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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Get the Friends' Numbers

I'm sitting here chatting on Facebook with a friend who has a 14 year old child. Said child told her parents she would be at one friend's house for the evening. All was well until that friend's mother showed up wondering where the two girls might be.

It seems the girls have done a bit of magic and disappeared from both sets of parents. Nobody seems to know where they are.

Well, the dad and the big brother, along with the friend's mom, have taken to the streets to see if they can locate both girls. There are several friends that live within easy walking distance, so there is currently a door-to-door search underway. The general expectation is that the girls decided to go visit a different friend and failed to mention this to any of the proper adults.

A bad situation could have been made a bit easier if these parents had done just one little thing. You see, they know who the friends are and where the friends live. What they don't know is the telephone number to each friend's house. It's a simple bit of information, but they don't have it.

It's pretty late right now, after 10:00 and after the typical time considered to be appropriate for social calls in the evening. Yet a phone call under circumstances of this nature would be acceptable and accomplish several things.

First, the dad could ascertain whether his daughter was at a particular friend's house or not without having to trek all over the neighborhood. Each friend's parents could be contacted within a matter of minutes instead of the loner time needed to walk from door-to-door.

Second, he can notify other neighbors that something is going on and increase his search power by simply calling. The parents who affirm that the kids are not there could then join the hunt.

Third, he could save precious time by determining if there is a possible need for locating the authorities in a much more timely manner.

Now, under the circumstances, they are doing the best that they can. The mom in question is currently on bed rest and unable to leave the house to do any hunting on her own. The dad checked all the most obvious locations first and then came back for reinforcements from the big brother. I believe there was a great deal of cursing and spitting and flashing of fire involved as his anger rose to the highest levels possible, but for now he's doing what has to be done. (I don't envy his daughter when he finds her...)

You may wonder why I'm writing this post. This situation struck a nerve with me. I'm too far away to usefully help with the search for the wayward child or I would be out the door already. If she isn't found soon, I will probably drive over to sit with the mom while the dad and brother continue to pound the pavement. For now, though, I can share a bit of wisdom with you.

Get a book that you use for the sole purpose of keeping important information regarding your children. In that book, write down the names and addresses of each child's friends. Be sure to include the names of the friend's parents AND the phone number where said parents can be reached.

You may think that you will never really need this information, especially if the friends all live just down the street - as is the case with this girl. But if you child disappears during the day or late at night, being able to call the people where she might be hanging out will save you precious time and anxiety. And if your child happens to be in none of those homes, you'll know that your next step will need to include the authorities. To that end, you will already have important information regarding your child's friends and their families to turn over to an investigative officer.

**The child has been found. Seems she decided to take a late night walk to Wal-Mart --- some FIVE MILES away. She's safe - for now. I'm not sure how safe she shall be after her dad is capable of responding to this ordeal.**


Anonymous said...

reminds me of my worst nightmare. Thank goodness the child was found.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

That is such good advice about having a book for each child with that contact information. I'd never have thought of that, but then, I don't have kids. I's glad the girls were okay and sometimes people don't realize how long it actually takes to walk somewhere if they're used to driving there and have never walked it before. That could have been what happened in this case.

feefifoto said...

Oy! I'm glad they found her and if she were mine she'd be grounded until her beard reached her knees.

I keep this information in my BlackBerry. My son couldn't understand why I had his friend's home phone in the address book; I hope he never has to find out why.

The Mind of a Mom said...

Oh I had this happen and I immediately took The boy's phone and looked at everyone on it then he was made to sit and write out ever friend's info. And that meant that if the mom and dad had separate living arrangements I wanted both phone numbers and address etc... The next time I wanted to track him (due to an emergency) down it took one call and he called home within minutes! Always have a complete list of all of your child's friends. It is not nosey it is safe!

The Mother said...

I have been very lucky in that my kids have always kept me in the loop. I thank cell phones for part of that. But I also keep a list of the favorite friends' phone numbers by my telephone.

Davida said...

I'm so glad the child was found! Keeping a notebook with all that information is a great suggestion.


Liss said...

The note book is a great idea. Giving the child a pre paid mobile phone that can on call certain numbers is also another good idea. The parents could have then rang her directly to find out where she is.

I can only imagine how frightening not known where your child is at that time of night. I am glad she is safe.

A. nony mouse said...

Wandering off to Wal-Mart unsupervised. Wandering off to Grandma's house unsupervised.

Kids will just wander off anywhere if you don't watch them...

Michelle said...

Great advice. I'm going to remember this for when my 4 year old gets into those teen age years. I remember taking off on my mom too. Just like your friends daughter. Glad that she was found safe and sound.

Petula said...

Whew, I'm glad she was found and I hope she "survives" 'til morning. I had a similar situation with one of my daughter's friends. Her mom called me asking if her daughter had ridden the bus home with my daughter or if she had even been in school. I called my daughter who had went the store to inquire and was able to back to her immediately. Turns out the girl failed to mention a game or practice or something.

You're right about the address AND phone number. You never know when you might need it.

Sherrie said...

Wow...that would be scary, and I'd have to light a fire under someone's bottom next time. I agree that it's super important that we not only know our kid's friends/parents, but yes, their numbers/addresses, too. Thanks for the reminder to all of us. :)