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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trust Your Instincts

Today I read about a most horrifying story - the parent's worst nightmare.

Lisa has written on her page about something that happened to her and her son just a couple of days ago. I feel that every parent should read her story because it is important to understand just how easily you or your child can be targeted for victimization. I will, however, give a brief summary here.

Lisa went out to jog with her son, who followed behind her just a few short minutes later. She noticed a car with a guy acting a bit strange. When she looked to see what he was watching, it just happened to be her son. Then she noticed another car on the other end of the street, also watching her son. Her story details the events that followed and the measures that she took to protect herself and her child.

The reason I am telling you about this is simple. You should always trust your instincts. If you think something is not right, no matter how silly it may fell, trust yourself and react accordingly. Had Lisa dismissed her concerns as being paranoid or silly, she may well have lost her child to the predators that were stalking him.

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself and your children while you live your lives to the fullest.

1) Trust your instincts. Yes, I know I already said that, but it bears repeating. Your body is geared to pick up on the slightest irregularity in your surroundings. You may not realize this, but when you travel a certain path frequently your body remembers that path and is capable of operating on auto-pilot. This is how you can run your 5 mile trek (if you happen to be crazy enough to run that far) without really putting much thought into it. Your body already knows the way. So if your body tells you something is off, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

2) Know your area. Be aware of the surrounding area and what is normal for that area. It is also important to know your way around so you can quickly formulate an escape plan should you realize that you are being targeted. The fact that Lisa was aware from the beginning that the guy in the car was behaving oddly may well have saved her son's life. She was aware of her surroundings even though she was listening to her music. (Big Kudos to Lisa...)

3) Play the "what if" game. Stop to consider several scenarios and then determine what you would do in each one. This is also a good game to play with your child. It will help you develop a plan for these situations so that if you find yourself involved in something like this you will be able to react without much thought. It also teaches your mind to consider the options quickly so if you are caught up in a situation that is not one that you've considered, your mind will already have the skills to find a way out.

4) Don't panic. When Lisa realized that her son was being stalked, she could have panicked easily. I think the point where she realized there were two vehicles, one in front of them and one behind them, that it would have been very easy to feel trapped and unable to escape. She kept her head and used her senses to react quickly to the situation. Decide at the very beginning that you will win this fight and you have a far better chance of escape.

5) Teach your children from an early age about predators. I know this is sometimes difficult because we want to protect our children and maintain their innocence. However, failing to educate your child about certain dangers makes them a far easier target. Make sure you teach your kids about kidnappers and how to get away if somebody tries to kidnap them. Be sure to include lessons about Good Touch / Bad Touch and talk about that frequently. Predators often find a way to be close to the child they target through family contact or close friends. Let your child know that NOBODY is allowed to touch them in that way. Teach your child to talk to you about any situation that arises that makes your child feel uncomfortable. Just like Lisa, your child should learn to trust his instincts.


SoccerMom said...

One more extremely important thing you ALWAYS need to remember is if somehow someone does get to you. NEVER allow them to take you to a secondary location! Kick, scream, bite do whatever you need to do to try to get away your "stuff" can be replaced you can't!

the other thing you did mention about predators but your kids need to be told time and time again, unknown adults do not EVER need your help!

Liss said...

This is very scary, as it is the realization that this thing can happen to anyone. She is so lucky she was there and was in tune with her surrounding.

It is a shame that we have to teach our child that all strangers are bad. I have help a few children lost in shops find their parents; they came with me to the counter no questions asked. Now I wouldn’t hurt a child and in fact I taken them to a safe place to ensue that someone with other ideas doesn’t get to them but there are some sick people out there and we as parents need to protect our children. You can never be too careful no matter how silly it seems.

On a happier note I have posted your giveaway details on my blog.

Mom said...

I, too, have had children who were lost come with me without question. It makes me wonder why the parent did not teach their child about safety issues.

I teach my kids to stay where they are if they get lost in a store and sit down on the floor. I told Kira that staying in one spot was best because I would be looking for her and if she was moving, I might not find her.

I also told her that police men would help her if she was lost.

I haven't actually lost her, yet, and hope I never do. However, we do have practice drills on these concepts in our local stores where we "pretend" that she gets lost and can't find me close by. I have her sit on the floor in the aisle area and tell me what she's suppose to do next.

"What if" games are a wonderful way to help your child practice situations that she needs to be prepared for.

Petula Wright said...

You know I always had these kinds of conversations with my oldest (and still do), but I haven't with the middle two. Thanks for the reminders and I'll be having an age appropriate conversation very soon.