It’s really scary when a toddler runs away.
Dad decided to take the baby, the new puppy, and a 4-year-old boy for a walk. It’s when the toddler runs away from the Dad. Once the boy returned, dad said with empathy, “This is so sad, we have to go home now since I can’t be sure you’ll stay with me.”
This little boy started crying and Dad responded with his brain-dead one-liner, “I know.” He kept repeating it over and over. The little guy whined and cried and complained.
Once at home, the evening proceeded, as usual, dinner, bath, and story with no more mention (or lecture or punishment) of the incident. At bedtime, the boy told his dad, “Dad, I’m sorry I ran away from you tonight. I’ll always stay with you next time.”
We all got choked up listening to the story and how the Dad preserved his relationship with his son by lovingly and empathetically setting limits and how his 4-year-old son so thoughtfully responded.