Protecting the Homefront

ColinBroug / stock.xchng

Uno is worried about being kidnapped.


I blame myself for that fear – when we went on our vacation our travels took us through two large, international airports and I talked seriously to the big girls about staying right with us and watching out for the little girls in our group. After all, when you’re traveling with five children aged 6 and under, caution is not a bad thing.


I didn’t expect the idea of kidnapping to get into her head, however. The past three weeks she’s asked almost every day what I would do in different situations. For example:


“Mommy, if someone tried to take me away from you in a mall, what would you do?”


I stop what I’m doing and look her straight in the eye. “I would try to kill them. You are my daughter, I love you, and will not let anyone hurt you if there is anything I can do to stop it.”


We’ve gone through many, many variations of this conversation.


I don’t consider myself a violent person, and truthfully, my physical strength is somewhere along the “weakling” range. But I guarantee, if anyone threatened my children or my husband, they had better expect to tangle with a mama bear.


I’m a pretty good shot with a rifle. Better than average.


This morning I ran errands with the girls. As we were pulling away from the bank, I heard Uno’s voice from the back seat of the Suburban, “Mommy, if someone came to our car and tried to steal us, I would unbuckle [from my car seat] and punch them in the nose.”


(This is coming from the child who was begging us to throw the mullet back in the ocean so no fish would die and spent a lot of time with a boiled shrimp cupped in her hand, wondering if it was ethical to eat it since it might have been a mommy.)


Uno sniffed with self-satisfaction. “It’s just not nice to steal children.”


I feel guilty that she knows there are people who steal children, but I’m glad she is recognizing there is a time to fight and a time to be peaceful.


I would like to live in a world where the most harm that could come is a skinned knee. I know I’m paranoid, but I think it’s foolish to believe there aren’t people truly motivated by evil, who, given the right opportunity, wouldn’t hesitate to hurt our children.


Jerry Sandusky, anyone? Michael Reagan, President Reagan’s son, the victim of child pornography? The recent case regarding a father’s accidental murder of the man assaulting his five-year-old daughter? Priests who abuse the trust of their congregations?


These things shouldn’t happen. They’re wrong. But they do happen and it’s foolish to pretend they can’t possibly happen to us when the statistics say, conservatively, that in the U.S. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are victims of sexual assault before the age of 20.


A child who fights against an attacker is overwhelmingly more likely to escape abduction or assault. It’s just not worth it for the attacker. It’s very powerful to teach kids that fighting is ok in specific circumstances.


I believe it’s important to instill a sense of respect in our children for the adults around them, but I also want them to know they can trust their gut instincts.


This article gives some great tips for how parents can help their children protect themselves, in addition I have a few things I’m working to teach our kids:


  • Sleepovers aren’t happening
  • We won’t force them to hug anyone they don’t want to touch
  • Their bodies are special and shouldn’t be touched or seen by others
  • We will notice and talk about potentially scary situations, environments, and activities
  • They will know how to punch someone in the throat and poke their eyes out


What are some ways you safe guard yourself or your children?

Facebook Comments

5 thoughts on “Protecting the Homefront

  • June 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

    We’ve recently started discussing these same issues with C. It’s so hard to break the news to them that the world isn’t necessarily a friendly place and that the “bad guys” do win sometimes. We’ve told her if ANYONE who is not “her adult” picks her up, she should scream, bite, kick, and hit until they put her down. She repeats this at random times. I don’t want her to be afraid of all strangers, and I like that she’s super friendly, but I worry that her outgoing dispostion will make her an easy target. Such a difficult, yet important, thing to address.

    • June 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Sound very wise of you!

  • June 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Excellent points. Damien has always kept a baseball bat in his room, and been given the explicit direction that if anyone comes in the house that he doesn’t know, he swings that bat until they stop moving. At 210 lbs and 5 foot 6 at 11 years old, he swings a mighty big bat, and he always swings for the fence.

    • June 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Don’t you feel like a rat telling them to do that? And don’t you feel like you have no choice?? What if the unthinkable happened and it was partially because you’d taught them not to fight any adult, even when the adult was wrong?

      Such a hard situation…

  • June 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I guess this article and attached comments mean well, but I don’t see kidnapping or sexual abuse of young children being solved by violence. The mother who responded to this column sounds like a mayor of a small Alaskan town. There is a program called, “Good Touch, Bad Touch” that handles the kidnapping/abuse problem very well. And it doesn’t talk about scratching eyes out, base ball bats, or shot guns.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: