At the very best of times I am paranoid about awful things happening to my loved ones and maybe this is for good reason.
In the past few weeks there has been two stories of attempted kidnapping’s that have made my skin crawl and my sleep disrupted.
On March 4th a 10-year-old boy saved his 12-year-old sister from a paedophile after an SUV pulled up to their house to ask for directions…when the children obliged, a man leapt from the vehicle, grabbing the girl and pulling her screaming into the car. The 10-year-old boy incredibly jumped onto the car window and started punching the driver long enough for the girl to jump out of the moving car. The 34-year-old convicted sex offender was caught.
Today, news has broken with alarming footage of an attempted kidnapping at midday in the small town of Sprague in Washington, USA. A man grabbed a toddler who was playing in a park near the babysitters house with his brother,10, and sister,8. The man talked with the kids for a few minutes and then took the 22-month-old and ran down the street. His siblings ran after him screaming. A near by store owner heard blood curdling screams and then looked out the window to see a man running with a toddler and a girl screaming, ‘the man has got my baby brother’. The store owner then sent her teenage grandson, 15, and his friend, 16, to chase the man. As the older boys got closer the man put the child down in a vacant lot and fled. The man has not yet been found but he was caught on camera. See below for the chilling footage.
This got me thinking (more than usual)…when is the right time to talk to your kids about stranger danger, and that not all people are ‘nice’ and ‘trustworthy’?
I am stuck on the fence of feeling like I will ruin my children’s innocence and making them more aware or leaving them be so they can picture this world as a big beautiful place where they can play and talk to anyone.
Yesterday, I erred on the side of preferring them to worry and not trust ‘everyone’ they meet…I started the talk with my 3-and-a-half year old and already his mind is racing. But…I’m starting to think I’m more comfortable with him being on the side of worry and awareness rather than being completely unaware and naïve.
When is the right time to teach them how to call ‘000’ and to yell out ‘this man is not my daddy’ or how to save their brother or sister?
How have you started this conversation with your kids? Any tips?