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Can anyone explain why a (relatively) well-behaved 5 year old would suddenly decide to run across a road despite being told that a car was coming??

(15 Posts)
ceebeegeebies Mon 17-Oct-11 19:01:12

Me and DH are baffled tbh! DS1 can be a little monkey sometimes but does seem to have some grasp of road safety and I can usually trust him to walk to and from school without having to hold my hand at all times.

However, today, me and DH were messing about with DS2 who was refusing to either sit in the pushchair or walk which meant he was just hanging out of the pushchair instead hmm. We had both seen this car coming so told DS1 to stay next to us on the pavement and not to move....cue 10 seconds later, DS1 suddenly deciding to dart across the road for no apparent reason! Fortunately the car was moving very slowly and the driver could stop but still...me and DH were furious with DS1 and have no idea what possessed him.

Can anyone give me an insight into the psyche of a 5.3 year old to explain such behaviour??

whomovedmychocolate Mon 17-Oct-11 19:04:37

I suspect you were paying attention to DS2 and he wanted that attention back. Who knows, I have a five year old who is totally random sometimes too. Mine suddenly screams for no apparent reason hmm

Glad he was okay though. Suspect he will not repeat this performance if you yelled loud enough at him! wink

activate Mon 17-Oct-11 19:04:43

he's 5

he's growing in independence

he has no idea of consequences

if he has no SN he is well past the age of a pushchair

activate Mon 17-Oct-11 19:05:07

hahahahahahahaaha at self, apologies to OP for misread

Miggsie Mon 17-Oct-11 19:07:07

5 year olds have the attention span of a concussed newt, they live in the now, they have no sense of cause and effect.

Don't expect a 5yo to be told something once and retain it, it takes about 5000 times.

DD once did this as she wanted to see the train go by the level crossing, that erased all other thoughts from her mind.
A kind man caught her as she ran across and I was sobbing in gratitude. It wasn't my finest hour.

They are just not mature enough to understand fully about road safety yet, my DD (5) is very sensible on the whole but I wouldn't trust her not to walk into roads from time to time if not surpervised, she did it the other week. She is also not reliably obedient every time, and does not understand the full consequences of being hit by a car.

I helped at my DS's school doing road safety training recently (Yr 2) and they were all wandering into the road, it was a nightmare. The official man said they cannot reliably judge car speeds etc till they are about 10.

MrsJasonBourne Mon 17-Oct-11 19:08:47

They also like to test mummy and daddy at regular occurences just to make sure you're paying attention, and they will pick the worst time to do it.

Glad he's ok.

noblegiraffe Mon 17-Oct-11 19:12:14

How did you frame it? As a teacher we are told to frame commands positively rather than negatively. E.g. say 'Walk calmly in the corridor' rather than 'Don't run in the corridor' as saying 'Don't run' will just put the thought of running into their head.

Although he could have just spotted something that interested him on the other side of the road and forgotten himself.

Yama Mon 17-Oct-11 19:12:25

I ran out in front of a car aged 7 and was knocked over. Sustained quite serious injuries. I thought I could get to the other side before the car came near me.

Children don't have the ability to judge speed and distance and work out how soon a car will get to where they are.

I can't answer the question of why he did it today but I would imagine he wasn't thrillseeking or deliberately trying to get run over (if that's what you are worried about).

Arion Mon 17-Oct-11 19:13:11

5 is too young to trust near a road. Someone I worked with's DS ran out into the road at age 9, was with a friend and didn't think. He was ok, but he was (and is) a very sensible lad.

catsareevil Mon 17-Oct-11 19:16:07

It possible that he thought that you were underestimating his speed, and he was trying to prove to you that he could be quicker than the car.

thisisyesterday Mon 17-Oct-11 19:16:08

not enough impulse control. that's my guess.
add that to their inability to really gauge speed/distance and you have yourself a road-crosser.

glad he was ok.

Northernlurker Mon 17-Oct-11 19:18:45

I agree he is simply too young to universally remember how to behave near a road - especially if he's annoyed that you were both focused on his brother.
You were right to be angry with him. Road/car park safety cannot be emphaised enough imo as it is basically the most dangerous place for yong dcs. However this didn't happen because you or he made a deliberate decision to do or not do something. It happened because he is young. I would be inclined to keep a close grip on him (literally and metaphorically). When crossing with dd3 (4) I get her to look and tell me when it is ok for me to cross (whilst I am holding her hand). This gets her looking and thinking and means she isn't going to just wander on whilst thinking about something else.

ceebeegeebies Mon 17-Oct-11 20:41:05

Thanks everyone smile

I know he is too young to be trusted on the road and I always make him hold my hand when crossing roads and I am always very wary every time we walk anywhere but I literally took my eyes off him for a second to sort out DS2 - it is like they sense it isn't it? grin

He uses to be a 'bolter' when he was younger so I know what he is capable of but he hasn't done a runner for at least a year so I thought he had grown out of it.

Also, it was on a very quiet cul-de-sac just below our house so maybe we weren't as careful as we were - I guess if we had been on the main road, we would have made sure one of us had hold of him.

Ah well, am so glad the driver was paying attention and a lesson learnt for all of us.

ReebleBeeble Tue 18-Oct-11 16:24:24

Funnily enough I did exactly this when I was his age, OP!

A family friend said "Okay, when I say go, go." Id misheard and thought he'd said "Okay, when I say go.... GO!" and just walked out into oncoming traffic on hearing the second 'go'. I panicked and ran, causing a near pile up and got a thrashing when the family friend caught up. I never knew why I was in trouble until much later!

Theres a million reasons why might have done it, but I think the most important thing is to explain exactly why he shouldnt have done that and why you were so scared and angry. He may not know! But Im sure you've already done that :D

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