You’ve probably heard the popular parental admonition “don’t talk to strangers.” But what to do in situations where a child is in real danger and needs help from a stranger – such as a policeman? Today’s parents are teaching their children a simple rule that can keep them from being kidnapped.
Jodie Norton, a mom of four, recently shared on her blog how one simple lesson saved her two sons. And here’s her first-person story.
Three days ago, while I was in the shower, I felt a sharp pain in my ovary. I miraculously had the strength to get dressed and go with my four children to the local emergency room.
At that moment, when I could barely understand anything because of the pain, I left my older sons, 10-year-old CJ and 8-year-old T-Dawg, outside on a bench waiting for our neighbor, who kindly offered to come get them and take them to school.
Only when my boys got home at 3:30 p.m. did I find out that they were very late for school. I had mistakenly assumed that a neighbor would pick them up from his house, which was five minutes away, but in fact my sons had waited outside the emergency room for 40 minutes. Their story of what happened during that time made me shudder with horror and at the same time insanely proud of them.
While they were sitting on the bench, a girl in the company of two punks came up to them and asked if they could go to the bathroom where her boyfriend was hiding from the doctors and convince him to come out and go for treatment.
Even after C.J. answered “no,” they kept at it.
“Please, you can save his life if you just go into the bathroom and tell him he’s safe,” the girl continued to press.
According to C.J., only after three refusals did the strangers give up and leave. When a neighbor finally came for my boys, they managed to see a fourth stranger come out of the restroom and jump into the car with the first three, and then they drove away.
As my sons told me the story, my eyes grew more and more rounded with amazement.
My anger and shock transformed into immense gratitude. C.J. also said he remembered my advice, which was what had helped them avoid being kidnapped.
“Mom, I knew they were bad people because they asked us to help them. Adults don’t ask children for help.”
“Stop indoctrinating your children that they’re not allowed to talk to strangers,” writes Safely Ever parenting resource editor Patty Fitzgerald. – They may have to talk to a stranger one day. Better teach them how to identify which strangers pose a danger.”
Patty also recommends asking children to remember one simple rule, which Jody’s sons listened to: adults who are not a threat will never ask children for help; they will turn to other adults.
The phrase “forewarned is forearmed” certainly applies to our children as well. We can’t always be there to protect them from trouble, but we can empower them and teach them all they need to do in such situations.
Jody reported the incident to the police, and they took the hospital security footage and opened a case.
This story once again reminds us how important it is to explain to our children how they should behave with strangers and identify those who may pose a real threat among them. One day this knowledge could save your children’s lives!