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The other day I saw a little boy running in the park. He was about my son's age, and I didn't see any parent or babysitter with him, but I figured he or she was probably close behind. A moment later, a mom came running up to the boy. She spun him around to face her and grabbed a hold of his shoulders.
"Do you WANT to be kidnapped?" she yelled.
Immediately, my friend and I started laughing.
It's not that I don't have the same concerns. Really, I do. Those moments in the past four years when I took my eyes off the twins and couldn't see one were definitely the most terrifying of my life. But this was clearly an overreaction.
"Someone could take you, and I WOULD NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN!" she continued.
How sad is it that a little boy gets reprimanded this way for doing one of the most natural things a kid can do— run freely on a beautiful day in the park?
I think there's a better way to effectively parent our kids without terrifying them.
Yes, we have to teach our kids not to run off. We need them to listen. And there comes a point where we have to explain to them that there are really sick fucks out there in the world. We hope and pray that they will use their common sense and practice what we've taught them if they are ever put in a bad situation. But I don't think the answer is to make them live in fear.
"Do you want to go home with a STRANGER?" Oh geez. I turned to my friend and whispered, "It depends on who the stranger is."
I think there's a better way to effectively parent our kids without terrifying them. After all, who wants to raise a son that's scared of running a few feet ahead of his mom?