Did I start hanging pictures up?
What am I talking about?
That’s how I felt after asking what I thought was a simple question.
This happened several months ago. I thought about posting this story a few times but then I sat on it for a bit longer just to think it over and be sure I was ready to share. I still feel strongly about my position. At the risk of getting attacked again, I would like to know what you think.
We’ve all heard the names Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard and Somer Thompson to name just a few little girls. Their stories all played out differently but the horror is the same. I worry ever minute that my children are not in plain sight. I double-check every door and window each night. I walk to the bus stop every morning. I’ve even copied down a license plate when a vehicle is new to the morning routine. I will smile and be polite to the neighbor and to the gentleman at church and to the friendly stranger in the store but I really try to not let my guard down. In the back of my mind I try to remember that a predator can be anyone anywhere at any time.
I try to teach age appropriate skills and empowerment without becoming a total freak and creating unnecessary stress for my children. I’d like to think that I’m being proactive. We watch kid friendly safety videos and periodically talk about “what to do if…”. When they show signs of being done with the topic, we move on. It’s not like I’m drilling them 24/7.
So, months ago, I went into a local chat room for area Moms. I asked…
“Do any of you know of a business or organization that does role-play to test the street smarts of kids? I periodically discuss safety with my kids and talk about “what if” to give them examples of ways people might try to “trick” them away from school, home or stores and take them but I want to do more. We have watched the “safe side” video and discussed our “really know” and “kinda know” people and all those on our “safe side" list. Kids can be abducted in seconds and I might watch them like a hawk but I don’t really know how they would handle themselves in a real life situation. I was wondering if there was a place where I could hire someone to try and lure one of them away. I really just want to pull out all the stops at giving them all the skills they need to be safe and be smart.”
Here are a few of the replies I received…
“Personally, that might damage them for life! They will still be "living the experience" even though it’s not real.”
“I agree that it might be a bit of overkill-- if not outright dangerous. Stranger abduction, while tragic and much publicized, is very rare.”
“Mark Twain used to say that all the things we worry about are not the things that get us! With all due respect, I would say maybe you should take a chill pill.”
“I do share the same concern as the other poster about it possibly traumatizing your children, especially at their young ages.”
I think after the shock of being “nailed to the wall” wore off, I ended up feeling really sad that so many other mothers seemed to not have any concern over the topic. Do they just have a false sense of security? Am I that overbearing? Is it unrealistic to think that what I see on shows like Dateline or 20/20 might be a service that parents would like to have available to them. Can you do too much to protect children?