Dear Mr. Dad: My 2 ½ year old son has recently started running away from me whenever we leave the house. Sometimes I have to sprint to catch him. It’s really frightening and I’m afraid to look away even for a second. Why is he doing this and how can I stop him?
A: First, let’s keep in mind that your son isn’t running away to rebel, and he probably isn’t trying to scare you. It’s actually a normal developmental phase for toddlers. Aside from having a marvelous time exploring the world, running, being chased, and getting caught makes them feel secure. That said, since dashing off in a parking lot or crowded place can be a serious safety issue, and your son needs to learn to stop doing it (or at least cut back. Here are a few strategies: