me and demanded my son respond to him. Li’l D planted himself more firmly behind my legs. Again, more vehemently, I said, “No.”

“How are you raising him?!” my neighbor demanded, finally addressing me. Read more…

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