How do we teach kids to protect themselves? Tips from Safely Ever After

by leeroseemery on April 18, 2011

Moms Talk: Empowering Kids to Protect Themselves. This article I wrote originally appeared in The Hollywood Patch. Tips re-printed with permission from Safely Ever After.

Clustered in my email inbox among offers for daily deals and my kids’ games schedules was a disturbing email blast from a diligent fellow mom.

The gist: There had been an attempted kidnapping at Beeman Park in Studio City. A letter from Carpenter Community Charter School’s principal was attached in the email, making it all seem quite official and legitimate.

My first thought was, “Beeman Park! We go to Beeman Park.” I thought of how while I am there watching one child on the play structure, the other runs into the fields or off to the training equipment (where technically kids are not supposed to go).

Most times I have my eyes on the kids, but when I am with another mom and we start chatting, it is more of a checking-in that occurs. It’s a quick glance up from our conversation and a look around, a “Where are they now? Oh, there, I see” kind of rhythm.

After reading the email, I lamented, realizing that this level of supervision is clearly not enough. My mind started racing. My kids will be within eye contact at all times from now on, or better yet, arm’s length. Or maybe we’ll just play in our yard for the rest of their lives!

The principal’s letter described what had allegedly happened. Two boys had been playing basketball and a man had asked them if they wanted to see his sleeping dog in the car. The children got away and reported the incident to one of their parents who was standing nearby. What would my kids have done? The sleeping dog thing sounded odd. I have heard of puppies being lures, or candy and ice cream. (Or maybe I just watch too many cop shows.) But my kids do love animals and candy. The whole thing was incredibly disturbing.

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