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Q: How to handle my child's extreme friendliness with strangers?

Our daughter, who will be turning three this week, has been home with us now for just about three months. Anna is very affectionate and friendly with adults as well as children. She is adjusting very well to her new home and family but I do have one concern that I'm looking for some guidance on. Any woman, or young girl for that matter, who visits our home or who she comes in contact with she wants to go home with. She runs up to women of all ages that she's never met and holds up her arms for them to pick her up or tries to hold their hand. Many times when I try to take her back she cries. Yesterday a saleswoman in a store picked her up for about one minute and when she tried to give her back to me, Anna started crying and I had to tear her away from the woman. Once the person is gone from her sight, she's perfectly fine and happy to be with her mother. I realize she has no sense of a family unit yet and I'm trying hard not to take her actions personally but I'm really at a loss as to how to handle this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A:I suggest that you set strict boundaries with your daughter with strangers. Do not give her the opportunity to engage with them. Limit her time in public if necessary. She is still very little time with your family. She needs to be shown that it is inappropriate to go to strangers. Early in placement everyone is a stranger. Those outside your home should not be allowed to cuddle or engage intimately with her until she is more firmly attached to Mom and Dad. Talk to her about what a stranger is. In the orphanage these kids never met a stranger. Any caregiver would do under the circumstances.


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Last update on May 8, 2018