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Sunday, May 29, 2011

the talk you never want to have with your child

Last week there was an attempted abduction of a 3rd grade child waiting for the school bus in the town over from ours.

Apparently a strange man pulled up to her, opened the passenger door and tried to coax her to get in.  THANK GOD the girl knew not to and ran to the house to get her mother who called the police.

Here is the article in case you are interested:

It isn't as though I don't know that these things happen.  When I was a child there was that widely covered event of that little boy named Adam who was abducted and was missing for a long time and eventually his body was found.  His father went on to host that show "America's Most Wanted." There was a movie made about it and, for some reason, I was allowed to watch it and it absolutely terrified and haunted me.  I even knew the details of how he had been murdered.  The idea that someone might try to take me plagued my mind as a child.

To be honest, we have never had the "don't talk to strangers" talk with Ella.  She barely talks to the people we know well, so it never seemed like a conversation to have. (Maya, on the other hand, we are having fitted for a harness and leash so we can wait a few years on the talk with her.)  To be completely honest, I don't want to tell my child about these parts of the world. I don't want her to be afraid and to expect bad things from people she doesn't know. I don't want her to know about war and world hunger and pedophiles.

But she is braver than she used to be.  So brave that this morning she and Maya and Emerson managed to unlock the three safety locks on her bedroom window and climb out onto the ROOF to collect pine needles.

 (They came downstairs to ask if they could sew the pine needles together to make something.  I said, "Pine needles!  You didn't get them on the roof did you? Ha ha ha!"  To my utter horror, they informed me they had.)

We finally sat down to talk about it with her.  We asked her if she was playing in the yard and a man came up to her that she didn't know and asked her to come with him what she would do.  (I was truly curious to know her response.)  She shrugged and said, "I guess I would just keep on playing and ignore him."


We took the tact of factual information:  what had happened to the girl waiting for the bus, how if anyone ever asked her to come with him/her that she should immediately start yelling and run for us even if it was neighbor through the woods who said he had something to show her, that we would never send anyone to pick her up that she didn't know and if she was told that by a stranger that it was not true, that while the world is full of good people there are a few that are not good and try to take children (gulp) but it is very, very rare for that to happen, and that she and Maya are the most important things in the world to us and there could be nothing worse than someone taking one of them..

I am shaking while I write this.  It is viscerally painful to think about any of it.

Ella looked appropriately frightened without being traumatized.  I told her that if someone tells her she has on a pretty dress in the grocery store and I am right there with her that she can smile and speak to that person. She doesn't need to be afraid of people.  She just needs to know what to watch out for. 

And now can we please go back to the bubble?

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