Webchat with Tristram Hunt, Labour education shadow, MONDAY 27 April at 12 midday ×

To have never worried for a second about the possibility of my children being abducted...

(327 Posts)
curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 12:33:14

......and to have never, as far as I can remember, made any decisions based on the possibility or factored it in to any plans I have made or actions I have taken?

Is this unusual? Do most people worry about this?

SanityClause Thu 30-Jan-14 15:17:25

The getting lost bit is in response to curlew's point about people being afraid to assist a lost child.

I have been on a thread on MN, where loads of people admitted to watching toddlers who appeared to have been separated from parents, in case they needed to dive in and help. It was heart-warming, actually.

I think it is selfish of parents if they don't allow their DC to do some things because they (the parents) would worry. To save themselves some worry, their DC miss out on a bit of independence, and I think that's unfair.

LadyInDisguise Thu 30-Jan-14 13:41:06

ltE my mum is the same than yours except that she says my memory us bad and no she had never let me do x or y at that age.
But she let me fly around the world aged 12 to go and see some family. Being looked after by the staff in between flights meant being left alone in a restaurant in a huge airport until they came back 1.5h later to pick me up lol.

LadyInDisguise Thu 30-Jan-14 13:37:44

Of course this is about getting lost. Not about abduction.

Or about what you let your children do it not because of that specific fear.

LadyInDisguise Thu 30-Jan-14 13:35:13

Interesting. I told them to stay put and not move around so we could find them more easily. I explained to them what was going on when we heard a call for 'the mum of the little Jonathan' and said the shop assistants would always help.

But I have never told them to go and see a parent with a child for some help.

Bowlersarm Thu 30-Jan-14 11:24:10

SanityClaus you have said exactly what I told my DC when they were small if they happened to get separated from us, and who they should approach. It never happened though.

In fact, I still say that to my DS aged 13 if he is in any sort of trouble when he's out. Shops/restaurant worker first, man or woman with children second.

curlew Thu 30-Jan-14 11:15:39

"and I have yet to meet an adult in RL or a teenager who would not stop to help a distressed child. load of nonsense."

I don't think I have either. But I have met many, both in RL and on here who worry about what they should do and whether they should do anything at all. And plenty OP threads where people worry about what appear to be perfectly ordinary interactions and are advised to go to the police because " it's probably nothing, but it won't hurt to report it"

bodygoingsouth Thu 30-Jan-14 11:11:57

yes Bfg agree with you. but I also think the media don't necessarily reflect society as it really is.

in our area you see children playing out, going to the shops/swimming etc.

LtEveDallas I don't think my dds have less freedom than I did in the 70s at all.

freedom to play out isn't free at all if society doesn't offer protection.

on the contrary I feel more confidant that they are more protected now than I ever was as they are far more confident, street wise and taken seriously than our generation was.

LtEveDallas Thu 30-Jan-14 10:50:01

I very much agree with curlew that we (as a society) worry too much about abductions and the downside is a reduction in our freedom and trust in others. I think we live in a less free and more suspicious society than 25/30 years ago

I do too, and I find it very sad. I listen to my mum now, horrified when I tell her that I let DD go swimming on her own, or take the dog to the park. She tells me off (!) and says that we shouldn't be doing it, so I remind her that her and dad used to drop off me and my friend at the entrance to the sand dunes whilst they went shopping, and they wouldn't expect to see us again until tea time. That was 6-8 hours where they had no idea where we were or what we were doing and we were 9/10/11 years old.

When I remind her she blusters and says "Oh but things weren't as dangerous then. We didn't have the dangers you have now"

Well actually mum you did, and probably worse than we do now - you just didn't know as much about it.

I want DD to have the freedom I had. It's such a shame that she can't.

LeBFG Thu 30-Jan-14 10:09:20

I suppose this is what is boils down to for me bodygoingsouth - we DO live in a safer society (health and safety-wise and crime-wise) and yet we worry MORE about safety. Which came first and can we have one without the other? I don't know the answers.

There is a balancing act to be had and each person has to find a spot on the continuum that sits the most comfortably.

Fakebook Thu 30-Jan-14 10:00:45

Yes BFG, we do live in a more suspicious society now, because every small news story is posted on social media within minutes. Even if the child is found later, we still share the initial fear. 25/30 years ago there was no constant minute by minute update and tbh, since MM, and the press scrutiny and constant news stories and updates, I feel more parents are afraid and suspicious than before.

bodygoingsouth Thu 30-Jan-14 09:56:59

and I have yet to meet an adult in RL or a teenager who would not stop to help a distressed child. load of nonsense.

bodygoingsouth Thu 30-Jan-14 09:55:48

totally disagree to be honest re society now.

yes as a child in the 70s I probably did roam free a littie but more at a younger age than mine were able to but unfortunately my parents didn't see fit to explain how to keep myself safe from harm or indeed listened when I told them and teachers at school that all of us girls on the bus were being 'tickled in our pants' by the driver. so we did not live in some golden age, the 70s was a rotten era for womem and girls, we can see all the rottenness coming to surface now in the courts.
groping, touching and harassment was the norm then.

can you imagine that comment being ignored now?

no as a society we are far more aware and pro active in tackling abuse, of course it still goes on from family members and strangers in the street but personally I think it's a much safer society today for our children.

no school I have worked in does the stranger danger talk? very outdated now.

children are encouraged to see people who help us and sensible ways to keep safe/ what to do if lost etc.

back to the op, if I lived on a island in the outer Hebredies then sure I probably would never think about child abduction but back in the real world and not living in happy land of course every parent does factor this remote possibility into their parenting.

to not is inexplicable and no parent I have ever met in RL would disagree.

It's not been an issue for DS as he has SN and social anxiety so won't go anywhere on his own, but DD is now starting to push for independence and I had started to let her walk part way home from school - until this week my biggest worry was crossing the busy roads, but then this attempted abduction happened in town, and we had a text from the school asking us to warn children about stranger danger and make sure that they were dropped off and picked up by an adult for the foreseeable future

LeBFG Thu 30-Jan-14 09:17:33

Yes, I do remember those TV ads now you mention it FB. I personally think those sorts of basic messages are fine to transmit when the children are old enough to play outside/take public transport/walk to school alone.

TBH, with Tabliope's scenario further back in the discussion (DS on train) - I think I would be a lot more worried about missing the connection/getting trapped in the door/pulling luggage on head and so on, even feeling a bit lost, than I would about someone abducting him.

But that's just my POV.

I very much agree with curlew that we (as a society) worry too much about abductions and the downside is a reduction in our freedom and trust in others. I think we live in a less free and more suspicious society than 25/30 years ago.

Fakebook Thu 30-Jan-14 09:06:50

Just going back to the comment I made further up:

I didn't tell her off for approaching a stranger right there because I didn't find out until I'd calmed down and asked her exactly what had happened when we got home. The shop assistants didn't tell me either.

When I found her, she'd been given sweets in her hand which I snatched and asked her where she got them from. A shop assistant waved at me and said she'd given them to her.

We were always taught about stranger danger, danger with matches, even escalators when we were small children in school and nursery. There were adverts on TV during childrens programmes in the afternoon to tell you not to take sweets from strangers. I didn't think I'd ever have to teach my child this, but obviously I did, and should have done it earlier. It hasn't caused me any damage about trusting certain people knowing these things.

If parents like curlew aren't going to teach their children safety then I should hope schools and nurseries will. I don't know what is taught in school these days, but pretty sure dd hadn't been told anything or else she wouldn't have approached a stranger for help.

SanityClause Thu 30-Jan-14 07:35:50

Actually, DH said he thinks many people will find any excuse not to help. Then he said, "but look what happened to Michael Schumacher!"

SanityClause Thu 30-Jan-14 07:32:28

When my DC were little, I told them if they were lost to approach someone who worked in the shop we were in, or someone in a uniform. They could also approach someone who was there with their children.

The uniformed person would be more likely to have a procedure to deal with a lost child, and a parent would have more understanding of what action was needed, from their own experience.

Of course, a parent might be there without their children, but in that case, how would my DC know they were parents?

I would certainly approach a child who appeared to be lost. (I have approached adults who appeared to be lost grin) I have just asked DH, and he also said he would not hesitate to assist a child who appeared to have lost their parents.

Tabliope Thu 30-Jan-14 07:03:57

Curlew, looking back at that post from Fakebook while it wasn't 'in the heat of the moment' as she waited to get home, she might have been so upset she couldn't trust herself to speak before that. Neither of us know. One incident anyway. Also, the child was a few weeks off 6, not 3.

Yes, people are fearful but that's the thing with strangers, they are an unknown entity. You don't trust people in life until you know them. I think the advice of only approaching certain people is a sensible precaution and if that's what Fakebook or anyone wants to suggest to their children that's up to them. I don't see how that is irreparably going to cause any damage to a child.

I don't know any friend that wouldn't approach a child that was lost in the street for example, including some men friends albeit they might be more reluctant. But so what? I don't think this is any reason not to give your kids some safeguarding tools in life. I've said it time and again, you don't have to go over the top - why would you think you do? You'd be in charge of the conversation!

By the time a child is 12 they've possibly seen or talked about porn, played X rated games and they know all sorts of stuff. You can't keep them so sheltered in life unfortunately so I don't think the advice people are giving their kids regarding strangers is going to be so shocking it will affect a child's psyche in anyway.

DoublesAllRound Thu 30-Jan-14 00:15:00

Before someone jumps on me - when I say 'not uncommon at all' I don't mean it happens to most people. But it's probably happening to someone close to most of us, closer than most of us would like to think, if we only knew it.

DoublesAllRound Wed 29-Jan-14 23:49:19

I would blame it on the behaviour of those people who are predatory towards children (whether they're strangers to those children, or friends or family members). The behaviour creates a climate in which two particular things happen - (1) parents are wary and feel it is necessary to prepare their children at least a little for possible encounters (rational, IMO), and (2) adults in general are wary of being mistaken for one of these people.

The way in which tabloids present information about these people can magnify both of these fears (fears of parents for their children, and fear by other adults that they'll be mistaken for a paedophile - especially the latter because of the 'witchhunt' aspect), but the root cause of them both is the unacceptable behaviour of certain people in our society towards children and young people. I'd rather we worked on that than on stopping (1) - (1) is not the cause of (2).

This unacceptable behaviour includes everything from being mildly creepy (unwanted physical closeness, getting you on your own a lot, being just 'wrong' in a way as a child you can recognise even without anyone having told you about it) through sustained abuse to (more infrequently), abduction and even murder. How common this is (and at the milder end, it's not uncommon at all) isn't as relevant as the mere fact of it existing - that's what creates the climate in which various related risks end up being considered by parents and nonparents alike.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 23:27:31

I find it interesting that nobody has addressed the point I have made several times that we live in a society where people are frightened to approach a child even if they think they might be in trouble. There have been loads of threads on here when people ask what they should have done, or more likely what should their male partner have done when they saw a distressed or apparently lost child. Where do you think that comes from? Oh, and tabliope- at a risk of being a caused of labouring the point- the poster did not tell her child off for approaching a stranger for help in the heat of the panicky moment.

bodygoingsouth Wed 29-Jan-14 23:12:11

ffs,, is this ridiculous thread still going?

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 23:09:19

But after being forced into an emergency landing once the fear became real for me and all encompassing. Which is a pain in the arse, especially as you have to do rapid decent and take off in Afghanistan which is terrifying even if you arent phobic.

Mintyy Wed 29-Jan-14 22:59:50

Ah well, you do know that being murdered by a stranger is more likely than dying in a plane crash, don't you Lt?

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 22:53:25

Mintyy, I can promise you, hand on heart, that I have never even for one second, worried about my DD being abducted by a stranger.

DD is allowed to play out and has been since she was 5 or so. There have been times (on holiday and when we are down our caravan) that I may not have seen her for an hour or more. Not once have I considered that she may have been or could be abducted. I posted about letting DD to off with her friends on holiday (another 8 year old and an 11 year old) and was fair roasted, but it didn't change my views.

I haven't had a 'stranger danger' talk with her, and was annoyed when the school did, because I think 'stranger danger' is the wrong way to go about it. I discovered 'tricky people' thought that was much better and did that talk instead.

I am not smug. There are plenty of things that I do worry about - I am near phobic about planes and have to be seated next to DD so that we die together. But abduction is not one of my worries and never has been.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now