It’s hard avoiding the news happening all over the world. It seems like every other day, a person is reported missing or there is some report of a teacher, daycare provider, or neighbor taking advantage of a minor. My heart goes out to those families.
When I look at my child, I am really scared for her. In the past, we always thought, “it will never happen to my child or my family because I picked a safe community, I live in a gated neighborhood, or the school has a great reputation”. These are not guarantees anymore.
The factors above MAY increase the chances of your families safety but if we live in a world believing that bad things don’t happen then even with the most careful planning, we may be more vulnerable than not planning at all.
I have been told that I spend too much time reading articles and making myself aware of what is going on in the world. I am not the type of person that turns on the computer and goes digging for the worst news I can find. I don’t spend hours on the computer looking for things to make me overly cautious, but I think I would be naïve if I did not look at the information that is grabbing headlines and make sure there is a safety plan in my own home.
I could not imagine what a mother must go through to wake up and find her child missing; an institution that she has been trusting has violated her child or to get a call that the sweet innocent child that you sent to college did not make it back to her dorm room. I don’t have to cross the college bridge yet but I think that it is important that we make sure that we keep our homes safe and protect our family to the best of our abilities while they are home.
Personally, I grew up at the age of 12, for the most part, in a single parent home. There was no man there to scare off someone if they came through the door, so my mother has always taught me to lock the doors and the windows and check them twice. I am still one of those girls today.
I have learned over the years that my spouse is less than perfect in this category and if you have one like him, don’t get mad ladies. If he is irresponsible in locking the doors and letting down the garage at night, if you are aware that this is a weakness, then make sure that you check them yourselves.
If you have an alarm, remember, you pay a monthly fee so there is nothing wrong with popping it on at night when you go to bed or even having it on during the day. We need to tell our children not to open the door when the doorbell rings or not to give information to strangers over the phone. I am no expert on safety but every little bit helps.
Also, when you are out and about, lock your car doors. Mine automatically locks as soon as I turn on the car and unlocks when I turn it off but just be mindful of keeping yourself safe. Also, knowing your surroundings and who your neighbors are can help as well. Back in the day, we knew all of our neighbors. I am not saying that you have to socialize with them weekly but it would be nice if you all could look out for each other. This way, if there is someone hanging around the neighborhood that no one knows, it can be reported. Multiple pairs of eyes are always better than a single pair.
Growing up in the south, you always had the occasional adult that thought having an inappropriate relationship with a minor was acceptable. Back in the 70s, if something happened to you, especially if you were Black, it was swept under the rug. You were lucky if you could share it with your parents. And sharing with your parents was not always a guarantee that Uncle Walter would not be sitting at the dinner table on Sunday.
I cannot stress how important it is to have open communication with your children. Your child needs to be able to discuss any topic with you without fear of not being believed or punished. If this is a difficult topic for you, there are some great books that could help you with the subject. Stranger Danger is real, as much as we want to pretend it is not there or it will not happen to our family. Chances are, you are correct, it will not but don’t put yourself in a situation where you are more vulnerable.
- Lock your doors.
- Lock your windows.
- Know your surroundings.
- Turn on your alarm.
- Foster open communication with your children.
- Know the people that you are bringing into your home.
- Liaison with your neighbors to report suspicious people hanging around.
- Have regular communication with your schools.
- Knowledge is power, educate your children on safety.
If you have other helpful tips, we would love to share them with our readers, leave them in the comments below!