Stranger Danger…

Today, my heart is in two. I’m looking around at the world I’m raising my children in, and it breaks my heart to see all this devastation and danger around, and it makes me fear for my children and their safety.

All the terror events that have happened in this year alone, and the terrible tragedy that’s struck Barcelona this week show a global scale of just how awful the world is getting, but it’s not just global disasters that I fear for my kids safety. We read and watch documentaries of children being abducted and taken in broad daylight, and for those moments we’re totally engrossed and fear that this could happen to our children one day. And then the documentary finishes, we go about our daily lives again thinking, “How awful for that child and family, but it won’t happen to us.” And then it does, almost. Never in my life did I expect anything to happen so close to home. Literally.

I was scrolling through my Facebook yesterday, when I came across my local news stations headline about a man who was indecently exposing himself at a local children’s park near us. “Ugh, Gross. What is wrong with people?” I thought. I then saw a friend had commented on it, so I decided to read the article. Not only was this man indecently exposed, (twice,) he was also going to be charged with the attempt of taking a child under the age of 16. She was 7, and my friends daughter. Thankfully, he was unsuccessful and the little girl is safe. But the potential for what could have unfolded doesn’t even bear to think about.

I know the park well, I’ve spent a good few hours there with my two, it is a two second walk from Lily’s school. It’s right next to a nursery, a quiet road on one side and a housing estate on the other. To think that someone is so disgusting to try and take a child in broad daylight is just wrong on so many levels. But we have to think about it, because these attacks and attempts to take our children are becoming more and more common. Our children are having their childhoods robbed of them, and as a parent I fear to ever let them out of my sight.

I lose sleep running scenarios in my head of what I would/could do if this ever happened to either of my children, but I shouldn’t have to. I’m angry at those who are ruining what should be a happy and innocent time for our children and us as parents raising them. We should be able to let them enjoy swinging, sliding and running around carefree without the niggling thoughts in our heads that someone at the park could be a danger to them.

Stranger Danger has been around for as long as I can remember, we were taught not to talk to strangers, or to follow strangers who offered us sweeties or told us they knew our parents – and to most definitely NOT get into a white van or any car with them. And now? I feel as though I can’t even let my children wave hello to the old dear down the road without questioning his/her morals for wanting to say hello to them. Don’t even get me started on online grooming, that’s for another day. – But not all strangers are out to get others, how do you teach your children the difference between a ‘nice stranger’ and ‘someone who wants to harm them?’ 

It’s ridiculous. I don’t want to be that parent who won’t let her children walk to the corner shop or go to the park with their friends when they’re older without me, but when events like this are becoming more frequent, you start to question what is best for them. My two are both too young to be left alone right now, but it’s never too early to start thinking of how to help and protect them when it comes to the time when you’re out of sight. Of course, we’ll teach them as much as we can to ensure they are confident and mature enough to be out and about without an adult, and teach them what to do should  something like this ever happen, but it’s sad we have to do it for reasons such as this.

I’m just grateful this story has a positive outcome, and I hope the bastard gets his comeuppance.

The world is a dark place. It may be the case that it always has been and as an adult I’m now unravelling just how awful it is, or it really is becoming worse. Either way, I will be teaching my children how to be the rays of sunshine we so desperately need.

So what can we do to help protect our children?

  1. Never let them go out alone. Make sure they have a friend or family member with them at all times. The more there are, the safer they’ll be.
  2. If they’re old enough for a mobile phone, get them to call or text you once they have arrived at their destination, and again when they’re leaving to come home.
  3. Teach your children your home address and phone number.
  4. Teach them how to use 999 to call the police for emergencies. – Even if they don’t have a phone but are near a shop, teach them to run and ask to borrow their phones or get them to call the police for them.
  5. Don’t let them out after dark. Arrange curfews for them.
  6. Read through this article on strangers by the National Crime Prevention Council and explain who is a ‘safe stranger’ and what to do in the event of a dangerous situation.

What would you add to the list? Do you have any protective measures in place for your kids?

Becky x

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

18 Comments

  1. August 18, 2017 / 10:55 am

    It is a terrifying world 🙁 But I think it probably always has been, we just hear about it more these days. I know what you mean about your kids wanting to say hello to people and you not being sure – we live in a nice little area where everyone says good morning to each other, so my 3 year old son likes to do the same. It’s difficult to find that balance of letting them know they can be friendly and sociable, and that most people are lovely, without letting them become complacent and know to keep themselves safe. #blogstravaganza

    • August 18, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Yeah, I thought perhaps that was the case. Becoming an adult sucks doesn’t it? See that’s lovely! We say hello to some people we see everyday on the school run, or the neighbours as we pass into town etc. But like you say, we can’t let them become complacent with it. x

  2. Mummy Cat
    August 18, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    I did read a while ago that we are more likely to be harmed by a friend of the family or a family member, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that strangers are also a part of the problem, I think a good way that I have heard being used in the case of rapists is that if you look at them, and make contact.. talk etc, they will back down.. mainly because before to them you are their prey but now that youve contacted them they loose interest..

    I am a very anxious person, i get worried when my children run off outside the school gates.. even surrounded by people i know.

    I am glad your friends little girl is okay! i cant even begin to imagine

    • August 18, 2017 / 3:06 pm

      Yeah I’ve heard that about friends/family too, it’s the trust and “our little secret” bull.
      That’s good to know about rapists though, I hadn’t heard that before! Just can’t believe we’re having this conversation!!
      I know, me too! X

  3. August 18, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    It’s hard to teach children about stranger danger if a stranger is able to call them by their names. I wrote about it in a post (http://wp.me/p8Rd4s-8L) from both a teacher and a mother perspectives. Let’s try and make it harder for the wronguns! Not easier!

    It’s also hard to juggle between being the right level of protective as a parent. Ofc we want them to enjoy their childhoods as many of us were able to but now, through social media, it’s easier to see the negative in such a large population.

    Glad for the happy ending here!

    • August 18, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      Definitely, kids are so easily manipulated.

      That’s my struggle now, I don’t want to be overbearing on them, but if I have to be to protect them I will. X

  4. August 19, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    It really is a terrifying world that we live in, I too lose sleep over everything you’ve discussed here. Such great tips on keeping our littles safe too. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    • August 19, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      Horrible isn’t it? Like we get enough sleep as parents anyway haha, add this on top it’s amazing we aren’t all insomniacs! xx

  5. diynige
    August 19, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    It’s a hard world today but probably no tougher than when we kids we just know in a second nowadays what’s happening great read Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

    • August 20, 2017 / 10:54 am

      Yeah I suppose Social Media has a big role to play in all of news sharing!

    • August 21, 2017 / 9:38 pm

      So much scarier! I never really appreciated it until I became the protector as such! X

  6. August 20, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Stranger danger was a big thing when I was a kid but I don’t know if it is any more. The world is a scary place and I think children need to be made aware of dangers but not too scared. I think parents are more anxious due to the easy availability of news. I won’t let my children play in the street without an adult. Thanks for linking up to #Blogstravaganza

    • August 23, 2017 / 9:31 am

      I think that’s probably part of the problem, we have such easy access to the news now that any disturbance is all over social media before anyone knows any real substance of the story! – I do think they need to be more active about it in schools and teach the kids a bit more about it all, like you say, educate not scare them!

  7. August 21, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    scary stuff. The statistics say that this is a very rare occurrence, but we’ve all heard stories, had something like this happen nearby.. Its hard to find a balance #thatfridaylinky

    • August 21, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Yeah, it’s one of those things – best to be safe than sorry! Stats are a good indication, but like you say – we’ve all heard stories so it’s happening somewhere at some point! You just never expect it on your doorstep z

  8. August 25, 2017 / 10:28 am

    Every day the world brings us something new and terrifying. Teaching our children the basics of stranger danger without scaring the pants off them is such a fine line to walk. Thank you for these tips! #ThatFridayLinky xo

    • August 25, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      It’s such a fine line isn’t it?! But it has to be walked from time to time, I just hope these tips can help someone else! x

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