Our expert says:
Interesting description of a problem that isn't rare. Of course excessive stranger fear is usually more of a problem. By 3 years one should be starting to teach her many things about how life works, including a need for caution with strangers, because some are not nice, even if some others are nice. Getting into the guy's car sounds a bit excessive - does she especially like travelling in cars, and doesn't get much of that in her ordinary life ?
Teaching wariness is wise. It should be enough, and if it isn't then we can think of more direct and explicit responses. I think you're right that as she grew up at a crucial stage with multiple caregivers, all safe, but none her special person, she has come to expect all other people to be friendly and safe. Without making her fearful of anyone but you, one just needs to patiently underline that she should talk to, much less go along with, anyone else EXCEPT if you have said it's OK. Actually, a similar approach to that one would take regarding strange dogs - don't pet them at all, unless Mom says this one is OK
I think there was a character, Blanche, in the great Tennessee Williams play, Streetcar named Desire, who said in its closing line : "I have always depended on the kindness
of strangers". Maybe that's what misled her, and it may take a little while for her to re-calibrate
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