This may seem like a silly topic to be flustered about but I genuinely did not want to have this conversation with my children. As a parent, we like to keep our children safe and un aware of the danger around them. We feel that we have enough super hero in our blood to keep them protected at all times. Unfortunately this is just not the case.
On a recent trip out with my family, my daughter decided she wanted to be at the front of the group of children while a cast member was reading a story, without letting us know, she just went. My immediate thought was that it was no big deal, she is sitting around other children and enjoying the story. Then anxiety stricken super hero mom kicked in and I panicked.
What if there was a pedifile near by and they grab her hand and whisk her away before I can get to her? What if there is a gunman that enters the building and my daughter doesn’t have me next to her to take the bullets? What if a stranger offers her a piece of candy that is contaminated with drugs? What if someone tells her to come with them and she goes? Yes I probably watch way too much news and click on every frightening story that shows up on my Facebook feed, but this is the world we are living in now.
I don’t want to watch a piece of my child’s innocence disappear from her. In her little mind everyone is her friend, everyone is the same and everyone is kind. She is one part of this world that is completely pure, but the conversation about strangers could save her life one day. I tossed and turned for many nights trying to produce the right words to use in explaining strangers to both of my children. I came up empty, everything that came to mind seemed too scary.
One morning I finally just decided to sit them down and have the conversation. These are the facts that I shared:
- If we do not know the person, they are considered a stranger.
- Never go with anyone that we do not know.
- If someone tries to take you, scream, kick, bite, do anything you can to get free.
- Never take candy, food, toys, anything from strangers.
- Do not ever leave mom or dad’s side without permission.
- If something ever does happy and we are seperated, find a police officer or fireman and they will help you.
Of course they both cried because it is a scary topic but when I was done, I was glad the subject was out there. They had questions and came up with scenarios that we addressed. We spent time learning our family phone numbers and addresses as well as everyone’s full names.
There are so many conversations that as a parent we have to have with our children. The anxiety that surrounds them will never get easier but the topics have to be discussed. Yes my children grew up a bit that day but they are a tiny bit safer now that they know.