In light of the story that has made national headlines of Somer Thompson, who was abducted while walking home from school in Florida and killed, I need to revisit with my own children the importance of “stranger-danger”. I don’t believe talking to your child a few times is enough, but I realize I have fallen into the we’ve-talked-about-it-when-she-was-4-years-old-so-she-knows-what-to-do-so-she’ll-be-safe trap. I know I am not alone. I am in no way judging Somer’s mother. I don’t know what she may, or may not have taught her child about stranger-danger. I can only assume that she did talk to her daughter but this monster found some way to get to her baby. She allowed her child to do what all of us should be able to do: let her child walk home from school. Somer even walked home with a group of other kids. One newspaper report I have read is that she got angry at the group, for whatever reason, and ran ahead of them. That was when she was abducted. I have a 7 year old girl and she is moody as hell. I can totally see my daughter doing this exact same thing.
My heart hurts for the Thompson family. I would be out of my mind if a monster took my 7 year old daughter, did God knows what to her, killed her, then dumped her body in a landfill like yesterday’s trash. What Somer’s mother may, or may not have taught her daughter about strangers is irrelevant. Somer is not at fault. Her mother is not at fault. The monster that perpetrated this heinous crime is at fault!
Some parenting blogs have went on the attack criticizing parenting style. Mommy against mommy blogging I call it. When will we realize we are all on the same side? We all want our children to be safe. We just all do it differently. Some have even gone as far as to compare the danger of getting into a car crash to the danger of abduction killings. That is like comparing apples to oranges. One is an accident, the other is called murder.
The important thing to remember is to talk to your kids about stranger-danger. Never ever stop. So, I have pulled out my copy of “The Safe Side” DVD and will be watching it with the girls again. So we can talk and ask questions.
The video is called The Safe Side and it is produced by John Walsh (host of America’s Most Wanted and Julie Clark, the creator of Baby Einstein.) Host Safe Side Superchick walks children through “hot tips to keep cool kids safe with people they don’t know and kinda know”. Kids will laugh as Superchick finds herself in a series of hilarious spoofs.
It’s never too late to have this very important conversation with your child. Do it today!
I have faith that there are more good people out there in the world who would NEVER hurt my child than monsters who would. The odds of being abducted are minute; the media loves to try and scare parents into making us feel like this is much more the rule than the exception. The statistics show that usually, when children are abducted, it is by someone they know and trust! So you are right, it is important to review the dark parts of reality, but don’t dwell on them – let your kids walk and bike and run and jump. They will be okay!
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