Sydney & Denny

Sydney & Denny
September at the Park

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Protecting my kids!

What would I do?
The other day we encountered a situation that has me really thinking, and I would really like to share it with anyone out there that I can. It has me thinking about what I would do if something ever were to happen to either of my kids. And by something, I mean them being taken. Let me tell you first about what took place. When I pick my little girl up from school, she ALWAYS asks to go to this park right down the street from the school. Every single day she asks. Most days, I say yes. How can I say no to my little girl? I really can't. She's only four, about to be five, but I'm already wrapped right around her pretty little finger. I don't mind either.
Anyways, back to my point. We walked into the park and I could see a guy at the picnic tables with his shirt off and a bunny on the table. Okay, I know what you're probably saying, and yes it is pretty presumptuous to think that just because a guy has a bunny that he's a dirtball. Well, that's not the problem in my eyes. Who goes to a kids park in the middle of freaking October and takes his shirt off in 50 degree weather? And has a bunny? Did I mention that he just looked like a dirtball? In fact that is what we are going to call him from here on out, Dirtball. So, I had took the kids a little out of the way to get to the castle part that they really like with all the slides and swings and good stuff. We played for a while before I decided to take them for a walk so I could get some exercise as well. As we were walking from the park to start our walk, Dirtball walked into our path. I could see that he was a younger, skinnier guy, but still a dirtball all the same. And one that I could whup if I had to as well. By this time he must have realized that being shirtless at this time of year is not wise because he now had some dirty concert t-shirt on, and was carrying his bunny while trying to adjust his camera phone. He walked right up and asked my daughter if she wanted to pet his bunny. Before I could tell her not to, she stepped up and pet that little sucker. My son on the other hand, was hiding behind me. I watched REALLY closely to make sure Dirtball didn't snap any pics of my kids. Well, that was the end of the encounter, but I thought that it could make a really good teaching point.
What age is right to talk about this?
As we continued on our walk I took the time to tell my daughter that it was not okay to talk to strangers if Mommy or I wasn't around. And, that it was really not okay to pet someones pet just because they ask you to. I found that it was kind of hard to get my point across to a four year old without totally freaking her out. Maybe that's what I want to do though. But, do I want her to live her life completely freaked out all of the time? No, not really. 
I find it really sad that we live in a time that we have to be wary of everyone we meet. The fact is Dirtball could be a really cool dude who just happened to be warm and have a bunny, but my point remains. I have always been kind of wary of people, and now that I have kids, well let's just say if I don't know you, don't talk to my kids unless I give the okay. I know that's pretty jaded, but that's the time we live in. When I was growing up, it was really different. If you had a problem and your parents weren't there, you could ask a stranger for help and not have to worry about ending up on a milk carton. I lived in a really small town though where we all knew each other, so stranger is a relative term. I just worry that I can get my point across to my daughter now before something bad happens. She seems to be very trusting, so I worry that she is going to get taken. Speaking of Taken, I have included a clip of that movie here. 
I would love to be like Liam Neeson's character in that movie and have "a particular set of skills." If I had those skills, I could protect my kids in ways that I can't now. I would feel safer about them going out into the world without me. I guess if it's possible for me not to worry about them that is. 
What are your thoughts on this? Am I too jaded and wary, or am I justified in worrying all the time? I really look forward to some feedback on this because sometimes I think that I'm not protective enough.
Thanks and have a great night. 


  1. Tough one. I'm the same way, though. I grew up in a town with only one stop sign controlling traffic...if you could call it traffic. :D

    Now I live in a big city full of a bunch of shady characters. I'm sure 99% of the people here would never do anything to harm my family, but 1% is all it takes. And 1% of 770000 people (the population where I live) is 7700 people. That's 7700 people to many for me.

    You can never be too careful. Somehow we have to teach them to be aware and be smart, but not be scared...

  2. Thanks Jared, but you just made me worry more! That's about the size of our town and if I have to worry about than many people, holy crap! I think I'm keeping my kids home with me forever. Wrapped in bubble wrap. With helmets and bulletproof vests. Seriously, I agree that awareness is our best ally in this situation. Oh, I really can't use the Vader mask; I couldn't see a thing out of it. Not sure how they planned on selling any of those.

  3. First: Breathe a little deeper. Most of the kids on those milk cartons were taken by a non-custodial parent. That's one worry you don't have. There are random scumballs, but they're not as plentiful as the news makes it seem.

    Second: Take a page from my husband. He teaches our kids a hodgepodge of every martial art he's ever studied, in particular grappling and self-defense. He tailors things a little to suit each kid's tendencies. He's even developed a few moves especially for someone who's dealing with an opponent twice their size (or more). He makes it fun, he makes it Daddy Time, and at the same time, our kids will have those skills if they ever need to use them. In fact, our son (7) has already used a trapping maneuver to stop a punch thrown at him by a bully. (And yeah, that was awesome.)

  4. Nina, thanks for the advise. I have been thinking about getting my kids into some martial arts classes. I think if they could defend themselves it would make me breath a lot easier.