That's the world we used to live in, or at least the world that I grew up in. As children, we could go out and play, we could ride our bikes, walk to the park and we could do it all with out the constant supervision of out parents. I'm not saying the threat of danger wasn't there, it's always been there but wasn't as prevalent as it is these days. I can't turn on the news without hearing about at least 2 of these 3 things, a shooting/stabbing has occurred, another drug bust has happened, or a crime against a child has happened. It's sad, really sad. What is happening to the world around us, by world I mean people?
I am sad that I am being forced to be "that mom," the mom that always tells my son "no" when he wants to go somewhere on his own. The mom that will hear the words "I hate you" or "you suck" because my son isn't going to be aloud to meet his friends at the park or mall or wherever it is he wants to go without me right there with him, supervising him because it isn't safe. I'm worried that Alex isn't going to get to experience childhood they he was meant to because in all honesty, society is just not set up for that to happen anymore. As a child myself safety tips seemed to be pretty easy. We all know the coined phrase "stranger danger", we knew that if we were threatened, scared, or worried, we could always approach a uniformed officer for help. These days, things aren't as simple. With the recent rash of stolen uniforms and the availability of uniform wannabes on the Internet, its hard enough for us to tell a fake when we see it let alone a child. Recently, in my hometown a homeless man was arrested for impersonating a park ranger at a local park. He was approaching children and telling them they were pretty and asked for a hug and a kiss, he told them he wanted to see them again sometime. Making their mama's proud, they ran home and told their parents everything that happened and the real authorities were called. This man was in a uniform that should say to children that he is safe. Once arrested, it turns out this isn't the first incident with this man, he's been in and out of jail since he was 18 with similar crimes against children. He's only 21 so how much time has he really served for these terrible crimes he's doing, has he only received a slap on the wrist and send back out in the world to keep on doing what he does? This hit too close to home. My husband and I have been to that park, we've ridden our bikes along the bike path straight through it.
So, what do we do about it? We need to teach ourselves the safety and prevention tips so that we can teach our children. Alex is still young (almost 14 months) so I have plenty of time to get him "stranger danger" ready. My goal is to have my son "stranger danger" ready by the time he is 4, I will burn every safety tip I can think of/find into his brain! But I can't help but worry about it never being enough. My world is my son and I will do everything and anything possible to protect him from the darkness that seems to be taking over too many in our society.
I came across this website, Savvy Parents, Savvy Kids. It's really a great website and I recommend you check it out. It offers many many resources including safety and prevention lists and a wonderful list of books to ready, broken down into age groups. Here is a safety list from the website about prevention , very very insightful:
Get the ball rolling on your safety plan with these easy prevention tips!
- Let your child know if they ever get lost a SAFE grown up will not take them anywhere, but will STAY PUT with the child and find them help.
- Grown ups: DO NOT TRANSPORT a lost child anywhere! Stay with the child and enlist the help of another adult.
- Remind Kids: Adults don’t ask kids for help. Adults get help from other adults.
- Kids should stay away from anyone asking them to approach their car (especially if they don’t know them).
- Watch and listen. If your child is avoiding being around a particular person, such as a babysitter, peer, relative, or family friend, don’t force them. Kids pick up “ red flags” before adults sometimes!
- Test your kids safety knowledge by checking their skills with “What if?” scenarios
- Give your child power over their own body Do not force kids to hug or kiss another person. Kids should decide for themselves how they want to express affection.
- Always trust your “gut” and let your child know its ok for them to trust theirs.
- Talk openly and often about your safety expectations and rules.
- Keep your safety conversations brief, to the point and don’t use scare tactics (they don’t work).
- Have safety books available in your home for your kids to read.
- Model safe behavior in front of your children.
- Talk with other adults and report suspicious behavior. (Did ya know..The average pedophile will commit 200 sex crimes before being caught. !!. Whoa.)
Do you any tips you would add? I really would like to know what steps you are/plan on taking to keep your kids safe and instill "stranger danger" in them.
Thanks in advance for all your feedback! Have a super great day :)