Friday, April 18, 2008

Stranger Safety

Note: Make sure your children are not reading over your shoulder before reading this!

I got the kids up for school yesterday morning as usual, no big deal. Aurea kept talking about strangers though and I wasn't sure why, but we've talked about not taking candy from strangers and knowing what to do if one approaches her. This being said, I didn't think too much about it.

Aurea takes her time doing everything in the mornings. Normally, I send her on out to the car while Adam and I are getting our shoes on cause I know she might actually make it down the deck stairs by the time we get out the door. However, yesterday I sent her out and she stopped on the stairs and started crying and screaming that she was scared.

I just looked at her in shock and was like, "Scared of what!" She said she was scared a stranger was going to kidnap and kill her. I was shocked! I got her to the car and asked her why she was scared of something like that.

Apparently, the D.A.R.E. officer came to school and did a program on Stranger Safety for the kindergarten classes. She was scared to get out of the car at school because she was afraid someone would grab her. When I got home, my mom informed me that the day before after school (I was at work) she went out to swing in the backyard, but wanted the back door open so we could hear her scream if a stranger came in the yard to get her!

I was appalled, so I called the school. I asked her teacher what this officer told these kids because he obviously did not tailor his message to the minds of 5 and 6-year-old children! She said he never said anything about children getting killed. She said he spoke about safety and some of the children started talking about kids being kidnapped and killed by strangers.

I have a problem with this! How do these kids know these things? Do parents really tell their kids about strangers by telling them they will be kidnapped and murdered in their own homes? Do they let these young children watch news reports of kidnappings? Or did the officer really include too much information for my daughter's sensitive ears to process?

I am confused! The teacher assured me she and the aide would talk to the children and try to clarify some of the confusion. In the meantime, I told Aurea last night I was going downstairs while she finished eating but I would be back upstairs in a few minutes to get her bath ready. She flipped out and refused to stay upstairs even though Adam was in his room. She went downstairs with me. My daughter is terrified to even be alone in a room in the house now, thanks DARE officer and fellow kindergarten students!

I tried to explain to her that she didn't need to be terrified. I'm not really sure how to alleviate her fears though without making her think that doesn't happen. I know it does, but I don't want her to be unable to live out of fear. Any suggestions?


Heather said...

I try my best to teach my kids about this, but I remember when DARE came to our school and started telling the kids about abuse of prescription drugs (to 6 year olds!). My son started critiquing me about my antibiotics. Some info just isn't meant for their young minds to handle. I'm sorry for her and hope she gets over her fears.

utmomof5 said...

I do'nt know what to tell you, I wish I had some advice for you. I think sometimes adults can take things too far and forget who they are talking to. I hope you figure something out!

onthegomom said...

I remember when DARE came to my son's school. One night with dinner I had a beer with pizza. ONE beer. And I don't drink that often at all. He told me that "I shouldn't be doing drugs". I about fell off my chair. I said, "Um, I am NOT 'doing drugs'". And proceeded to talk to him about the differences... good times.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Hi Kathy, I was checking out some of your links and found out that you have a link to mine. The name on the link is not my blog so I have to assume it's an accident. You might want to double check your links.

Damama T said...

It is so hard to find the right balance with some kids. Hang in there; hopefully she'll grow out of it soon.