I've trained all of my kids, you stay in alignment with me - when I move you move, when I turn you turn, when I lean you lean, I stand you stand. You don't see me break so don't you break. For a period of time we were part of an environment where I had to shield my children silently without anyone outside of us being aware because there were things going on beyond what could be physically seen. I couldn't keep them out of the environments...yet. But I still had to shield and cover them so a lot of times I spoke without saying a word, just a look or a seemingly normal to everyone else motion, positioning of myself or quick subtle facial expression. I was constantly talking but only they heard me. Looking back on it it's interesting because I never explained what they should do. All I instilled is when I move, you move - you're following me, always pay attention to what I am doing.
One of the things that happened in this Christmas picture I posted on Facebook where only my oldest and I were smiling was the photographer sent her daughter over to tickle my kids into laughing. One of the things I tell my children is that absolutely no one should EVER be in your personal bubble which is your arm's length or touching you without your permission. I also pause and gauge my outward reactions to ascertain intent before responding to situations as I am not momma bear but momma dragon and it doesn't take much to get me lit, I am extremely protective over my kids. I've even had to stop myself from checking other people's kids to see if their parent will step in first. My vocal cords have been designed by God (to my dismay in my youth but appreciation now) as mid-way between feminine and masculine - it doesn't take much for me to speak with bite as when I speak I usually speak in a direct, to the point manner. I unknowingly adjusted when moving to the states by speaking in a type of sing-song voice as people think I'm mad even when I'm not and there is a certain inference on black women's demeanors. You realize how redic it is when someone reverses into your car and you (already at level zero in patience) start yelling 'how do you reverse without looking!!!' and the dude looks genuinely scared. Really? Yes, I'm yelling - you didn't look AND you are reversing on a pedestrian thoroughfare. Anywho...bringing it back to focus. When the child came over who is either a young teen or preteen I immediately bristled like a porcupine. I didn't say anything but my kids felt it. If I was a hedgehog I would have turned in with them all in center - nothing but spines sticking out. After a couple seconds I handled the situation by simply and 'laughingly' saying 'that won't work' while I adjusted myself by putting my arm around them as if to adjust their position but was really pulling them towards me and creating an line between her and them. I smiled and paused not fixing my gaze on her yet as people usually are pretty perceptive to undertones. With it being clear that I wasn't changing my position and her with nothing to do, she got up. Then I relaxed and took my arms down and told the photographer that it was okay to just take what she could. My oldest goes off of my cues so she relaxed enough to smile but my three are still young and they don't adjust that quickly so they were still wary. It went downhill from there because even though I wanted to try to get a picture with each separately, no one wanted to leave my side.
So what you gonna do? If they had asked I would have told them it was not needed - the way it happened resulted in the result. I take away one of the cores of our family - act calmly and use your thinking brain so you can proceed in the most effective and wise way for the best result.