One of my worst fears as a young parent was that one of my boys would “get lost.” My oldest son wasn’t scared of anything or anyone. He was so friendly and would talk to anyone. He would wander off on me all the time. My youngest son however, never would have wandered out of my sight. He was more cautious.
When Jacob Wetterling disappeard, I got even more paranoid about them getting lost or abducted or whatever you wanted to call it. Jacob was 11 years old and right in between my boys. He lived in the same state and we heard about it all the time. Sadly, he was never found and we still hear about it on every anniversary. It still makes me so sad that this boy was just gone.
So I was looking around on the Internet just really to see what suggestions there are now. Times change, things change but most of these suggestions are still the same. I was searching this subject and listened to a news-clip from Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart who was abducted but returned home safely 9 months later. Most of the suggestions were 1: Tell your child to run away in the same direction they came from. Not to run in the direction they were walking. It makes the perpetrator think they are running home and won’t go after them. 2: Scream LOUD. They won’t want to “cause a scene” and will usually back off. 3: Don’t let them get close enough to grab you and 4: never get in a car with a stranger. Sounds like reasonable advice.
I remember back in my day we were told not to have our kids name on clothing. That makes everyone know their name and will call the child by that name and the child will think they know them. I have to say my boys had their names on their jackets. It was just a huge thing to them to have their Minnetonka jackets with their name on them. What really freaks me out is the number ONE thing that is still used and is the number one thing perpetrators use is the “looking for a lost animal.” STILL, kids fall for that time after time. “Come look in my car, I have a new puppy” still works for kids.
One thing I read on a blog was that one mother said when she took her three kids to a big event such as a fair or carnival or a mall, she dressed them all in the same shirts. That way, if someone wandered off and she was a wreck and officers asked her what the child was wearing, she could point to the other child(ren) and say “that.” I thought that was a really smart thing to do. I’ve seen those temporary tattoo’s that you put your cell phone number on their arm or hand but I’m not convinced that’s a good idea just because anyone can see that. Besides, I feel those are more for kids who get lost, not abducted.
So parents, talk to your kids and give them every scenario. Don’t scare them but prepare them. If someone comes and asks you to help find thier lost puppy, tell them to say, “my dad loves dogs and he’ll help us look” and run home to get your dad. I was watching a very old Opera the other day and people watched as their kids ran off with a stranger at a park to help look for a lost dog. The parents couldn’t believe their kids went with. So, talk, talk and talk to them and make sure they know the more noise they make, the better. Anyone else have any good idea’s???? This really has to be a parents’ worst nightmare.