6 answers

Advice on Asking a Man to Stop Tickling My Daughter

Hello everyone. I take my daughter to a preschool/daycare four days a week. There is a sweet (very much a nice person and not a creep, I promise!) man who is usually at the front door, awaiting the busses that bring the older kids. He holds the door for us and is always courteous and says something nice to my daughter. In the last few weeks he will lean down and give her a tiny one-second "tickle" on her tummy, which always makes her laugh. However, last week my husband took her to school and she asked him to carry her in, so that the man wouldn't tickle her. My husband did, and of course told our daughter that she should always tell us if anyone does something she does not like. I am the one who usually takes her to school, so I realize that I must be direct and tell the man not to tickle her. I guess I would just like any advice or pointers -- anyone been in this situation? I want him to understand that I don't think he was being creepy in the least -- however, I think it's also really important to send the message to my daughter that I respect what she tells us and that we take it seriously, even if it's a "little" thing like this. Thank you!

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More Answers

I agree that it is a good lesson for her to learn how to say, "I don't like that. Don't do that to me", but she may be too shy since it is a grown-up (and grown-ups are SUPPOSED to know better than to touch someone's child without the parent's permission!) But, I think this is a bigger problem that one child, one tickle.

If you can preempt the touch, by having your daughter place her hand over her belly, ready to say, "No, don't tickle me." and then you reinforce that by saying to the adult, directly but discreetly, "Please don't tickle my child." that might work. But, he may continue to tickle her on other days or tickle other kids.

So, I would absolutely have a word with the director. It sounds like this person is perhaps part of the staff, no? He needs to know RIGHT NOW, that is never OK to tickle a child with whom you have NO relationship and outside of any context that could be seen as appropriate. Does he tickle all kids? Just the girls?

This is a red flag. You should say something. Sorry this man is making your daughter uncomfortable!

Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


I think you have gotten good advice about asking the man to stop and empowering your dtr to also speak up for herself. Although you say the man is not creepy I still don't think it is appropriate for a stranger to tickle any child and I agree with the other mom who is a teacher. The daycare center should not allow a man to hang outside thier facility.

2 moms found this helpful

It's a good learning opportunity for you to have her practice saying what she wants directly. "Please don't tickle me again." Even if she is too shy to say it to him directly this time, it's great practice. I've practiced all sorts of similar role-plays with my sons, but more directed at play with their peers. "I don't want to play that game." "Please stop, I don't like that" "That is a mean thing to say, please stop." and so on. At least then they know the direct language. I think we adults often model very indirect communications in our interactions, so kids don't always know the simple language to use.

I think it's very common for us parents who spend a lot of time volunteering at school to give friendly touches to the kids we get to know. I know it's not out of the ordinary for me to give a kid a quick tickle, but I'm a mom so probably no one would ever think anything of it. So, I feel sympathy for the other dad. If your daughter doesn't feel comfortable telling him herself, just say, "Jane tells me she doesn't want to be tickled at school anymore. But she likes knock-knock jokes" or something friendly and light like that.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi S.,

This is obviously a very uncomfortable situation. But I honestly believe you have answered your own question. Though the tickling makes her laugh she really dosen't like it.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not saying that this man is creepy. However, creepy sick men do not have to necessarily look or act creepy. No stranger should tickle your daughter. And if your daughetr is feeling creeped out by this then tell him not to do that anymore you do not have to explain yourself to him in fact I would tell him that it makes her feel uncomfortable. You never know.

1 mom found this helpful

Well...I might be off the mark here, but I would call up the preschool/daycare and find out why they're letting a stranger hang outside the place. He might not be creepy, but still that behavior is sort of odd in my opinion. I'm shocked that a childcare place would allow someone not affiliated with their school/care center to just loiter near their facility.

I may be in the minority here, but just my opinion. As a teacher, anyone who hangs out at where children are but has no official business being there...well, that's just weird to me.

1 mom found this helpful

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