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?

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 12:36:06

Be thankful you do not live in fear.

As someone who was dragged out of an abductors car at the age of five by a family member I have not had that luxury .

AspieLass Tue 28-Jan-14 12:37:05

Was your abductor caught Elderberry ?

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 12:37:37

Curlew, have you never said to your kids don't go off with strangers? What ages are the?

AwfulMaureen Tue 28-Jan-14 12:39:00

Well this is an odd op. I don't exactly worry about it but I do try to remain vigilant about how to educate my DC in the event that something DID happen.

Not only abduction but any abuse. I don't think about it a lot. I let mine play outside...but some people have anxiety disorders and focus on these things. not "most people" no.

AwfulMaureen Tue 28-Jan-14 12:41:13

I don't say "Don't go off with strangers" Tabilope as most of these things are perpetrated by people the child knows. I tell them that if someone...anyone...even if they know them...tells them to come with them...then they are NOT TO GO no matter what the person says. They MUST ask mummy or their teacher first.

I also tell them that if they ever get lost in the shops or street, that they are to go to the lady or man behind the counter and tell them what has happened. ..and that they NEVER leave the shop.

I have told them that if they get lost in the street or something, they are to find a shop...or a phone box.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 28-Jan-14 12:42:28

I worry about all sorts of things. Well not worry all the time but I'm aware of stuff, eg, them drowning near water/getting run over/going off with a stranger.

I don't obsess but when you read a story of an abduction do you never for a second worry that could happen to one of your children?

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 12:43:34

No, He scared me to getting into the car, as he said I should not be in that place, I was in trouble, but my uncle saw what happened, my uncle was only a teen at the time, and shot over and wrestled me out the car.

I learned fast though, I was approached a couple of times by men in cars when older, I was confident at telling them to push off.

It was the 70's.

lilyaldrin Tue 28-Jan-14 12:44:37

I've not really worried so far, but DS is only 3.5 so is never off on his own without me/a relative/nursery teacher etc. I guess things might change as he gets older and more independent.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 12:47:29

I am very sorry that happened to you, elderberri.

I have talked to my children about keeping themselves safe-that they can always say no to grown ups and no nice grown up would mind. And that no nice grown up would ever ask them to do something that they weren't comfortable with , or that they were asked to keep secret. I am obviously aware that abuse happens, and that children need to be aware of it. But no, I have never talked to they about going off with strangers.

This thread was actually prompted by somebody saying that they won't go camping because they would worry about their child being taken, and someone I was with last week not letting their 8 year old go to the loo in Costa alone "because this one has two doors".

RandyRudolf Tue 28-Jan-14 12:49:13

Two men tried to entice me into a car when I was a child, I'd gone round to the local shop for my mum. Another guy approached me outside my school after netball practice. I was very 'street wise' as a child. I walked to and from school and my mum drilled it into me never to talk to strangers. I was still allowed to play out in the street though. I think there are opportunists out there, it's just about being vigilant that's all.

It was on the local news yesterday that two men had been arrested for the attempted abduction of a toddler. They were believed to have been associated with a trafficking ring. I think these type of people are the biggest threat these days, them and the and gangs that groom. Though they tend to target more vulnerable youths in the system.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 12:50:47

I agree with you AwfulMaureen, there's a range of stuff you warn your DCs about when they reach an age where they're more independent - including don't go off with strangers although I remember saying don't go off with anyone really even friends' parents unless you've told me first. I thought this common sense - you safeguard your child and give it strategies for situations that could crop up. On the whole they don't crop up but if they do it could be too late after the event. You don't have to get paranoid about it but I thought that was just parenting. You have to plan for these things. As a kid I was given a lot of freedom. I also remember a few dodgy situations - men stopping the car saying my mum had told them to pick them up, the classic come and see my puppies. A few incidences up the woods that really could have turned hairy - one where a 16 year old boy threatened me and my friends age about 9 he'd shoot up (he had a gun) if we didn't do as we were told. If my parents hadn't given me strategies to cope if strange things happen they would have been negligent in my view.

I have never factored the possibility of my children being abducted into any plans I have made.
I let them, at age 8 go to the toilet by themselves.
I told them that if they got lost in a shop they should stay in the shop and tell someone who works there but I never worried that they would be abducted.
They all played out in front of the house and all walked to school and back aged 10.

No, I have never worried about this as what other people do is not in my control.

Even with children I've looked after that have been at risk of abduction by family members I've never worried about it. Put the maximum amount of safeguarding in we could but after that if someone broke into their school and grabbed them it wouldn't have been preventable by me.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 28-Jan-14 12:53:37

A chap tried to entice me into a car when I was about ten. I ran like the wind to tell my parents.
Some twenty years later a chap entered my son's school playground and tried to get my son to go to his car for some chocolate buttons, fortunately son had heard what had happened to Mum and ran to the headteacher. So, yes you're lucky not to have to think about it. I do hope you have taught them about stranger danger, though.

Clumsyoaf Tue 28-Jan-14 12:54:12

I have two little ones, and never really gave this much thought - on holiday maybe. My friend was shopping in a large shopping centre (very well known) with her three children around two years ago. As she went to exit the mall the automatic doors would not open, she told me she stepped back and forth continuously as did others but no joy. A couple of minutes later she was approached by four security people who asked her to accompany them to the security office.

She told me that at the time she was genuinely scared that one of the two children not in the buggy had taken something from a store without paying....

When she got to the office she was told that they had intervened as whilst she had been at the shopping center -(close on 4 hours) she was being trailed by a known pedophile. They showed her images of them whilst eating at McDonalds whilst this man was looking on behind a board (the food court was undergoing a refurb) and various other images as she walked around.

They didnt want him to identify her vehicle, or follow her home. She admitted she was frazzled and the kids had been running ahead/ playing up etc.

Since this I am always fearful - this shopping mall at that time did introduce a orange balloon system, whereby if a child gets separated they are to go to the paying point of any store with this balloon - parents a re given a wrist band upon which to leave contact details so security can contact you. But I haven't seen any of this since then.

3bunnies Tue 28-Jan-14 12:54:13

I would be vigilant but it wouldn't stop me going anywhere or doing something with them. I worry more about them dying through illness or accident although I know that even this is probably daft.

Well, my children were born in Colombia, then we moved to Mexico City…(!)

So I have and to be pretty "paranoid" in daily life for the first 6 years of their lives!

But I guess, now we are in the UK I feel a bit calmer, but never completely get rid of the paranoia!

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 12:57:21

I notice a few people have said the same things about strangers approaching them. I grew up in the 70s too and this is when a few incidents happened to me like that. Curlew you might not have said directly to your DCs about strangers but you have taken some actions by the things you've told them. My dad always said prepare for the worst - although it's unlikely it'll happen. Doesn't have to be OTT but I do think it's negligent to live in a bubble where you don't imagine anything bad will happen like abduction. The few posters above me and I have mentioned incidents whereby strangers have approached kids. It happens. Why not have these conversations. Doesn't have to be scaremongering. I remember other incidents when I was younger. A 2 year old neighbour went missing for an hour. Some girls had taken him for a walk. I don't think anything happened but I do remember the street out looking for him, the police being called, his frantic mother. I also remember another incident where a little girl in another street age about 3 got into my dad's car when he'd left it unlocked and was playing in it. What if it had been someone with not so good intent?

SamU2 Tue 28-Jan-14 12:58:00

I am with you OP.

I do not understand all the panic around it.

cory Tue 28-Jan-14 13:02:05

my MIL was also narrowly rescued from an abductor but she never let that dictate how she brought up her own children

dd nearly died from falling off some play equipment: I took very good care that she did not develop a longterm fear of physical activity and equipment

I know people who have been in bad car crashes, sometimes losing dear friends or relatives, but who still let their children travel by car

my db has lost several friends to shipping accidents but still used to take his children onboard

in fact, most of us have probably had close shaves with death whether we realise it or not

I think a lot of it is how you deal with the ensuing trauma and in the case of abduction this is not made easier by the way it is treated in the media, as an ever-present threat. If we had the same constant fear-mongerging articles about the dangers of the road or the playground it would be far, far harder to overcome any personal trauma we may have suffered.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 13:03:00

I never told my parents about any of the incidents that happened to me - we were also flashed a few times up the woods when we were playing. Luckily nothing major happened. I had that freedom but I know exactly what came with it with all the weirdos. Not a one-off incident either. It would therefore never have rested easy for me not to have taught my DC how to cope in certain situations. It hasn't curbed him at all. In fact I think he's got more independent than most but for my piece of mind I prepared him for what could (although probably wouldn't) happen. If you don't to my mind it's like sending lambs to the slaughter. If they're going off alone the deserve to know what could happen and what they need to do to stay safe. After that you've done your bit and if anything happens then at least you won't feel guilty.

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 13:03:19

Interestingly, do you think that some children seem to experience more of this type of thing than others.

Tbh, I have been repeatedly bothered by strange men all my life, even to the point of being 9 months preg, walking down the street, and being hasstled by a car of men, saying disgusting stuff.

At 18, biking home on a busy road with slowish moving cars, I felt a hand on my bum, a group of me in a car, keeping pace with me, with on reaching out and touching my bum. I could have been killed.

Add to that pervy teachers, etc.

I wonder if men did this type of thing more back then as nobody sort of really cared like they do now about safeguarding.

AspieLass Tue 28-Jan-14 13:04:01

I'm sorry but I don't believe that whole shopping centre door story and four security guards

KitZacJak Tue 28-Jan-14 13:05:00

I don't worry overly about this but that is mainly because my children don't have many opportunities to be abducted. They are either at school, or with me or trusted friends and family. I think I will worry more when they are older and have more freedom.

3bunnies Tue 28-Jan-14 13:06:28

I guess though my dc aren't exposed in the way we were in the 70s. I know that at the age of 5 I would go to the corner shop alone with some pocket money. It was about a 5 min walk. I wouldn't send my 4.5 yr old on same trip, maybe I would send my nearly 9yr old though.

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 13:08:09

My mum clamped down after the incident, but when I was about ten she let me go where I wanted, again. She made sure I was well prepared to deal with stuff.

Clumsyoaf Tue 28-Jan-14 13:09:03

Aspielas it didn't happen to me - and i wasnt there, but it was enough to make me extra vigilant when visiting this mall. At around that time they did have these paper wrist bands at the concierge desk. But I haven't seen them lately.

RandyRudolf Tue 28-Jan-14 13:12:08

Back in the 70s there was more opportunity for this to happen. More kids walked to and from school and played out on the streets. These days they are in their parents car or on school buses. Kids spend more time in clubs or sat inside playing on computer games etc. So there's probably the same amount of perverts now as there was back then, just less opportunity for the f**kers to strike.

notso Tue 28-Jan-14 13:13:48

I don't, the same way I don't worry about them being in a car crash or run over. I don't worry that I will be raped or mugged or that our home will be burgled.
Bad things sometimes happen, in most cases there isn't anything anyone could do to stop it. It is horrible to think about it but it is the truth.

DS2 has a peanut allergy. He is only three so what he comes into contact with is mostly in my control and I can keep him safe. I am however fully aware I can't always do this, I have to let him have a life and not let the threat he lives with become his life.

I do in general worry about thid but thst worry is eclipsed by traffic and general wandeing off getting lost worries

I think those who don't have these worries are very lucky, my DDs were involved in an "incident" nine years ago, they are now 10 and 12, they were safe in the end - no physical injuries and DD1 was too young to clearly explain what had happened so no one was prosecuted, and of course DD2 was a baby. They have no memory of it as far as anyone can tell. I had PTSD afterwards; once it had been treated I felt I worried a lot less, back to "normal" levels perhaps?! But initially I would be literally sick with panic if they were behind a rail of clothes in a shop. You just have to take "sensible" risks I suppose, e.g., I let them walk the dog round the corner and back but not to the park.

It doesn't make you a better parent or person if you have never had anything awful happen and as a result of that believe that nothing ever will!!

Once we were looking to move and my friend and I saw a lovely house in a village and we were saying oh look at all the land, and it had a communal garden at the end of the road, beautiful place, and she was saying how fabulous you can let the kids run around, and I said well, you could, but sadly after what happened, I couldn't.

gotthemoononastick Tue 28-Jan-14 13:16:06

When I was a little girl in the 50's a boy was abducted and murdered under a bridge.We were aware of it,although not the gory(sex crime) details and warned that the world is dangerous.

My daughters were flashed by a man when they were teenagers riding home on their bikes.They had the tools to deal with it,including not turning it into a huge drama,as they were warned about sick individuals.

We all grew up on Grimm's fairy tales,before Disney got hold of them.Dark stuff there and loads of life lessons.Not so PC nowadays I think.

MomsStiffler Tue 28-Jan-14 13:18:00

I get where you're coming from OP. A lot of people seem to work themselves up worrying unnecessarily.

Try to think back to the last time a child abduction by a stranger was reported on the news. It's not something that'd keep me awake at night, it definitely wouldn't stop me camping!

PatrickStarisabadbellend Tue 28-Jan-14 13:18:16

When I was 9 I was dragged down an ally and attacked. I think about it all the time and I have become very over protective of my children.

It has affected my life terribly.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 13:19:21

If your DCs aren't exposed to situations where they're on their own then I suppose there is no need to teach them about strangers etc or factor in any plans or actions in what you do. Curlew doesn't say how old they are so maybe they're young and never left alone so perhaps that's why he/she hasn't worried about it. I don't see how you can let any kid go off on their own though when they are of that age where they want independence without some rudimentary instructions and warnings, not just about strangers about all sorts of things.

PatrickStar that's awful I am so sorry - no wonder you feel like that. As I say, if something has never happened to you then you won't be worried, surely its that simple. Perhaps OP could explain a bit more?

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 13:22:54

Agreed @randyrudolf.

Given the very small sample on this thread, who have had one or multiple experiences, I think if thousands were asked we would be shocked.

I mean Ffs..jimmy saville.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 13:23:33

There's worrying unnecessarily and there's not worrying at all. A middle ground has to be found - arm your kids with strategies, prepare them, give them age appropriate examples of things that could happen, doesn't have to be scary, then let them have their freedom knowing you've done everything you can. It's important to give them a voice and tell them if they don't like a situation they're in then they can speak up and they can shout if necessary. Kids are programmed not to question adults authority so I think it's important to tell them you're not going to be cross if they don't just go along with things.

cory Tue 28-Jan-14 13:24:18

I think there's a big difference between rudimentary instruction (in the same way as you would instruct them about roads and streams and other potential hazards) and actually letting the fear guide your life (as in never going camping or never letting an 11yo out of sight).

If the OP meant the second then I'd have to say I've never worried- as in going around worrying about it, avoiding normal activities etc. But if we're just talking about a few general reminders before letting a child out to play, I expect most people do those.

Kids are programmed not to question adults authority so I think it's important to tell them you're not going to be cross if they don't just go along with things.

That's a really good point Tabliope although mine were too young to speak up for themselves, but in general that's good advice. However if someone is determined to harm a child, sadly, I think they will sad

PandaFeet Tue 28-Jan-14 13:26:58

The shopping centre story sounds like a variation on the late night petrol station urban legend.

I do worry about this. But then I worry a lot. And I know people who have been flashed at or approached. It was common. I haven't heard of it happen recently though.

PatrickStarisabadbellend Tue 28-Jan-14 13:27:02

My mum was raped when she was 16 and my sister was raped by two men just before xmas.
My great granddad was in a paedophile ring.. ( I have name changed recently)

To me this is just part of life and I don't want anything to happen to my kids. My son who is 12 has only just been allowed to play out until 6pm and even then I feel panicked.

Algorta Tue 28-Jan-14 13:28:06

I'm always amazed by these threads at the numbers of people who have encountered potential abductors. I grew up in the 70s, played out and about and never had any experience of dodgy strangers. Neither did any of my siblings, my friends, or my partner's family and friends. Yet some people and their children have had multiple experiences. I wonder why?

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 13:30:17

Thing is Cory the OP sounds like Curlew hasn't given any thought to it which I find unusual. It's not all or nothing. Most people have got the balance right. Some might be more paranoid about somethings - like sleeping in tents - others about other things. Under the age of about 9 I wouldn't have let my DS sleep in a tent alone in the garden as I remember a little girl being abducted from one in similar circumstances and that has stuck with me. Your own personal experiences in life cloud where you are on the scale of protectiveness. If you're being OTT you have to rein it in so it doesn't affect your kids' lives. That's common sense but we all do what we think is in our kids' best interests. Saying that I think I'd prefer too much than too little, relatively speaking, in case the worst happened.

stickysausages Tue 28-Jan-14 13:32:10

You're either very lucky... or very complacent...

MsGee Tue 28-Jan-14 13:32:14

I worry about everything. I co-sleep with DD (5) on holiday and I am over cautious a lot of the time. I realise that family & friends are more likely to be a danger than anyone else, so worry about this too.

However, most of my worries are just going on in my head - she doesn't seem to have less freedom than her classmates to be honest (apart from things like she won't be going on sleepovers to families I don't know at this age) and the co-sleeping is simply seen as me relaxing the rules on holiday (she would prefer to co-sleep every night) but perhaps it will be more obvious when she is older.

I realise that this is my issue, stemming back to my childhood and my subsequent experiences as a parent and feelings of failure to protect the children I didn't carry to term (miscarriages and TFMR). I know that my job is to prepare her for the world and I am trying to do that alongside my urge to protect her so I check my behaviour a lot to see if it is simply sensible or over cautious.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 13:35:07

"You're either very lucky... or very complacent..."

I don't think I'm either. I think I'm realistic.

MsGee Tue 28-Jan-14 13:37:04

Tali I think that sometimes if something happens in childhood, then subsequent experiences are less likely to be brushed off and more likely to both have an impact and be remembered. Also sometimes people can just be statistically unlucky.

RandyRudolf Tue 28-Jan-14 13:39:01

These days it's the risk of the pervert who get into your homes via the internet. Just as you teach your kids about stranger danger on the streets you have to protect them from the ones on the net.

5madthings Tue 28-Jan-14 13:39:02

no abduction is not on my list of things to worry about.

getting run over, car crshes, etc yes but abduction no.

i have taught my children what to do if they get lost and they know to contact me if they will be late home and to check with me or dp before doing something.

my eldest is 14 so has quite a bit of freedom now and ds2 is 11 and at high school.

ds3 is 9 and can walk to and from school on his own, half hour walk. he can also go to local shop andlibrary etc.

i have just made sure to teach them gradually and give them age appropriate freedoms etc gradually.

we live in a quiet cul de sac so they have been able to play out etc.

following Tue 28-Jan-14 13:42:23

in my teens i was flashed at 3 times in different locations , told to get in a car by an old bloke , asked to show the way to a lake through a field another old bloke ,followed for a week by a younger stalker and jumped on and wrestled to the ground in the street , so i drummed it into my kids always be on guard where ever they are .

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 13:42:34

But the shopping centre story is not true.

I don' think I have said, have I? that I have not prepared my children for the outside world, or talked about potential dangers. It's just that abduction is not one on my radar. And for some people it seems to be the number 1 worry.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 13:43:05

I wonder why too Algorta. One incident I was walking to school, lots of us were although I wasn't in a group. The man stopped on the dual carriage way we had to cross right at the point I was going to cross. He said something like would I like a lift and he had some puppies and would I'd like to come see them. It was a fair bit from home - 20 minute walk to school. I hung back and didn't say anything and I honestly think he might have forcefully got hold of me if I'd been closer. Of course I got a mouthful of abuse that I'd be in trouble for that and he was trying to help me out. I wish my parents had prepared me to get the car reg.

The second incident a friend and I had walked to a fair about 3 miles from home. We were sitting on some railings when a man stopped and beckoned me over. Luckily friend had a mouth on her and told him where to go. I was a very quiet kid.

Just remembered another weird incident. I was in the brownies and there was some get-together of the various troops in the area. Not enough space in the coach so one of the father's of a girl I wasn't particularly friendly with gave me and two others a lift. So 4 of us. His daughter in the front and 3 of us in the back. We drove for ages. So much so that I said will it take much longer. It was like he didn't want to reply because he mumbled something that I couldn't hear. He didn't speak the whole time - we were in that car hours. I felt his daughter felt a bit awkward. The other two girls did too as we were looking at each other puzzled. Eventually we stopped by a waterfall and got out. Still he said nothing. I asked or one of the others asked are we going to this troop get together? I think his daughter might have spoke and said he can't find it! It was like she was apologising for him. Fucking weird. I don't know what was going on there. He couldn't or wouldn't speak to us, could barely look at us. He didn't take us to where we were going so we missed the whole event. My gut feeling was something was wrong and I wasn't happy but luckily nothing happened. Bizarre. But I do feel he was up to something but the opportunity wasn't there.

The flashing stuff happened up the woods and one time he followed us and kept waving his penis when we'd run out into the field. The 16 year old with the shotgun said he'd shoot us if he caught us up there again. He had us against a tree. All incidents happened between 8 and 10.

When I was a child 2 men broke into my parents' garden and asked my little sister and me to come and play with them. I dragged my sister indoors and told my mum straight away, the police came round etc. I don't think anything ever came from it.

These days I suffer from anxiety (not related to the incident above, just part of my mental ill health) and I have to repeatedly convince myself that my worries are utterly blown out of proportion. For example if the children are in a playground and one goes out of sight for more than I moment I panic about them being abducted. I know that I'm overreacting because of my condition though, so I rarely act on it. My children's freedom should not be curtailed because I have mental illnesses. It's bloody hard though. sad

RandyRudolf Tue 28-Jan-14 13:47:36

Flashers...haven't seen one of them in years thank God. Saw quite a few as a kid, usually outside the school playground or near the park.
We'd always run home and tell our parents, cue angry dads marching up to the park!

cory Tue 28-Jan-14 13:49:52

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 13:30:17
" Your own personal experiences in life cloud where you are on the scale of protectiveness."

I don't think so necessarily. I think it's a combination of personal experiences and society's narrative.

There must be literally thousands of people in this country who have experienced a car crash at close hands. Yet most of these people do not spend their time agonising about whether they should let their children get in a car or not.

A friend of mine nearly died in a car crash the other week. She has not expressed any worry about the fact that her children go by car every day.

I grew up on an island where death by drowning, particularly from boat travelling, was something that affected the village regularly. Yet nobody seemed to have a boat phobia, nor did they only get into boats for necessary journeys: they used them for pleasure and encouraged their children to learn to drive as soon as possible.

Horsey families encourage their children to get up again after a fall, even though horse-riding is recognised as one of the most dangerous sports.

A young relative of mine had several of her friends die horribly in a disco fire. It didn't stop her going out to places which might potentially catch fire.

The fear of abduction, which affects so many areas of life, seems to be a different type of fear.

God I hate these kinds of threads. You're lucky these things don't bother you op. If someone us upset by them tgeyve either had different experiences to you or are mire likely to be stressed by what they see in the media.

Shock people are different to you.

Some people worry their children will get ill
Get fat
get hit by a car
Go to a substandard university
Get a shit job

fromparistoberlin Tue 28-Jan-14 13:54:26

of course I worry about it! dont most parents

I read DailyMail online far too much though, which details pretty much every single variant of a parents worst nignhtmare coming true

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 13:59:41

Car crashes, burning to death, falling off a horse are accidents.

People going around flashing, asking kids to get into cars, etc are Not accidents.

It seems from the evidence on here that the more freedom you have as a young child, the greater the risk from strangers ( I am only talking strangers).

If that is a risk a parent is prepared to deal with, then that is personal choice. Others are more risk averse.

We all are shaped by our experiences, we all do the best job we can as parents.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 14:01:20

I fell off a horse when I was a child and very nearly died.

By some people's reasoning that would mean that I would not let my children anywhere near a horse.

PleaseJust- it's all about risk assessment. We are damaging our children and society if we fail to judge risk sensibly- and we actually put our children at more risk. For example, a child who has had the dangers of strangers and of abduction drummed into them could be less likely to be able to deal with the possibility of abuse from someone he knows. Which, while still unlikely, is much more likely than "stranger danger" (I'd like to get my hands on whoever invented that neat little cliche)

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 14:01:22

OP how old are your DC? What freedoms are they allowed.

If they are still

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 14:02:04

18 and 12

sherbetpips Tue 28-Jan-14 14:03:51

As several threads on here will show you some parents are extremely worried about there children coming to harm. I have read about parents who wont sit in there own garden in the evening when there children are asleep in bed. Parents who take there kids into the petrol station when they pay rather than leave them in a locked car. There is always some story about some kids that supposedly got taken and that does build a lot of fear. There are also the very real and awful things that we have seen in the media over recent years. I try and take what I can in my stride, although weirdly the only thing we wouldnt do was camping - I was just too worried he would get up and go for a wander simply because he could!

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 14:08:03

LoL. In all my fears we did camping. That resulted in someone prowling round and stealing our tent pegs in the dead of night.

hooochycoo Tue 28-Jan-14 14:13:41

I grew up in the 70s too, walked to school from age 5, played out alone till dark, and everyday of the holidays. and had a couple of weird experiences, flashers or the beach, folk taking my photo when I was naked on beach and one time being locked in an abandoned garage with the older brother of some kids I knew , where he told me was going to rape me, then chickened out and ran off. I wouldn't trade these things not happening for the freedom and independence I had as a child .

higgle Tue 28-Jan-14 14:14:49

My mother worried about everything. My rule of parenting has always been to day "yes" unless there was very good reason to say "no" I didn't worry about abductions, falling out of trees, getting lost etc. etc. because the fact my mother did made my childhood a pain.

Yes, it's risk assessment.. But we all evaluate risk differently.

I am not worried about my daughter getting cancer and dying from it. This may be because I am lucky enough to not have dealt with it in first hand in my family, it's certainly more likely than my daughter being kidnapped.

But it's also that as horrific as the above scenario is.. If I were given a choice between her dying of cancer and going missing one day to never be seen again. I'd choose cancer. To me it is the absolutely worst case scenario that my child could go missing and I could have no idea what is happening to her. So the infinitesimally small chance that she could go missing is what upsets me most.

You can act all smug because you don't worry about it.. But so what? Be happy it doesn't make you panic when a child goes missing for a few minutes in a shop. It makes me stop breathing and want to be sick. Do you think that's a conscious choice? because I'm not clever enough to realize that she is unlikely to have been kidnapped and more likely to have hidden under a clothes rack?

I am even more worried about the possibility as she gets older. I'm American, the Us justice dept suspects that 1/3 of child runaways end up trafficked with in 48 hours!. They may start out as "run aways" but they aren't willingly being prostituted after 48 hours are they? No, they've been kidnapped. And I will be discussing it with dd and ds as they get older.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 14:15:56

Curlew it's obvious you don't just talk about stranger danger and don't mention it could be someone known to the family. Who would be stupid enough to do that? I'm sure there probably are but equally you can't just ignore stranger danger and talk about known-person danger.

You temper it. If you think you're paranoid which a lot seem to recognise going by the posts you rein it in or a family member might notice it's affecting the child. What I don't think you should do which is in your OP is completely ignore a danger that lots of us has said could have turned into much nastier situations than they did - it's almost like you're proud of the fact you've never worried about abduction whereas going by my experience and others on this thread it's sticking your head in the sand. No, you don't need to let it rule your life but equally you can't completely ignore. Statistically in my experience it was the stranger situations that were more dangerous - why? Because my parents only ever let family they trusted with my brothers and sister.

Bubble80 Tue 28-Jan-14 14:16:36

Is this a thread about the thread where the OP was worried about camping in case her kids were a suited OP?

gordyslovesheep Tue 28-Jan-14 14:17:37

I'm with you op - I do care and I am raising my three to trust their instincts, never do anything they find uncomfortable or that makes the uneasy and never to anywhere with anyone without informing me or their dad
I refuse to curtail their freedom due to paranoia. I also think its vital children get to take some risks in order to learn their own risk assessment stratagie
Abuse by strangers is rare . Focusing on that is dangerous

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 14:20:11

Yes, it's a thread about a thread and I'm sorry but I think I have to agree with PleaseJust - it's like you're smug about it. It's the usual thing on MN - oh I let mine do this that and the other and I'm not worried. And then someone else pipes up and I let mine do this that the other and another thing. Almost like a race to see who is the most relaxed and cool parent. Who cares? Do what you want and let others do what they want, why let it concern you?

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 14:23:42

"You can act all smug because you don't worry about it.. But so what? Be happy it doesn't make you panic when a child goes missing for a few minutes in a shop"

I am not smug. And of course I panic under those circumstances- that's just a visceral response. It's the decisions we make when we're not in a "primitive" panic I'm talking about.

I think also, if there is a car accident, a fire, a drowning, we know what happens next even if it is not a nice outcome. We know what happens, we have closure and an ending.

With abduction or other missing persons often the parents or family never ever find out what happened to their child/family member. That's potentially more scary I reckon.

IMO terrible things happen and sometimes it doesn't matter what you put into place to protect your children. Adults are abducted, raped, attacked. I try to make sure DS is aware of his own personal safety but I do think it's important to let children have freedom and independence.

5madthings Tue 28-Jan-14 14:28:33

I had lots of freedom as child and yes some bad experience, flashers, maybe therewere more common? As I sawa few.

I was also raped as a teen.

But I still let my kids out to play, let them walk to town etc as the risk of abduction is so small its not worth worrying sbout.

Road safety is high on my check list, ditto internet safety.

Also teachign them to cook properly and to be safe usign household appliances etc.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 14:30:25

But why would you panic Curlew under those circumstances when you "never worried for a second about the possibility of my children being abducted"? Surely in those circumstances you wouldn't have thought they'd been abducted and just that they were hiding and playing a game? So you have thought for a second they've been abducted if you panicked and presumably you told them never to run away from mummy again in a shop and to stay where she can see you? So therefore you have factored it in to your actions presumably?

With abduction or other missing persons often the parents or family never ever find out what happened to their child/family member. That's potentially more scary I reckon.

That's it for me, it's the unknown that just stops me in my tracks.

Katnisscupcake Tue 28-Jan-14 14:31:58

I remember having to walk 3 miles to and from school every day from the age of 8, along country lanes. My sister was walking with me until I was 9 and then she went to big school so the last two years I had to walk on my own. There were no pavements so I was literally walking on the roads.

On two occasions I was offered a lift, once by a middle-aged couple and once by a man. Both times I refused, which was actually really hard because walking all that way on my own in the rain/wind/snow was really really hard. But it had obviously been drummed into me (although I don't remember who by).

DD is four and we've never talked to her about it actually - we will do now though!

5madthings Tue 28-Jan-14 14:32:36

We lost ds4 for a good 40 mins in a forest the other year and it was awful but I wasmt worried he ahd been abducted.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 14:35:51

Why would I panic? Because I am an animal!

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 14:39:16

I also have moments of panic if my children are sleeping deeply and look as if they aren't breathing, although my rational mind knows they are.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 14:40:20

Well you're a rational human being as well. Even I could rationalise that and I'm obviously more 'paranoid' about these things. Maybe you subconsciously knew it is a risk. A slim one but it's there. Very dangerous in my view to not acknowledge it at all.

I don't know that my immediate thought when I have lost DS briefly is "Oh my god he's been abducted" but "Oh my god, he's got lost" and fear that he is frightened and can't find me or perhaps has had an accident. But mostly is the primal fear of "I don't know where my child is".

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 14:48:47

That's it, Bertie. The atavistic fear of a lost child. Not anything to do with abduction. Or only as part of an overwhelming, primitive feeling.

I remember once he got lost in a motorway service station. My biggest fear was that he had left and tried to find the car and that he could be run over in the car park or even find his way onto the motorway. I didn't think for a second that somebody had run off with him although looking back I can see it would have been possible.

No, he was playing hide and seek under the tables where we'd had our lunch. Which actually logically was the most likely thing - that they've either inadvertantly wandered off and got lost or they have deliberately gone somewhere familiar to them in the place they are for some ridiculous, immature brain functioning reason.

But logic does go out of your mind. I can see how people might suddenly fear abduction in that state, DS had amazing road sense from very young so I have no idea why my first thought was "OMG the motorway!" He wouldn't have stepped out into the car park.

Clumsyoaf Tue 28-Jan-14 14:56:11

I wouldn't like to think that my friend lied to me. But I do know it made me more cautious when out and about.

I grew up in America in a small town where everybody left there back doors open, kids played in the street and popped into friends houses for lemonade or snacks. But now, everything is locked here and kids dont get to play out like that.

ComposHat Tue 28-Jan-14 14:57:08

I would hope that children would be educated about the type of touching or behaviour that isn't okay whether it cones from a person they know or a stranger.

The stranger danger thing that was rammed down our tgroats in the 70s & 80s was probably counter productive as most abuse is committed by a person known and trusted by the victim.

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 15:09:03

From the language the op is using this is some kind of psychological exercise, rather than I am interested in opinions thread.

Ffs who talks about atavistic fears and primitive feelings.

Knob off .

ComposHat Tue 28-Jan-14 15:14:00

Was there really any need for that elderberi? If you don't kike the way rhe thread is going you are under no obligation to read or participate.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 15:16:13

"Ffs who talks about atavistic fears and primitive feelings."

Er, literate, educated people???????

Mintyy Tue 28-Jan-14 15:17:04

I do worry as we have had four or five attempted abductions of schoolchildren in my small area in the past couple of years.

We had a text from my dd's school about another one just last week.

So, yes, I worry.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 15:19:42

You need to be very careful about these "attempted abductions" you get notes home from school about. The police obviously have to take seriously every incident- but often the incident turns out to be a misunderstanding, or a family row, or an exaggeration. But you don't hear that bit, you just get the initial scary letter.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 15:23:01

Equally you can't rule it out completely so why not be opened minded that it could be? There's been enough evidence on here about men taking the opportunity when it arises.

LeBFG Tue 28-Jan-14 15:31:28

I think there's a lot of fear around. With children especially. People seem carry around a lot of real fear of abductors and perverts from a day-to-day basis despite the rareness of these things.

Back in the day, I was trusted to walk to primary school, about 15mins from home, down a dark alley - there was often a pervy man walking his dog. Without any explicit 'instruction' we knew not to approach or talk to this man (poor bloke was probably not pervy in the least). I think kids are fairly aware of dangers and how to react to strangers.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 15:33:33

Because I don't want to modify my behaviour or my children's behaviour on the strength of a risk too small to be worth taking into consideration. Too many children's lives are constrained by this.

I also think- and I await my flaming- that people focus on "stranger danger" because it's so much easier to think about than the stronger (but still tiny) possibility that a child will come to harm at the hands of somebody they know. It's much easier to focus the fear on the "other" (sorry, elderberri) than where, if it should be at all, it should be focused. That is, on family and friends.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 15:38:04

I don't think they all are LeBFG. At all. I wasn't. I think it was pure luck nothing serious happened to me. I think I would have froze and not told my parents (which is too late by then anyway) which is why as a parent you have to be consider all risks and make appropriate judgements.

To dismiss any risk completely as totally unlikely could end up being to your child's detriment. I say "could" - these risks may be unlikely statistically but it only needs to be that one chance and both your lives are ruined. Why take that chance? Be aware if your fears are affecting you DC's development but I think awareness is very important. And to act proud of it - and I don't just mean Curlew here - but there's been other threads along those lines about parents being so laid back they're horizontal well that's up to you. Better safe than sorry as they say. It's just one small facet of being a parent. Others include encouraging calculated risks and adventure. It's not either or.

Elderberri Tue 28-Jan-14 15:45:07

Op your whole post was about being abducted by strangers, then you bang on about family and friends.

Stay in the context of your post. Of course we are all aware of the family and friends thin.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 15:46:46

Completely disagree Curlew and think your view is dangerous. One doesn't wipe out the other. Parents must consider all risks, no matter how slim. You make your judgements and weighting then based on all the facts. Just because one is more likely than the other, which I'm not disputing, you do not then consider the effect the other could have.

And I also think it depends on age. Warning about family/friends might be more appropriate when younger, maybe stranger danger not so much but when they're older and going off into town for the day with friends then you warn about people being too friendly - and that could include someone they know but also includes strangers. So you've never said to your kids don't go off with people you don't know? I find that hard to believe.

For someone that hasn't given abduction a second's thought in bringing up your kids you're arguing the case about everyone not worrying about it very strongly. It's like no one's experience of what has happened with strangers - many stories that could have taken a turn for the worse - has penetrated at all. You're in the mindset you're right and that's it. I don't want to just count of luck nothing happening to my DC. I've given him a range of scenarios over the years and possible outcomes and possible ways of dealing with things. All age appropriate, nothing OTT, no scaremongering. Just what I thought parents did so I'm a bit surprised that not everyone does.

Greythorne Tue 28-Jan-14 15:51:45

I think what you are missing from
Your analysis is that if my child goes missing and is killed or never seen again, there is no return from the abyss for me.

If my child gets run over or gets cancer, I will be devastated but given time, I think I would accept it.

I would never, ever be able to accept it if my child disappeared like James Bulger or April Jones.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 15:54:26

Meant to say "count on luck" not "count of luck".

I don't really know what you want from the OP. That you were right to never give abduction a second's thought? I think it's unreasonable as do others and given reasons why - because we've been in situations that we don't want our kids to find themselves in.

Abduction happens. It's not the all out disappearance of a kid for ever more. It's also being picked up, abused for a period of time then dumped and no one being any the wiser as the kid is too scared to tell. Don't place too great a weight on it as it's unlikely but to place no weight on it at all that bad things happen? I think that's a bit negligent.

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 28-Jan-14 15:54:56

Yes ive spoken to them about it, in the same way as I speak to them about internet safety, what to do if theres a fire, road safety etc. Talking about it doesnt haave to cause any constraints on them.

LadyInDisguise Tue 28-Jan-14 15:57:26

I agree with Corry. Our society certainly has something to say about our attitude to risk it rather our aversion to risk.

For myself, I can say that I don't think about abduction. Even when my 3yo disappeared in the middle of a large museum, I wasn't worried about that. I was worried he would try and go back to the car to find me! (I was right, when I finally found him he was trying to go to the entrance to find me...).

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 16:00:12

There's incidents in the news often. A boy held at knife point by two men from a shopping centre and taken into toilets and raped. Horrific things. I can't hide my head in the sand about that. Another one that affected me a 12 year old helping someone look for their dog for some money and taken in to a field and raped. My DS was the same age. These are the ones that are in the news. There's others that don't get reported. It's not a big fear but why take that risk with the most precious things in your life to not have a little chat about strategies? Bad things do happen. They shouldn't take over your life but to not consider the risks at all is strange to me.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 16:02:49

It doesn't necessarily make your child averse to risk though. I'm not going to say what my DS gets up to but he travels the country and London alone and has done from before his teens and plans to go travelling the world at 18. But I've prepared him so I'm not unduly worried. I suppose nerves of the parent can rub off on the child but it's not a given. You keep a check on it, that's common sense. You don't not give advice though in the fear of that, what's the point of that?

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 16:04:23

I am not so worried about my children getting taken away as in abducted and removed, I know this is unlikely, but I am worried about them having unpleasant and possibly dangerous encounters with strangers or people they know but don't feel they can say no to- so older boys who try something on, say sexual things, flashers, groped on public transport, threatened with rape, raped and so on. Most of these things have happened to me although as a late teen/early twenties, not as a young child.

Having girls I do feel I have to prepare them for that, or at least, teach them early on to have strong bodily integrity (no-one touches your private parts of your body), be a little wary about people's intentions (if someone round the corner offers you sweets and says do you want to come in my house, you don't go) and to always ask for advice/seek help/say no if something seems wrong (ask me if they can do stuff).

I don't go on about abduction to them, but learning to interact with the public is important- as much about how to seek help as to avoid dodgy people.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 28-Jan-14 16:08:42

Last winter, a man tried to abduct my then 16yo DD - she was walking along a quiet tree lined road after dark and he tried to make her get in the car. My DD is the coolest teen you could ever meet, unphased by anything, and yet I have never heard such panic in her voice as when she was on the mobile to me half way through the incident (in her panic she phoned me instead of 999). I kept her talking whilst I dialled 999 on the house phone. She was incoherent so if he had snatched her, I would not have had much to go on. The police told me to put the phone down so they could talk to her on her mobile. They were brilliant. There was a car there within minutes (although the man had driven off). The same man fitted an e-fit of a man who has tried to abduct younger school children DD looks young for her age actually.

Info to give teens if in that situation: talk loudly into your mobile reciting the registration plate even if you have no credit and can't really phone anyone. Go to a lit area as fast as possible if you can and wait inside a shop (we live in London). Make lots of noise! Don't be abducted through self consciousness/ politeness.

In answer to OP, no I don't really worry about abduction but I do think it happens sometimes short term for teenaged girls and sometimes they are too ashamed to tell. I am glad you don't worry about it and do sort of agree if your point is that you can;'t spend life worrying as there are dangers all around and we just have to accept that. Mind you, I now pick up my DD from school when I can even though she could perfectly well get the bus and walk. Once they catch that particular man, I may stop.

QOD Tue 28-Jan-14 16:08:45

I was flashed at and chased 3 0r 4 times growing up, hence my dd got sheltered more by me

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 16:09:59

Curlew I kind of agree about focusing on family and friends, however, there are not very nice strangers out there who whilst they might not abduct your child, might also frighten or traumatise or make them feel unsafe, this has certainly happened to me a few times. There's no point in 'stranger danger' per se, as some strangers are good for helping you, and some well-known adults might be dangerous, but equally, that's only in relation to sexual abuse as the opportunities are there, there are plenty of unpleasant experiences that strangers could do which aren't necessarily the same- as I say, girls/women being flashed at/verbally abused/groped being the obvious one which has happened to most women/girls I know- and if my dd is to travel on public transport for secondary school, she is going to have to know what to do in these situations (girls need to be actively taught not to be polite and compliant in these situations for fear of making a fuss/being wrong- get up and move, go and tell the guard, say loudly 'what are you doing')

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 16:10:19

I was just going to say the same Thetallestower. I'd worry about that too. I was thinking of it today as Katie Piper was on the TV this morning. Her boyfriend pretty much abducted her and kept her in a hotel room while he raped her. How you prepare for that I don't know apart from talking, giving examples, mentioning things on the news as warnings. As a parent I think it's important to take these actions.

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 16:12:41

Prof how stressful, thanks for sharing your story, it makes my blood run cold though- I agree with your advice about telling girls to be loud, speak into their mobiles, get away and so on. I think it's quite head in the sand not to recognize the huge amount of everyday sexual harassment and worse that many women experience, and it doesn't just start when we are fully-grown women.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 28-Jan-14 16:14:49

Also, as a child in London, I too was flashed many times. It didn't bother me as I was so innocent I did not know about sex and the possible implications, and was very shocked when in school assembly the HM announced that there had been a flasher nearby and we were to be careful. She made it sound really serious but this flasher had been a regular in the Hammersmith underpass for years and I had just thought how daft he was. Sending teenaged girls down West London residential streets in our games kit of a white aertex shirt and blue nylon knickers (no skirts for athletics), looking back, seems to have been inviting trouble.

Curlew I agree that the greatest danger is from family or family friends BUT, sadly, there is little you can do to avoid them. You can teach children to avoid stranger danger quite effectively.

perfectstorm Tue 28-Jan-14 16:16:46

When I was 7 we were in Battersea Park, and a friend fell off the adventure play equipment and had to be taken in to first aid. His mum told the other sibling (8) and his best mate and me to stay outside the door with her baby in his buggy while she was gone. They wandered off within five minutes, but as I didn't want to play with them and was a prissy little girl I stayed with the baby as instructed. A few minutes after that, a guy on a bike rode up, tipped the buggy up with one hand, and started cycling off. I ran in to the first aid bit screaming "X'S BEEN KIDNAPPED!" and his mum raced out and started running after the man on the bike. Who tried speeding up, but apparently couldn't outrun her on rough grassy terrain while pulling the buggy one handed, so let go and rode away. The baby was fine (though the poor woman had to take the other child to A&E with all of us in tow as she couldn't locate our parents in those pre-mobile days... she told me a year or so ago that that day remained the worst of her life!)

I know it's rare, but it does happen. None of us know what he meant to do with that baby but it can't have been anything good, can it? Part of me feels ridiculous being cautious with my own kids, because statistically this sort of thing is vanishingly rare and by far the largest risk to your children is sexual abuse by someone they know and you trust, but still. It's not exactly ignorable, if you've ever even tangentially been affected. I can still remember how it felt when that man tilted the handle and rode off, because I felt awful I was too small to stop him. I don't want to ever fear that with my own child.

I think you're being completely reasonable. It's so unlikely to happen, you're right. But I can't join you in your reasonableness, because I am too frightened of being the statistical anomaly.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 28-Jan-14 16:18:26

Gosh perfectstorm well done you!

This wasn't about 1988/9 was it?

Bowlersarm Tue 28-Jan-14 16:21:22

I have always been aware of dangers for my DSes, both stranger danger and physical i.e. drowning, accident etc. Aways erred on the side of caution rather than risk.

I would be devastated enough if something happened to them, but if it was because I had taken a risk with them then I would never be able to forgive myself.

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 16:21:41

ProfPlum you can talk to your children about what is and isn't appropriate though with friends and family- I sound like I am obsessed by it but have only had about two or three conversations recently with my girls, but I just think it is so important for them to know that no-one touches them or makes them feel uncomfortable or asks them to keep a secret- and that includes friends family and people we know as well as strangers. Perhaps I am over-reacting but I am amazed how many people have had unwanted sexual contact all the way up to terrible abuse and I think girls who are taught to be passive and children in general who are taught adults are in charge are obviously going to be vulnerable. It's also all over the news at the moment so it's not odd to discuss it.

Elderberri I have had similar, I used to be harassed a lot, sometimes aggressively and have had to run away from a group making threats before now.

To the person who said- no-one i know has ever been abducted, lucky you- but out of all of your friends and parents friends- ask if any of the women have been sexually harassed, flashed at, groped, had verbal abuse, made to feel awful on the street by a stranger. I will be extremely surprised if the answer is no, not ever in their entire lives- because statistically this is extremely common.

LtEveDallas Tue 28-Jan-14 16:25:29

I've never worried about abduction/stranger danger. I haven't even had the conversation with DD, although I know they have covered it at school.

She still has lots of freedom, far more than her friends really and I allow her to go 'off' with her friends for an hour or so without worrying where she is.

I've never worried about it. I suppose we've always lived in safer areas where I knew the people around us. Maybe things will change when we move in the summer. That will be quite sad.

perfectstorm Tue 28-Jan-14 16:25:46

Incidentally, I haven't given my 5 year old the Stranger Danger talk because he's still at an age where he is supervised/accompanied. I have, though, given him the "your private bits are your own and nobody touches them except at the doctors if you are poorly and they are making you better, which is why you need to wash them yourself" alongside the "never make anyone do anything with their bodies they don't want, and never let them do that to you" (context was his trying to yank a little girl friend off to play when she didn't want to - never too early to teach kids to respect bodily autonomy, IMO). I agree you shouldn't wrap them in cotton wool, whatever your own anxieties. But I can't stop having those anxieties. I just have to manage them.

perfectstorm Tue 28-Jan-14 16:29:33

ProfPlum no, it was in 1981, I think? I was born in 1974, and the friend went overseas for a year when I was 8, so must have been the summer before - we moved to Wandsworth while they were gone, and at the time we definitely still lived in Clapham.

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 16:39:47

My first thought LtEveDallas when you said we've always lived in safer areas where I knew the people around us was April Jones. I'm sure her parents could have said the same thing the day before she was abducted. You just don't know what everyone is like. Most people are lovely but the nutters present themselves like that too.

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 16:44:01

I don't worry about it though. I view taking preventive action by talking to my children about strangers, friends, their intentions, their bodies as something that is relevant throughout their lives. It's not a worry, more a life lesson thing- I can think of quite a few things I wish I could have told my parents over the years, I just hope mine can speak up if anything happens (from bullying to dodgy men approaching them).

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 16:46:17

LtEve- I probably take the opposite view, it's because we live in a friendly neighbourhood, kids playing out, lots more freedom for the children that I think it's important for them to think about what's ok and what's not- so they do have to tell me where they are, mustn't go in people's houses without asking etc. One reason I relax is because on the occasions a stranger has asked for directions or given them sweets- they tell me and ask me or make good decisions, this gives me faith they are quite sensible and able to handle themselves.

LtEveDallas Tue 28-Jan-14 16:46:47

Sorry Tabliope, I should have quantified. The people I live around are all soldiers and their families so I know them all personally and professionally, have deployed with them and see them daily. Maybe it gives me a skewed sense of safety, I accept that, but where I am (and have been previously) kids of all ages are playing out, in and out of each other's houses etc.

Of course there could be a bad one in the 'pot' but it seems unlikely and the way everyone knows each other's business around here, I would doubt it.

But like I said I accept that I could be wrong. Let's hope I'm not smile

mercibucket Tue 28-Jan-14 16:49:23

specifically being abducted - very rare

being sexually assaulted - it's one in four women isn't it? so not rare. and 1 in 20 children.

i guess worrying about it doesn't stop it happening so yanbu but i find those stats worrying and i am a worrier at heart.

the situations you mentioned about camping and public toilets are things i have already thought about.

tbh as well, as a child of the 70's and 80's, all the scandals on the tv now perfectly reflect my experience of those times. i am not surprised a lot of us are paranoid

Tabliope Tue 28-Jan-14 16:49:56

I get you LtEveDallas. I'd be comfortable with that too. Didn't mean to pry.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 16:52:22

"Op your whole post was about being abducted by strangers, then you bang on about family and friends.

Stay in the context of your post. Of course we are all aware of the family and friends thin."

OK. Then I think the risk of a child in the UK being abducted by strangers is so minute as to not really count as a risk at all.

lljkk Tue 28-Jan-14 16:55:00

A stranger tried to abduct me once when I was 15 or 16. I don't think I worry about it with DC. I could freak out if I thought how vulnerable DD is for being female (so I don't think about it).
I don't want to rank awful ways to live or die, but Kids who live with daily cruelty or horrors are a lot more upsetting to me than a kid who has a final few awful hours or a single terrible experience.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 16:55:04

I have never met a parent who hadn't worried about abduction by a stranger or abuse by a known adult.

personally I factored both if these things into my parenting alongside teaching them road safety and how to swim.

if you don't give kids the knowledge and the tools to cope in situations them they can't protect themselves.

I saw the tent post and completely understood.

like is all I guess my kids are my most precious possession and having thought for a few hours a while back that dd had been killed I find it very hard to not live in fear of loosing one of them.

but it has to be balanced and proportionate.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 16:59:38

on the going to the toilet in costa? a girl was raped in a sainsburys toilet and a bit was raped in mc Donald's.

police often warn parents about allowing children to access public toilets by themselves however busy the shop so please don't do it.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 17:13:35

Bodygoingsouth- I have never heard the police saying that. But anyway, my point was that my friend would not let her child use the loo in this particular Costa (not our usual one) because it had two doors. It was specifically stranger abduction that was worrying her.

LadyInDisguise Tue 28-Jan-14 17:14:45

I agree curlew that the risk IS small. The risk of being raped by a relative is much higher. As is the risk of a car accident.

I also have an issue with the whole 'Don't talk to strangers, don't ever go anywhere with anyone' thing. That's what my dcs have been taught at school. Then we meet a woman in the street, a neighbour, and I say hello to her. dc was completely lost as to why I said hello. 'But we don't know her!'. Except that we had been seen her everyday for the last 3 years at the same time, going to school... (And she then happened to become one of the dinner ladies there too!)
And then when ds got lost trying to find me hmm, was the advice of 'not talking to stranger' the right one? No talking meant no help .....

I really think that we need to be much more aware of the real risk. Yes if course, some people will have had 'bad' experiences. I had, incl spending the weekend with an old guy, friend of my parents, that was (very) close to be a pervert. But compared to being in a car crash, hurting themselves on the play equipment, being bullied by older children at the park, the risk IS small indeed.

That happened in my town Body and the local paper interview with the mother was absolutely heartbreaking - she kept saying "I shouldn't have let her go alone. But what parent doesn't let their 11 year old use the toilet alone? You assume they'll be OK." It was a 15 year old boy, they found in the end. It could have happened in a school or anywhere. I felt for her because she was right - she couldn't have protected her daughter, but she kept thinking "What if" and blaming herself anyway.

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 17:17:34

Are you just after a ding dong OP?!

What a weird thread subject.

LeBFG Tue 28-Jan-14 17:22:49

But what ARE you to do Bertie: not let your 15yo go to the toilet alone? Take the bus alone? Not walk to school? I mean, you just can't prevent everything bad happening.

LeBFG Tue 28-Jan-14 17:24:57

Sorry, I read 15yo not 11yo blush but I still stand by my point.

Ragwort Tue 28-Jan-14 17:25:24

I don't think it is a 'weird thread subject' because this sort of thing crops up quite frequently on Mumsnet - ie: the fear of leaving your child whilst you nip into a shop or pay for petrol etc - it would never dawn on me to think my child might be abducted in that sort of scenario. I know it does happen but the statistics are so incredibly low that I just wouldn't worry about it; yet there are clearly lots of Mumsnetters who would never leave their child in that sort of situation - when realistically the liklihood of an accident if you take your child out of the car and into the kiosk to pay for the petrol is probably higher than an 'abduction' risk.


But I think those of us who agree with you are a shrinking minority.
IMO it's part of a growing general anxiety in society sad

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 17:28:27

I think if you don't worry about it for a second and do not take any kind of steps to prevent then you cannot possibly say you did everything you could to protect your child if the worst should happen.

The risk is so small? And yet there are many posters on here who have experienced situations that many have had the potential to lead to just such a scenario, it's just been pure luck that all the pieces didn't fall into place to allow that to happen.

This is an old study and the figures aren't high but worth a read I think The Guardian

Thetallesttower Tue 28-Jan-14 17:29:54

I do let my dd's use public toilets by themselves and will carry on doing so, the risk is low. It's important children can go to the toilet without an adult outside the door- on school trips, out with friends when 11 onwards, if traveling to school.

LadyCurlew I agree about the stranger danger being bad advice, my dd once had to depend on the kindness of strangers and if she'd run off it would have been a disaster. Also- my children didn't get what a stranger was- so it was all a bit pointless (people with dogs they liked who smiled- not strangers to my 5 year old for example).

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 17:30:29

No ragwort.

The but that's weird that the OP isn't worried about her dc being abducted and started a thread to say so knowing full well there are posters that do worry about it.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 17:33:51

Hang on- so you can only ever start threads about things everyone agrees on? That might be a bit dull, don't you think?

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 17:35:09

No don't be daft.

But you knew before you started it what people would say.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 17:36:30

Bertie yes heartbreaking and if course not mums fault at all but the badtard who raised her.

I use my rule of thumb as an ex cm, would I let mindees go to a public toilet alone while I carried in shopping with the others, the answer is no. not under 14 probably. so why would I let my own kids.

curlew the police warned parents to remember shop toilets are just as public as those in the high street and asked parents to accompany their children.

LeBfg of course you have to balance risk with statistical reality but to say you have * never considered the possibility of abduction or ever factored it into your plans* sounds a bit daft to be honest. that's what the op said.

never heard a parent ever think that really.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 17:38:13

"curlew the police warned parents to remember shop toilets are just as public as those in the high street and asked parents to accompany their children. "

When and where?

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 17:40:44

re stranger danger! if all you teach children is don't talk to strangers then you may as well not bother.

you need to teach them how to keep safe and in lots of cases that could mean accessing help from a stranger.

you teach them strategies, you role play, you ask them what would you do in a situation?

just to say 'oh well it's such a small risk we won't bother and you lot are all hysterical' is to me as neglectful as not teaching road safety or how to swim.

BFG I said upthread you can't prevent it, no - and IMO you shouldn't let it curtail their freedom. I take DS in with me but he's 5 and it's more worry about him locking himself in/touching something disgusting or not being able to open a heavy door.

I felt the mum was beating herself up unnecessarily. Yes she COULD have gone with her 11 year old but that way breeds madness. It's perfectly normal for an 11 year old to use a public toilet alone. I don't think it's helpful to speculate over whether you've done everything you can as long as you've taken reasonable precautions. Accompanying an 11 year old to the toilet is not a reasonable precaution. The mother had done everything reasonable to protect her little girl and something bad still happened.

jonicomelately Tue 28-Jan-14 17:42:08

I often wonder whether the Jamie Bulger case has had a subconscious impact on our generation as a whole.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 17:42:11

saw a police inspector saying just that after the girl was raped in sainsburys.

I don't lie and am not a drama queen op.

LadyInDisguise Tue 28-Jan-14 17:45:41

I think if you don't worry about it for a second and do not take any kind of steps to prevent then you cannot possibly say you did everything you could to protect your child if the worst should happen.

But the thing you CAN NOT protect them from all the dangers around. That's what we are being told again and again. Don't do this it might be dangerous. oh and don't do that and that either.

Eg, (real) one want to change the lights. So you can take a step ladder, climb, change the light go down. Ah yes but it's dangerous so you need to take all the appropriate steps to protect the person working. So you need a small 'elevator' with protection all around so the person can't fall etc etc. Changing the light now takes 1/2 hour instead of 5mins. oh and yes you can't change the lights upstairs any more as there is no lift for the small 'elevator' thingy...
Move that to children and ... you end up stopping them from learning to live by protecting them from all the dangers they could possibly face.
That's not what parenting is about. Children will never be streetwise by being cocooned from the dangers. You can talk and talk, stop them from doing x and Y but at some point they will be alone and then what? They still won't know how to deal with the situation. They might not 10, they might be 20yo. But they still won't.

5madthings Tue 28-Jan-14 17:46:06

Sorry did I understand that right body that you wouldnt let a child under the age of 14 go to the toilet on their own? We are talking when out, so public toilets, shopping centres and restaraunts etc?

I would let an 11 year old use public toilets on a street alone too. I don't think she was at fault in any way but of course you blame yourself.

IIRC police at the time were urging caution, my gut feeling is that it makes people feel safer to think there's something they can do. If a policeman comes on TV and says "Well, there's no way this could have been prevented so try not to worry about it!" that's not massively reassuring.

It's not practical to accompany an 11 year old to the toilets all of the time. As I said above, she was attacked by a 15 year old, so it could easily have happened at school, where the teachers wouldn't be accompanying children into toilets.

LadyInDisguise Tue 28-Jan-14 17:52:28

And by doing that they make parents feel even more guilty that they didn't do X or Y...
And make everyone scare to ever let their dcs out of sight. Ever.

I am not sure how this is supposed to make us feel safer.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 17:53:08

LadyInDisguise by seeing the world as a totally safe place where abductions and nastiness don't happen is the exact opposite of nutting your children and protecting them from harm.

my older ones are grown up and the younger ones teens and are as street wise as I could make them by
by discussing all these issues and arming them with strategies and knowledge.

simply seeing the world through rose tinted glasses is not helpful.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 17:54:16

obviously not nutting your children but letting. grin

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 17:54:41

I don't think that analogy is relevant lady. As an adult you can weigh up the risks and decide whether or not to proceed for yourself. A child has neither the mental or physical strength to protect themselves from potentially dangerous situations so we have to do it for them. You might as well say well let's not bother teaching them anything then? At 20 years old they are at the very least going to have more physical strength and be less of a target for someone who is after a child that has no hope of protecting itself.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 18:17:46

yy sparkly you have to teach them about the world and both the good and the potential bad.

if you as a parent seem to live in happy land it's not very helpful, same as if you as a parent live in such constant fear that you don't let kids do anything.

it's a balance.

traininthedistance Tue 28-Jan-14 18:28:42

My mum grew up having lots of those near-miss stalker / flasher / man with puppies / groping incidents, culminating in an attack on the underground aged 12 that she was lucky to escape from. She said this was pretty common in the 60s, when she grew up; and that adults did not always believe or adequately protect children. She also worked in child protection as a social worker in the 70s and saw a few awful cases of child abduction. As a consequence she was much more vigilant with me, and I was aware of dangers from early on and what to do (and was not allowed to "play out", though from about 9-10 I probably had more freedom than children of the same age now). I had a lovely childhood, and never felt hard done by by not being allowed to play out in the street.

Risk assessment is not just about statistical likelihood, but potential consequences. Child abduction might be rare, but the consequences are potentially catastrophic. This is what worries me: plus different people percieve risk differently. I have what psychologists call a high internal locus of control: if anything bad happened to my DD I would always consider myself to blame in some way. In my assessment of risk, I also take into account how I would feel if something happened. My sister, in contrast, is much more relaxed about risk: she fundamentally believes that nothing bad will happen to her. For example, she was quite happy to take naps on the sofa under a duvet with her baby DCs on the grounds that SIDS was so rare nothing was likely to happen. I could never have done the same, because in the tiny eventuality that something did happen, I would never have been able to forgive myself for taking the risk, however small. BTW I am not ignorant about risk assessment: I'm a researcher with a background in statistical analysis.

I don't see why children can't be adequately equipped to deal with certain risks without this compromising their freedoms? It's rather an illusion to think children have a great deal of freedom in the swallows and amazons sort of way these days anyway; but this doesn't mean they are somehow oppressed by an awareness of potential dangers.

Bowlersarm Tue 28-Jan-14 18:34:45

Lady I'm not sure your light changing adult is the same as a situation with a child. Adults have to change lights, or we'd all live in darkness.

But to kind of use your scenario with a child.....if I left my 7 year old DC at home alone and she fell down the stairs and broke her neck, that would be my fault for leaving her home alone at 7 (way too young in my view). If my 13 year old was home alone fell down stairs and broke her neck that wouldn't be my fault because it is appropriate for a 13 year old to be home alone. I would be devastated, not sure how my life would pan out after that, but it wouldn't have been my fault and I couldn't blame myself and nor could anyone else.

I've said it before on here, but I wouldn't let my DC do anything that if something untoward happened to them, i would think back and know I shouldn't have let them do it. It just wasn't worth the risk. If its age appropriate, that's a different thing.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 18:36:04

traininthedistance exactly.

op how is your parenting any different then with your stance?

FixItUpChappie Tue 28-Jan-14 18:46:09

I wish. I lay in bed at night trying to shut out thoughts of poor James Bulger. I feel sick raising in my throat to even think of it. I wish I could take my brain out and scrub out any knowledge of such bad things happening in the world. I really do. I am a person plagued by constant fear. It is a horrible way to be.

Tiredemma Tue 28-Jan-14 18:47:45

Its a very real issue in our locality at the moment- there appears to be a man driving around the local schools in a white car trying to entice girls into his car. We are getting frequent text messages from the school warning us to be vigilant.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 18:51:33

Tired so are we, worcestershire area.

Fix agree. my ds2 was the same age as Jamie and it still makes me mad when I see toddlers running around with harassed mums trying to coral them.

I want to shout get bloody reins!!!!!!!

Greythorne Tue 28-Jan-14 18:53:05

Why do people fear flying when they happily get in a car every day?
People's perceptions of risk are skewed.
People fear abduction by a paedophile because the high profile cases are so horrifying. And most people can't imagine their dad, husband, brother, mum, sister sexually abusing their child.

FixItUpChappie Tue 28-Jan-14 18:59:29

But don't you think that all of this world wide web connectivity makes magnifies our fears? I had never heard of James Bulger until 2 weeks ago, when someone hear mentioned him and I took the unwise step of wiki-ing him to understand the reference. I cried all night. For something that happened 20 years ago, in another country, that I have absolutely no control over whatsoever. That is not healthy. We all know every dirty detail of everything everywhere though - I think that must mess with out minds, no?

traininthedistance Tue 28-Jan-14 19:02:43

I'm not sure people's perceptions of risk are skewed in those situations exactly: many car accidents are not catastrophic, but pretty much all plane crashes are. We know that driving safely and being vigilant slows at least a perceived control over the risk. Whereas those in a plane really do not have any control over whether it crashes or not. In those situations people's perception of risk is inflected by their perceived level of control. This doesn't change despite everyone knowing it's more likely that you'll be in a car accident than in a plane crash.

Awareness of so-called stranger abduction shouldn't lead to less perception of other dangers: surely a child's awareness that he or she shouldn't be coerced into something they don't want to do helps them protect themselves against non-strangers too? Why are the two things set against each other?

If one wanted to be graphic, along the lines of the car/plane analogy above, a child might have a greater likelihood of being molested by someone known to them than a stranger, but a greater likelihood of also being killed if abducted by a stranger. This doesn't imply that measures taken to guard against the one preclude measures taken to guard against the other. Or that one wouldn't be horrified by the possibility of both.

I like Bowlersarm's description above.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 19:02:53

but people do fly don't they? I hate it but I know I have to! it wouldn't stop me as I love going abroad.

same with your children. you know abduction is a rare occurance but you don't shut it out or not arm your children with knowledge or teach them strategies to avoid dangerous situations.

most people I agree can't imagine a close relative abusing their child but most sensible parents teach children not to keep secrets and to know their bodies are private.

MrsDavidBowie Tue 28-Jan-14 19:02:55

I do not worry about things like this...take sensible precautions of course, but I don't worry about my dcs when they are out . They are teens now, but even when they were little I never thought of awful scenarios.
I am very aware of what can happen to children as I work in that field, but don't prey on it.

traininthedistance Tue 28-Jan-14 19:03:23

*gives, not slows !

FanFuckingTastic Tue 28-Jan-14 19:03:56

I was worried about it, yes, but that was due to my daughter's issues with running off and having no danger awareness. One night when she managed to escape the house aged four, she knocked on a random stranger's door and it worried the hell out of me because that was random luck that she knocked on the door of someone who called the police, not someone who may have abducted her and I would have known nothing until morning when her bed was empty.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 19:08:55

Fix no it's not healthy to cry all night about a child you didn't know existed 2 weeks ago.

but I disagree with you. personally I think knowledge is power, people listen to children now far far more than they did when I was a child in the 70s.

our school bus driver used to tickle us in iur pants as we stood to get off the bus. I told my dm and she said it was a joke!!!

ffs can you imagine a parent saying that now.

no good. bring in reporting and communicating. look how it's flushing out the old sex pests now aye!

LtEveDallas Tue 28-Jan-14 19:10:05

Body and tiredemma. My FB has been full of stories about a man in a white/silver car over the last few days - except some were posted by my friends in my home town, Gloucester and some by friends in my current location, Oxfordshire.

So is there a man in a white car attempting to abduct children in Worcester, Gloucester and Oxford in the last few days - or have the reports been exagerated/made up?

My instant reaction is urban legend so I will dismiss it, someone else's may be panic and that's how these things spread.

Bowlersarm Tue 28-Jan-14 19:17:32

Thank you traininthedistance smile

SanityClause Tue 28-Jan-14 19:20:42

A stranger tried to entice a friend, my sister and me into his car when we were about 8 and 9.

I certainly don't obsess about this happening to my DC, although I do tell them to be careful. There have been some reported incidents of school girls being followed by men in a van recently (the schools have made us aware of this - its not local rumour) so I have, of course, warned my DDs to be vigilant when walking home from school, especially to make sure they have plenty of charge on their phones.

FixItUpChappie Tue 28-Jan-14 19:23:21

I guess what I'm driving at (poorly), is that statistically speaking OP is probably right to not worry and obsess about stranger abduction which is statistically speaking rare. Not to dismiss anyone's experiences of course. I do wonder however, if our media orientated world and interconnectivity when it comes to bad news enhances our perception or risk to a new level.

Mimishimi Tue 28-Jan-14 19:27:00

I was molested at age 8 by a stranger whom I had seen around the neighbourhood a couple of times. He told me that my mum had asked him to ask me to come home (I was playing in a neighbour's backyard about five minutes walk away). My parents had not had a serious stranger danger talk with me by that stage. Mine have had the speech and more importantly, I was very specific about where they should not be touched.

bodygoingsouth Tue 28-Jan-14 19:34:47

LtEveDallas yes these rumours can spread of course, esp on FB. our contact was a school text so took it more seriously as thought police were behind it.

I don't think there are any more or less sex crimes/abductions out there than back in the day but I do think people are more aware of them and more willing to listen to children and take these things seriously.

surely the news tells us that now what was deemed ok in the 70s is definatly not bloody ok now.

LeBFG Tue 28-Jan-14 19:45:22

To answer pp way above: never considered the possibility of abduction or ever factored it into your plans sounds a bit daft to be honest. that's what the op said. Hand on heart, I have NEVER considered the possibility of abduction EVER and never factored them into any plans. I've left a baby in the car seat for 5mins as I pop into the bread shop for example many times. The thought has never crossed my mind that a random passerby will stop by my car, see cute baby and think, 'Oh what a good idea, I'll have that baby'. And yes, I followed all that Jamie Bulger story - it was awful and made me cry, but really, it has never made me think about how I should parent differently.

Why is that? I don't know. Perhaps I realise the magnifying lens that is popular media nowadays means we all over assess probabilities. I know these things act on our subconscious - perhaps my subconscious is less receptive than others? (being a social outcast, I suspect this may be true). Or perhaps I'm just cavalier with the lives of my sprogs.

VikingLady Tue 28-Jan-14 19:53:14

My parents grew up under the shadow of the Moors Murderers. I was 13 when Cromwell Street came to light, and I remember the Jamie Bulger case. Closer to home a child was taken from my infants' school playground the year before I went there (estranged father took him), and when I was about 5 a man tried to entice me to get into his car. The police said he had been trying it near a local school too.

So I am not overly paranoid, but I am aware that it can happen. I am actually (in spite of my history) more concerned about DD being hit by a car!

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 19:57:55

I do think you do sound quite cavalier actually BFG. Babies DO get taken, not often but I don't want mine to be the "one" that was.

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 19:59:14

And for all those "the risk is so minimal as to not matter" how can this be true when you are on a thread where numerous people have described their experience of the situations that you say are so unlikely to occur.

Tiredemma Tue 28-Jan-14 20:00:01

Mine is sutton coldfield area.

Tiredemma Tue 28-Jan-14 20:01:13
morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 20:08:06

I have given it some thought when they were younger but as they are older and wiser now I tend not to worry so much.
I think it depends on how old your children are and what awful things happened to other children who would be the same age as yours now.
There seems to be at least one of these for each of my children so I count my blessings, more than worry.
I don't think it helps to be blasé about it though, I'm sure some of the parents who have been affected by this didn't think it would happen to them.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 28-Jan-14 20:29:01

Curlew it's just possible we know each other because I have commented to friends recently about beng reluctant to go camping as I would worry about not beng able to lock up the tent.

I wish I didn't worry about it so much tbh.
But I can't see how it's sensible to not ever factor it in to decision making. It is rare but it does happen and as a result there are situations I wouldn't leave my DCs in to avoid the risk.

I confess that I often think of and cry for James Bulger and his family and have done for twenty years.
And others of course.

ArgumentsatChristmas Tue 28-Jan-14 20:32:36

I used to joke to mine that if they were ever abducted, the abductors would be back within 24 hours offering us money to take them back ... <bad taste>

Joysmum Tue 28-Jan-14 20:41:25

I too have never had fears of abduction, plenty of fears of other things but not abduction.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 28-Jan-14 20:54:46

Excellents posts traininthedistance

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 07:05:55

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 19:59:14

And for all those "the risk is so minimal as to not matter" how can this be true when you are on a thread where numerous people have described their experience of the situations that you say are so unlikely to occur.

Because if we were on a thread about people who know people who have been killed on planes, or who have been involved in some kind of incident on planes (or know people who may have) then we would have lots of posts too. I know one person killed myself and three involved in a near crash. And my grapevine is pretty short. This does not mean I worry about crashing when I get into a plane.

In fact this is good thread to illustrate the fact that media can exaggerate the probabilities of unlikely events.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 08:15:01

LeBFG what a load of crap. Really? If we were on a thread about people that know people who have been killed on a plane we'd have lots of posts on that too? I don't think so. Statistics is one thing, coincidence is another. Just because you know 1 killed on a plane and 3 others in a near crash that's not statistical evidence. More likely a fluke. I doubt anyone else will come up with similar figures. Of course then you always get the dramatic people - I know a couple myself - you know those ones that hit a bit of turbulence going on holiday but the time they come back off holiday it's translated into the plane almost crashing. Talk about exaggerating the probability of an unlikely event.

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 08:36:31

Look, lots of people on here are NOT saying they were abducted. There's some hearsay (text), some 'attempts' (whatever that might mean) and lots and lots of sexual assaults (flashing and like) - some of which is reported on here third hand so not firsthand experience. So sorry if I remain skeptical that abduction presents a risk for my children.

You seem happy to talk about the unlikeliness of plane 'incidents' but not happy to relate this to abduction.

I take risks everyday with my kids: I vaccinate them (small risk of vaccine damage), I put them in a car/on a plane/on the back of a bike, I let them eat nuts (age 1 and 3), given honey to both babies under 1. If I think about it, it all started before they were born: I ate runny eggs, Camembert and pate when pregnant. All of these I have thought about, assessed the risks as well as I can, and made a decision. I do not, however, think it remotely likely that they will be abducted if I let them out of my my sight for 5 minutes. This thread has done nothing to convince me otherwise.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 09:00:01

Well good for you LeBFG. But your sweeping statements come over to me as illogical - you put earlier something that kids know how to respond in situations. No they don't necessarily and you can't count on them knowing what to do. Some will freeze and not respond at all - dangerous viewpoint as someone could come on here read that and think what you've said is a fact. It's an assumption by you and a dangerous one. Not all kids will respond the same way so you talk them through possible situations and you make sure they know they can respond. You don't assume.

Then the sweeping generalisation about if the thread was about plane crashes then loads of people would say they were on a plane with a fatality. Utter bull shit. There were 2 planes crashes globally in 2012 going by one website. Maybe with the 6 degrees of separation you might know someone on that plane that was killed but first hand, unlikely. So, if the thread was about plane crashes and knowing a fatality personally then no you wouldn't have the same amount of responses. Possibly with near crashes included you might get more responses but for the reason I gave - people possibly exaggerating the situation. Even if loads did, statistically it would mean nothing.

No, no one has said they were abducted. But a lot of people have talked about personal situations that could have turned a lot uglier than they were. It's happened to far more than I would have thought. Far more than I think would say they directly know someone that died from a plane crash. Or indeed were in a plane crash and survived. Most people have given their first hand experiences - things that happened to them - not hearsay about second, third or fourth hand experiences of people they 'know' in a plane 'incident'.

Scientists have studied the possible effects of these foods on pregnant women and babies. They know far more than you or I could ever know through their research. Good for you for taking a chance and getting away with it because that's all that you've done - taken a chance. Unless you're a scientist and researched it yourself you couldn't possibly know that your baby might not have been one of the ones that got ill from honey under 1 year old. Your choice. Personally I would think why risk it? Babies don't need honey under age 1 as there's plenty of other food they can have, it's not like there's nothing else.

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 09:30:08

Did I mention ONLY fatalities in plane crashes? No one on here had said they WERE abducted. That is my point.

In fact NO babies have ever died from eating honey - did you know that? I can't remember the number of ill babies linked with honey eating in the States, but it was in the tens (in the whole of the States). And how many people decide to 'not take the risk' and avoid honey in the first year - loads. But it isn't a rational reaction.

And don't even get me started on pate - it's much more common to get listeriosis from eating prepared sandwiches (ham sandwich anyone?) than eating pate. There was a outbreak in the States of listeriosis from eating MELONS - so let's advise all pregnant women to stop eating melon.

So you say why risk it? And I'm saying, because we take other much more probable risks every day. Except these are 'quiet risks', risks that don't really make the news.

Frankly, if someone reports on here they were nearly abducted, I'm reading it with a proverbial pinch of salt. They could have been nearly abducted. Or not. Perhaps the guy was offering a lift in the rain. Perhaps the police are always saying 'oh yeah, there's a bloke around, be careful'. I have no way of assessing the truth behind someone's remembered encounter. The guy may even have been a pervert - but perhaps not the pervert who actually abducts children (I'm certainly led to believe this sort of pervert is extremely rare). I just don't know.

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 09:35:16

umm, plane crashes? I think LeBFG has a valid point.

I know someone that was on the plane that crashed onto the M1, he survived but had serious lower limb injuries. I was on a RAF Tri-Star that had to make an emergency landing when the landing gear failed and I know a lot of people that were on a DC10 that made an emergency landing after one of the liferafts (attached to the outside of the plane) spontanuously opened on take off and damaged one of the engines.

You have to remember that MN has something like 800,000 posters. On this thread there are less than 200 people, maybe half of whom have said they have had experience with attempted abduction/assault etc. That in itself is a small minority.

Fleta Wed 29-Jan-14 09:41:50

We had an incident where someone known to us who we fell out with (and I'm sure everyone says this but the fault wasn't our own - he owes us a substantial amount of money) threatened our daughter's safety.

"you know I know where she goes to school and she'd come with me if she saw me" was the most frightening thing I'd ever heard.

I'm far, FAR more worried about the damage of the known quantity.

Lady, in reply to your 17:52 post.

It is a sticking plaster. It does not make us safer, it makes people feel safer because they feel that a situation they have no control over is actually under their control.

ALL victim blaming "safety advice" serves this function. When a person says "it isn't safe for women to walk alone at night/wear short skirts/get drunk" it is because if they believe that victims (of rape or any other crime) did something to make themselves more vulnerable to that crime, it means that they have it in their power to do the opposite and therefore protect themselves from that crime.

The problem with this belief is that although it is logical, the "if" scenario it's based on doesn't play out. It is a fantasy which makes us feel safer, and nothing to do with reducing the actual problem.

thegreylady Wed 29-Jan-14 09:48:29

James Bulger
Sarah Payne

It can happen. It does happen. You can't let it rule your life but dc need to be aware even though J B was too young to be aware. If a predator is determined they will snatch not persuade and keeping our children safe is a very basic instinct. Give them the tools to keep themselves safe and keep them close until they are old enough to understand. Most 3 year olds will follow for sweeties, most five year olds will help find a puppy.
Be vigilant until they are 11+ is my feeling.

Pate isn't advised against because of listeriosis but because it is made of liver and hence has large quantities of Vitamin A.

Although I did read something about the studies to do with that and it seems they are flawed too.

For me avoiding honey is not a big deal for babies and I would avoid it just because it's no skin off my nose to do so.

I have taken DS in a car without a car seat shock Shock horror most people on here would want him taken away for neglect. Sometimes you have to assess the risk and do it anyway.

Owllady Wed 29-Jan-14 09:59:05

I don't worry about it constantly but it has crossed my mind. My son waits for a bus 'skin's on a country lane off a very busy a road. People use the lane for drug dealing and dogging as a rat run and I have no idea who is coming up and down and it would take seconds to drag him into a car or van. So for that reason I wait at our gate to make sure he gets on the bus safely.

Owllady Wed 29-Jan-14 10:00:06

I don't know where the word skin's came from!

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 10:00:17

The thing is, and this is starting to sounds like I'm developing a personal philosophy actually (apologies), children develop independence and character when the parents aren't always around. To keep quoting myself (I know others have the same stories) I used to walk to primary school and play in the streets till dark. We developed stories and plays and songs. We moaned about parents and friends. We had dramas and fell out, and fell back in together. I fell out of a tree swing, threw blackberries at the local estate kids (who were really rough and had sticks). We felt brave. We prepared picnics and went to the woods to eat them. I scrapped my knee more times than I remember, and mum was never there to kiss it better. If I wanted her, I could always have gone back indoors, but I wanted to be with my friends. So....(o halcyon days..)

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 10:01:41

<Bertie, it's the vit A and listeriosis - I read A LOT about this when I was preggers>

Owllady Wed 29-Jan-14 10:02:38

Yes and we used to torment a man known locally as psycho who used to threaten us with a knife. Years later he brutally murdered his girlfriend

babybarrister Wed 29-Jan-14 10:03:54

YANBU - I am with you. I left DS in a locked hotel room 2 weeks after McCann incident. Everyone has to assess the risks as they see them.

I have other issues with DS's safety as he has anaphylaxis which is where I target my worry.

In fact the on the holiday I locked DS in a room, he did suffer from a near death experience - whilst biting a bit of pear at 6months he almost choked on it and was not breathing and had to be thumped hard resulting in pear flying out along with vomit grin

So actually it is very difficult to assess real risks ...

babybarrister Wed 29-Jan-14 10:07:23

totally agree re listeria analysis - Food Standards Authority had only one case in year I was pregnant - from bag of salad .... of course they were not going to tell pregnant women not to eat salad so they just continued with the advice re unpasteurised cheese ....

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 10:22:47

No, LeBFG you didn't just say about 'only' fatalities, your screen was wider than that including people that you know and not necessarily directly - so my mother's friend's neice's next door neighbour's plumber type of thing. On the other hand, the people that have commented directly about dodgy experiences as kids on this thread that could have turned nasty have pretty much been talking first hand. Anyway it's irrelevant. All I was trying to do was pick holes in your particular argument that the risks are similar. They're not so it was a stupid generalisation.

Fakebook Wed 29-Jan-14 10:26:22

I didn't worry about this until about 3 months ago, dd (who was a few weeks away from being 6) got lost in tesco. We were looking for her everywhere, and eventually found her at the front of the shop with the manager. She had apparently approached a man who was shopping and told him she'd lost her Mummy and Daddy. Thankfully, he took her to the front of the shop.

I had to give her some stern stern words when we got home about only approaching people in shop uniform, or a police man/woman or a man or woman who is with other children if she ever gets lost again.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 10:28:52

Most people have been saying it's a risk you consider and warn your kids about. No more emphasis is placed on it than on talking about people you know doing things you don't like or how to cross the road or advise on any of the risks through childhood that kids could face. A few have admitted it is an irrational fear in their heads that probably has too much head space. They seem aware of that and presumably will adjust it so that their child isn't stifled. A lot of people seem to think it strange to have not even considered it for one second, which is what the OP was about.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 10:28:59

Completely agree with Bertie and LeBFG.

I have looked at the risk and come to the conclusion it was more risking for them not to go out and experience the world around. I actually decided that the risk is so small that this is NOT what I will concentrate on That it would make them less independent and more frightened of life and certainly less resilient.
But then I've also always though that children need to have as much independence as possible. I've always done that. From letting eat as soon as they hold a spoon (even if it was very messy), to letting them chose their clothes at 2 yo, going to the toilet on their own to now going out on their bikes etc...
I know that they are doing those things a few years before any of their friends.
But they are also able to care for themselves in a way that few of their friends are able to. eg the son of a friend of mine was found distressed and crying because he went back home from school before his mum and she wasn't there 2 mins after so was completely panicked. he didn't think about doping the trip back to school to find her, or to wait knowing she was talking with someone else. This is a child who was in Y6, towards the end of the summer term. 3 months later he was supposed to be able to go to his secondary school on his own, come back home and let himself in....

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 10:34:19

I have read before that we don't live in a world of information but of misinformation.

I agree with that. Most of our fears are not proportionate to the risks. It's a fact. From the likelihood of abduction to the issue with vaccines or car crashes or food in pregnancy.

The other thing to remember is that the number of children abducted by strangers hasn't changed between now and the 1960s.
So all our precautions, trying to protect children from abduction etc... has actually made no difference whatsoever. If it doesn't make a difference, why doing it??

SeaSickSal Wed 29-Jan-14 10:36:55

Someone tried to get me to get in his car when I was 17 by pretending to be a taxi driver needing directions. I am now 99% certain it was Levi Bellfield who murdered Milly Dowler. I recognized him but also it was the right area and a journey he would have been making at that time of day, plus it fits in with crimes he was supposedly committing at the time.

I'm glad I had been given the 'don't go off with strangers talk'.

Yes you shouldn't scare them or overly limit them. But not taking sensible precautions just because you want to look cool and lefty liberal is just stupid.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 10:41:14

Lady, you're slightly missing the point. Just because the parent has 'considered' abduction doesn't mean they are stopping their kids do anything. My DS has more freedom than his friends yet I've 'considered' the risk of something happening to him over the years. Not now, as he's grown up plus I put the strategies and framework of how to deal with situations in place as he was growing up. All people are saying is it's just one of the things you warn your kid about when they're gaining some independence from you. Regardless I think if a kid is naturally independent and confident you can't stifle them to that extent, at least not forever.

Letting them hold the spoon etc - we've all done that. Bizarre references to what you see as independence. So you know the odd child that's sheltered, pampered and spoiled. We all do. Some of my DS's friends are not adventurous in the least. I don't think it's because their parents were unduly worried about abduction or anything else. Likewise my DS is very adventurous but I don't that's anything to do with what I did either. I just know now he can risk assess various situations well and come up with a couple of solutions as I've given him a complete picture of possible things that can happen.

QOD Wed 29-Jan-14 10:43:24

Bloody hell seasick!

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 10:45:18

You know, at schools everyone is dropping and picking their kids up, causing traffic jams and all the problems that entails (accidents in particular). It's all done in the name of safety. We all live in fear of abductors and paedophiles and yet we've exchanged that risk for one of obesity and heart attacks because no one walks more than a few hundred meters anymore....

NotEnoughTime Wed 29-Jan-14 10:47:20

I spend my whole life worrying about this sad be very grateful that you don't-it is exhausting

As has been mentioned , I think the life you have had as a child/teenager very much clouds how you feel about the (perceived?) dangers your own child/ren faces.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 10:48:42

The thing is SeaSickSal, no one on here is saying you shouldn't be careful and teach your dcs what to do. even though we clearly all have a different idea of what it means too

The starting point was about not letting a child going to the loo on his own in a coffee shop because 'he might get abducted'.
And the fact that some of us will not even think about that risk because we think it's too small to even be factored in before all the other potential risks.

So going to the loo at Costa? I would have wondered about the risk of them being exposed to inappropriate behaviour such as a man stroking himself. Or them feeling stuck in the toilet (lock issue). All that much before 'but he might snatched by an unknown person'.
And then I would probably have let them do it anyway on the ground that, due to the location (small place etc) the probability of any of these other risks was small anyway.

perfectstorm Wed 29-Jan-14 10:59:30

^The other thing to remember is that the number of children abducted by strangers hasn't changed between now and the 1960s.
So all our precautions, trying to protect children from abduction etc... has actually made no difference whatsoever. If it doesn't make a difference, why doing it??^

I agree on keeping risks in proportion, and I was told that statistic at college, too. But here's the thing: car ownership was rare in the 1960s, compared to now. Population mobility was far lower, and the population was smaller too - which actually indicates proportionately fewer kids were killed. We're also a far more violent society in general, to judge from crime figures. You can argue that the abduction and murder of children not having increased indicates the risk hasn't increased, or you can argue that greater vigilence by parents has decreased opportunity, and thus kept the figures static despite other factors which would have led to increase, otherwise. More simply: if you wanted to abduct a kid now, you'd be far more able to do so, if kids still wandered around in the free range way they used to. They don't, so abducting one, especially a young one, is going to be far harder for a predator than it was back in the day.

Again, I appreciate that we put our children at far greater risk every time we strap them into a car seat. I also think that cooping kids up in homes, and not allowing them opportunities to roam, explore, have adventures and build independence has troubling costs of its own - healthwise, in terms of activity levels, and in terms of independence, confidence and ability to manage risk sensibly. I'm not saying I think our modern attitudes are necessarily good ones. But I don't think the way that stat above - on abduction/murder rates not having increased - proves what you think it does. Far fewer kids are killed by cars as pedestrians now than were in the 1970s, despite far more cars on the roads... yet we accompany them everywhere, and kids no longer play out on the streets. Which is likely to be more to do with it than the road safety message having been absorbed more by current generations. It's not safe to look at a stat without examining surrounding factors.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 11:00:23

Taliope my dcs are in Y4&Y5. They have being going out on their bike to places for about a year now. I have left them playing on their own in places a good 15min walk away from home.

None of their friends have ever done that. Actually all the children in Y6 at their school are just started to go out together to a local park, about 5 mins away from their home. Or going to see each other at each other houses. It's not about one child that has been over protected. Most of them all are.

NotEnough I do get though that for some people this is a really big fear. Whatever the reason, experience as a child or whatever. This can be hard to live with when it takes over so much energy from you.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 11:03:17

LeBFG I think a lot of the driving kids to school is done in the name of laziness, convenience (as the parent has to then get to work) and choice. Who knows what the exact breakdown is but it's not "all" done in the name of safety as you say and again not "everyone" as you say is doing it. Again a sweeping generalisation. And yes I know more people that walk many hundreds of metres a day and that aren't obese than that don't and are. Another sweeping generalisation.

Lady, actually a few people are on here saying you shouldn't be careful and teach your dcs what to do in certain situations. A few have said they've not given these situations a second's thought (not even a 'second' thought which implies there was a first thought even if it was completely dismissed). You've actually just done with the coffee shop scenario what others of us have done - thought about it and assessed it, dismissing the unlikelihood of abduction but considering other possible risks -at least you've thought about it. From Curlew's OP it's like she's not given anything a second's thought never mind warning her kids about any possible dangers that could happen (she says she never factored anything like that in to her plans or actions). That's what the OP is about and why it's been so long. If no one was actually saying that then it would have died a death ages ago.

That's horrendous SeaSickSal.

I would say the only person I think has been affected to any degree where the effects have been passed on to the child is Denise Bulger who has said her kids don't go anywhere without her or her husband. Most people are within the extremes of this and Curlew who hasn't given anything like that a second's thought or based any of her decisions and actions on that and also LeBFG by all accounts who I think has said she's never considered it either. Most people are saying it's a thought and a consideration but it shouldn't take over your life.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 11:08:56

Yes agree with the fact that there are fewer pedestrians death now than before but we think that it's now too dangerous to let children out...

Also agree about putting things in context. But my understanding about the fact that the figures are the same is that it's coming from the type of personality associated with that sort of crimes. Basically that the number of people (proportion of) people who are sick in such a way that they would perpetrate that sort of crime is still the same. We don't have any more or any less 'sick' people than before. Regardless of the increase in 'how easy' it would be now compare to before (let's remember that if it is easier to 'abduct a child' as you say, it's also easier to track them and find them than it was before. Therefore the risk for the perpetrator might just as well be the same, if not higher)

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 11:09:46

Lady, none of your DCs friends have done that but plenty of my DCs friends have so maybe it's just the area you live in. I don't think it proves much and not sure what you're trying to prove. You also have to consider the child - some parents make a decision on how naive their child is so will leave it to Yr6, others might work until 6pm so there's not opportunity. Not all baseline factors are the same so you're not comparing like for like. You think you've given your kids lots of freedom. That's great but no doubt you've given them some advise of what to do in various situations.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 11:10:51

I agree with you perfectstorm. The situation isn't like for like between now and 30 or 40 years back at all.

traininthedistance Wed 29-Jan-14 11:11:17

perfectstorm actually, figures show quite clearly that violent crime has been decreasing steadily since about - 1600 in fact! - but certainly throughout the twentieth century. So have car accidents (there are some eyeopening figures I saw somewhere about car accidents and fatalities - even in the 20s when there were only a few cars there were extraordinarily high numbers of accidents, proportionately! Will try to find where I saw this....)

The fact remains though that we know abductions can and do happen - Milly Dowler, Sarah Payne, and others, for example - and though the risk is small, it is still there. So what do we do about it - ignore it and simply hope and expect it won't happen to us or our children?

gotthemoononastick Wed 29-Jan-14 11:11:25

I often wonder if the story has not been written already.How often do people leave a dangerous country just to be hideously struck down in say a leafy Kent lane.
Nothing,no vigilance, could have stopped what happened to these children mentioned above.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 11:16:02

Nothing,no vigilance, could have stopped what happened to these children mentioned above.

YY to that!

Unless you shut your children in a room and never let them out, there will always be a risk.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 11:25:12

Yes maybe the area (very middle class) where I live. But them my SIL says the same and she is very rural.

My point is that no children is allowed out like this, so it is independent of the child or the family situation. The opportunity to go out is there (plenty of friends in a small distance, a local park, some green areas to play football etc...) but not taken as shown by the very few primary school children using the facilities (unless very little and with a parent)

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 11:28:47

Yes traininhtedistance. All violent crimes have been in significant decline - actually there was a blip in crime in the 80s i.e. it was higher for a while across first world countries. We're back in a decline since then. So actuallyit IS safer out there.

Tabliope: parents dropping their kids off are not doing it in the name of laziness. There are doing it the name of safety covering up for the fact they're being lazy (or their kids more precisely).

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 11:43:14

Lady you can't speak for every area, lots of kids are out and about at all ages in my experience but not in yours. Which one of us is right? Neither of us because we don't know the true figures across the land. Fewer kids of the age you're talking about play out now to the extent of the 70s and 80s that's true.

LeBFG you can't categorically say parents are dropping their kids off 100% because of safety. Maybe for your kids' school (if you've questioned everyone of them and asked) but certainly that isn't the case for everyone throughout the world. Again a sweeping generalisation that you believe to be fact but based on very little but your view.

When you've a car outside and it's raining and you're running a bit late (partly because you know you've the option of the car) you'll go by car. Nothing to do with safety although that main be a secondary consideration. Again it might be a primary consideration for some - but not all as you insist on.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 12:44:35

Whether what I can see around me and what you are isn't quite relevant though is it? It's the fact that children aren't playing outside as much as before. And we know it's the case. Both on an anecdotal pov and with numbers.

And hard to say that parents are NOT letting their dcs going to school in their own later now than before. It's all over on MN but also through school policies etc. they wouldn't let the children out on their own until they are in Y5 in our school for example.
So of course now taking them to school means using the car more. Partly out of laziness, partly out if habit, partly out of time constrain. But the starting point was, you can't let an 8~9yo going back home on their own, even if it's 200yatds away.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 12:58:53

Again you're relating this to just where you are Lady. Schools round by me will let the kids walk home alone before Yr5. It's not a law, it's individual school policy. You say "So of course now taking them to school means using the car more". No it doesn't necessarily. The starting point of the whole OP was not 8-9 year olds going home on their own so don't know where you get that from. Some 8-9 year old do. The car thing was in response to LeBFG's sweeping statements that everyone who takes their kid to school by car is because of safety which is simply not true. Just because someone thinks it doesn't make it a fact, just their perception based on whatever. Same with your perceptions being based on what happens at your school. They vary you know.

Wallison Wed 29-Jan-14 13:10:51

I worry much more about abuse from people known to children than about abduction per se - probably because I was in contact with [counts] at least four abusers when I was young, and that's before you even count the dodgy pervy teachers with wandering hands at secondary school. The only time my parents came anywhere close to discussing things with me was to tell me that a neighbour whose house all of us kids used to go into was 'a bit funny'. In reality he had abused at least two other children but I never found out until we were all older. Different times, eh? It was all very common in the 70s and I'm sure it's just as common now (teacher at my son's school been done for kiddie-fiddling recently) which is why I've had lots and lots of talks with my son about his bodily integrity, the need never to keep secrets etc. I have also talked with him about what to do if he gets lost, and when he is older I will talk to him about staying safe as he gradually gets more independent. But really I think the main threat to children comes from people they are in contact with, and that is sadly just as true now as it was when I was growing up.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 13:28:46

I have a question for you all- from my actual, real life. We live 2 miles from the station. There are 3 ways of getting there- there is a bus, which, because we are the end of the route, the chances are that you are the only passenger on, you can walk or cycle along a very windey country road with high hedges, or you can walk or cycle along isolated farm tracks surrounded by fields where you can be seen from quite a distance.

Which one would you want your year 6 and up children to use?

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 13:36:22

Or you could drive the said DC?

CoteDAzur Wed 29-Jan-14 13:46:01

"the number of people (proportion of) people who are sick in such a way that they would perpetrate that sort of crime is still the same"

What is different now is that the proportion of "people who are sick" who act on their impulses is higher, because they now have the internet where they collaborate, exchange thoughts/ideas/methods, and egg each other on. As a result, they are bolder, wiser, more resourceful, and have reason to think they can do what they want because there are so many others like them who also do what they want.

It is a serious problem.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 13:56:37

Ah, yes, I forgot- I could drive them. But as you may have noticed, I'm all for independence!

CoteDAzur Wed 29-Jan-14 14:01:08

"we take other much more probable risks every day"

This and other similar posts make me think that people don't realise that "risk" DOES NOT mean "probability". That something is more probable doesn't mean it is a terribly high risk. The relationship between the two is as follows:

Risk = Probability x Outcome

... Where Outcome is how wonderful or how horrible that particular outcome would be, if it happened.

So risk of falling off a cliff could easily be higher than the risk of falling off a wall because its likely Outcome (certain death) is much worse than a gash in your head or a fractured arm, for example.

In the same way, the risk of abduction (with likely outcome of never seeing your child again, never knowing if they are dead or alive, searching for him for the rest of your life etc) can easily be higher than catching some disease from public toilets (expected outcome: a few weeks of antibiotics) or even a car crash (expected outcome: light or severe injury, with known treatment at hospital).

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 14:01:52

Well, if it were me, my option would be option 4, the driving one. For primary aged children anyway.

From year 7, the bus, probably.

hmc Wed 29-Jan-14 14:05:03

I'd probably drive them or check out the bus.

lottieandmia Wed 29-Jan-14 14:08:17

I will admit that I do worry about this. However, I also realise that my feelings are probably not that rational because there are much bigger every day risks to children than abduction.

hmc Wed 29-Jan-14 14:12:37

"Be vigilant until they are 11+ is my feeling"

I suspect that older children (young teens etc) are at greater proportionate risk as it happens (however small that absolute risk may be - and I am ignoring Cote's post and using 'risk' in the common or garden sense) precisely because they are afforded a greater degree of freedom, hence opportunity presents itself ....

I seldom / never worried about my dc from the abduction perspective when they were small and under my ever watchful eye. Now that dd gets the bus to school, wanders around town with friends etc but is still just 11, I do sometimes worry (although more about being hassled by older kids etc than anything else)

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 14:14:10

I don't mind saying but what you trying to prove with it though Curlew? When people say none of them for you to turn round and say well my two have been doing it since they were 4 and nothing has happened to them? Proves nothing. You got away with it if that's the case - so far anyway.

Why not drive them? Who wants to arrive at school potentially muddy and wet from a walk to school to sit in said wet clothes all day. There's independence that happens to pretty much everyone naturally then there's trying to prove a point, but to what ends? That you're one cool, liberal parent, a wild spirit?

I'm starting to wonder what your initial post was about - did you want everyone to say you're right and they don't give these things a second's thought either and the people in the tent thread were irreparably detrimentally affecting the development of their children

rabbitlady Wed 29-Jan-14 14:16:14

i grew up in the north during the moors murderers era - police dug for bodies on my father's land. it made everyone very aware of possible danger.
my friends and i were cautious, and i was cautious with my daughter. protective. my child was and is very precious to me.
i expect she'll be as careful with her daughter.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 14:27:51

Sorry just seen it's not for school it's to the station presumably to go into town or somewhere else once a week? Well in that case drive them or bus. Why risk being knocked down on the winding road with no pavement or lights? Who wants to get wet or their clothes muddy if they're off into town for the day with friends?

It really depends though on your child - how independent they are naturally, how mature they are, how aware they are, or how confident they are in speaking out, taking charge, making decisions, thinking on their feet. Also factors such as how well do you know and how long you have known the people in the local community including the bus driver. Lots of factors come into play so the mode of transport would really depend on a number of things.

My DS visited a friend in the country quite recently under similar circumstances. The mum picked him up and dropped him at the station for convenience. Partly as he didn't know where he was going, partly as it was raining or threatening rain. He was more than capable of walking to and from their place but yes he would have got wet.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 14:31:19

And no my first thought with all of the scenarios was not abduction - more comfort so they don't get wet and have to be in those clothes for a long period of time, convenience, not being knocked down. The country walk on a sunny Saturday afternoon sounds lovely. Mid winter not so much. The walk/cycle on the road not great.

5madthings Wed 29-Jan-14 14:33:01

I would let them walk/cycle across the track, or get the bus.

As for getting wet etc we have a half hour walk to school across a field, yes its muddy so my kids have wellies and waterproof trousers. My 9yr old in yr 4 can walk to and from school on his won now, there is one busy road but it had a pedestrian crossing so he uses that.

I know a few parents are aghast that I let him walk on hs own, but its a route he has been doign since he was 2. He knows it well and I feel its safe.

Many parents are not letting their children do a shorter walk until the summer of year 6.

When thinking baout the risk my main concern was the road, abduction didnt feature on my risk assesment.

He was offered a lift by a parent one day as itwas rainjng, he told them no, the parent then called me to say could he have a lift and I then said yes. He knows not to accept a lift even from someone we know without checking with me first.

I make risk assesments all the time about my children, I am picky about car safety, much more so than somefriends who would not let their children walktos chool, but happily let them travel in just a basic booster seat etc, whereas I would use a high back carseat.

Ileave my sleeping toddler in the front garden in her pushchair and did when she was a baby, others ha e said dotn you worry someone will snatch her and no I dont, we live in a queit cul de sac, I can see out from my living rooma n kitchen windows if anyone did walk up to the front of the house iw would see them and be there in seconds. Ditto letting my children play in the cul de sac.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 15:32:25

I asked, because the only route mine aren't allowed to use is the road-which I suppose in terms of potential abuse/abduction is the safest. And yes, it is for school. And yes, if it's pouring of course I drive them. Much to ds's outrage........

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 15:41:08

I wouldn't say the road is the safest in terms of potential abuse/abduction, about on a par with the country walk I'd say. Bus I think would be the safest. Who knows?

Bewildered by the point of that exercise. What does it prove? That you're a bit of a no-nonsense adventurous wild spirit mum but your kids love it because they're mini Bear Grylls? I give up.

CoteDAzur Wed 29-Jan-14 15:41:18

"I am ignoring Cote's post and using 'risk' in the common or garden sense)"

I'm not quite sure what "garden sense" is but risk is not the same thing as probability.

The sooner people understand the difference, the easier these debates will be. Because it will be clear to everyone that low probability doesn't mean low risk and we will not get questions like "But why say there is a significant risk if chances it will happen are so low?"

I studied this stuff and have to insist that "garden sense" is not correct in this case smile

CoteDAzur Wed 29-Jan-14 15:44:52

curlew - With "children" of 12 and 18, I think your situation is different. I would agree with you that the probability that someone would want to abduct them (especially when together) is infinitesimal and even if that were the case, they are old enough to resist, run away, or even escape when possible.

Those of us with small children still have to protect them at a different level because they can't protect themselves at all.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 15:44:56

I would have said no to the road too. Because ime it's the potentially most dangerous place (due to the cars!)

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 15:51:02

Whatever you learnt at management training about risk Cote, we all understand perfectly well what hmc means.

hmc - Perhaps it's also the case that there are just less paedophiles interested in young children - most are interested in young teens.

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 15:56:34

cote you are right re the difference between probability and risk.
With abduction, the risk is very high and the probability is (very) low.
I would say that with cars, probability is high and risk is medium to high.
So I don't worry about abduction but I will not let my dcs on the front seat until they are 10yo because I think the risk that being at the front passages seat creates a higher risk (and still the same probability).
The thing is the assessment if risk and probability can be tricky. We know the risk of accident with cars is high but we tend to minimize it (no one would go in a car otherwise ). And I suspect that we minimize slightly the risk too.
Whereas the issue of abduction is a highly emotive one so we tend to maximize both the risk and the probability.

CoteDAzur Wed 29-Jan-14 16:00:16

Of course you understand what hmc said because it is a common misuse of the word "risk" to use it in place of "probability".

The distinction is important in debates like this so people can understand where the other is coming from. Yes, probability of abduction is low, but the result is horrible if it happens. Probability of falling from a tree is higher but we let kids climb trees, for example, because if they fall we expect them to be hurt but get better in time.

Not 'management training', by the way. Real university with a real degree wink

LeBFG Wed 29-Jan-14 16:11:49

But if we understand what hmc what actually IS your point? (apart from trying to sound smug).

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 17:10:32

My head is spinning, but it is all simple isn't it really.

Curlew is happy for her Year 6 child to get to school alone. It is possible he may be abducted. But not probable. It is a very small risk she takes. But the thought doesn't cross her mind that he may be abducted, he probably won't be, so they are both happy.

My year 6 dc have not been allowed to travel alone to school. So there is no possibility, risk or probability they would be abducted. I have taken that risk away. But I would have worried about them on every journey, so I have taken the worry away from myself.

Both curlew and I are content in our actions because of our individual worry, or absence of worry, about a potential abduction.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 17:22:31

"Bewildered by the point of that exercise. What does it prove? That you're a bit of a no-nonsense adventurous wild spirit mum but your kids love it because they're mini Bear Grylls? I give up."

Well, if you think a 10 year old going on a 2 mile bike ride in broad daylight is being a mini Bear Grylls, I rather rest my case..................

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 17:31:17

Curlew, you're the one that brought up the odd travel to school scenario as if it mattered. Rest your case? Well done you. Bizarre and deluded that you think you've been proven right here somehow. About what I do not know.

LeBFG you were the one that made a snide remark to Cote first about management speak yet you didn't like it when she came back with an answer to that so the smug remark was uncalled for.

I like your summing up Bowler. We all do what we think is suitable. No need to question others or think your way is the only way or the correct way. No need for self-congratulatory pats on the back about how laid back you are in your parenting. We all adjust and modify depending on the situation, characteristics of our child and various other factors. To not give certain situations a second's thought though at all is naive at best, possibly negligent at worse in my view. OP YABU.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 17:40:34

And no I don't think a 2 mile bike ride makes any kid a mini Bear Grylls. How stupid. It was your remark "much to DS's outrage" when you make him go by car that made me laugh - as if you need to make it known to everyone how wonderfully adventurous he is, more than kids that don't want to do these things, and you couldn't possibly cramp him in anyway with silly notions there might be people that he comes across that could do him harm.

hmc Wed 29-Jan-14 17:43:39

@ cote, you seemed a bit bewildered about my expression 'common or garden' - it's a fairly well known

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 17:48:13

Oh, sorry. I thought it was just a mild joke about the average 12 year old's ability to ignore rain- I don't need a coat mum, it's only drizzling a bit- when it's actually a torrential downpour.

But I withdraw the phrase unreservedly if it offends you.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 17:50:37

I don't understand your last post Curlew. Not sure what phrase you think has offended me either. I'm not offended.

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 17:52:40

Curlew - are we talking about a 12 year old or a 10 year old? There is a difference, IMO.

ProfPlumSpeaking Wed 29-Jan-14 17:53:00

It is true that traffic presents a greater danger than abduction.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 18:04:57

He's 12 now. He started going to school on his own when he was 10.5, half way through year 6.

Tabliope- sorry. I was trying to be funny. Which has gone as well as such attempts usually do.

expatinscotland Wed 29-Jan-14 18:17:16

Good for you. Here's your medal for Smug Thread of the Year.

You don't fear abduction, others do. So what? That makes you a better parent, guaranteed to have more independent kids? Keep kidding yourself.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 18:37:16

I see what you mean Curlew now, it went over my head. To be honest I probably wouldn't have stopped my 10.5 year old DS go to school by bike over a couple of fields if I felt comfortable with the route. 2 miles? What's that - 15 minutes cycling? At that age my DS was probably my size and also confident. My niece, no. Very dainty and the size of an 8 year old.

However, the difference between us is among the advice of no trespassing on farmland, don't annoy any cows etc it would have crossed my mind what if he did come across someone that meant him harm, just as I did at that age. So I would have reminded him don't take any lifts, ride like the wind if someone follows you and your gut instinct isn't good, you don't have to stop and chat with someone if they make you uncomfortable, just keep moving and be impolite if necessary, and text me when you get to school because going by my DS's primary you'd never hear if he hadn't arrived, which wouldn't be any good if he had been abducted or had come off his bike and knocked himself out.

In letting him do that route to school I would have given abduction a second's thought as one of the various things that could go wrong. You say you wouldn't have though so presumably did not give him any advice on what to do in that unlikely (or not so unlikely) scenario. I think better to prepare for any possibility no matter how small. You can't protect them 100% sometimes but you can arm them so they're not lambs to the slaughter. Going by your OP you've never mentioned strangers to them and not getting into cars of people they don't know, which is odd.

DoublesAllRound Wed 29-Jan-14 18:37:54

I've agreed with you so many times Curlew (over many years, threads and names), but this thread displays a surprising lack of understanding and empathy and yes, reads as smug.

I hate this 'competitive laidbackness' on MN, and the massive double-standard where some people define what they themselves do as sensible caution but anything other people do as not just a bit more cautious than necessary (a perfectly reasonable point of view), but as positively hysterical, and start talking about people being fooled by the media and so on.

I have considered the risk of abduction (along with other risks) - although wherever possible the steps I take to reduce that risk, as with other risks, are chosen to limit my dc's freedom and independence as little as possible. It is possible to consider even quite unlikely risks and still value independence - those two things are not mutually exclusive and it's a straw man to suggest that they are.

Ahem, as I said on page 2, early on yesterday: ^"It doesn't make you a better parent or person if you have never had anything awful happen and as a result of that believe that nothing ever will!!^"

And most people have been trying to get that point over ever since. Sorry Curlew, I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you are coming across as smug.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 19:31:37

I am sorry if I come across as smug- I genuinely don't mean to. I am just fascinated by the way people perceive risk. I have my own headful of irrational fears- if I had my way, my children would never,never, ever use a level crossing, for example. Which would make life a bit difficult because in order to get to the aforementioned station, they need to. It is manned, has flashing lights and a siren, but it terrifies me.

I just think that children are being given a very skewed view of the world- somebody downthread said that they were going to have to have stern words with their 3 year old who, on discovering herself lost in a shop, very sensibly asked somebody to help her. What sort of a world view are we giving our children if we think the risk of abduction is so great that there is any possibility at all that a person a child asks for help is likely to be a predatory, opportunist paedophile? I don't think it would be possible to calculate the chances of that happening- there arn't numbers big enough.

expatinscotland Wed 29-Jan-14 19:51:09

True, Bridges, also smacks of 'bad things only happen to other people'.

SeaSickSal Wed 29-Jan-14 20:08:33

LadyinDisguise the OP said:

'But no, I have never talked to they about going off with strangers.'

Sorry, but that's just fucking irresponsible. It takes five minutes to have a sensible conversation with your kids about it and it could potentially save their lives. There's no need for it to be frightening, just make them aware.

As what happened to me illustrates, nobody knows who these things will happen to or when. But it's such a small investment in time and effort that in my opinion any parent who doesn't do it is totally irresponsible and if their child gets abducted a large portion of the blame would have to lie with them.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 20:10:35

I think my point is not that "bad things happen to other people"- rather, this particular bad thing happens to such a small number of people that more damage is caused by planning for it than by ignoring it. Because it makes children fearful of perfectly normal human interactions. And because it takes attention away from where there might be an element of risk.

SeaSickSal Wed 29-Jan-14 20:10:49

I don't think there is anything wrong with letting a year 6 child walk to school alone BTW. I just think there is something wrong with letting a year 6 child walk to school without taking sensible precautions and making sure they're properly prepared should they face a difficult situation.

expatinscotland Wed 29-Jan-14 20:14:33

'rather, this particular bad thing happens to such a small number of people that more damage is caused by planning for it than by ignoring it. Because it makes children fearful of perfectly normal human interactions.'

Wow, a completely unsubstantiated and incredibly sweeping generalisation, too. Yes, fear of abduction is rife, people!! All of you are helicopter parents!

So with you on the competitive laidbackness on here, Doubles. Some of it seems to, IMO, cross so far over into stupidity and irresponsibility that I wonder how much of it is true, tbh.

expatinscotland Wed 29-Jan-14 20:16:04

Brain cancer happens to a very small number of people. So fuck teaching awareness about it. It just causes people to be afraid. After all, it's only rare when it doesn't happen to you.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 20:18:44

No, Curlew. It doesn't make children fearful of perfectly normal human interactions or take attention away from where there might be an element of risk. It depends how you handle it. To not mention it at all is negligent. You are unusual I'd say because I don't know anyone that has deliberately never told their kids don't go off with strangers. You don't get it and refuse to. You knew the answer when you started the thread but wanted to portray yourself as laid back. You just seem astoundingly naive and stubborn to me.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 20:30:02

ok, tabloipe- think what you want to think. And obviously, you know far more about my motives and feelings than I do. But we live in a society where people are scared to talk to children or to help them when they are in trouble. Where a child is told off for asking for help when lost. And that is because we have a deep seated belief that strangers are dangerous. Is that how you think things should be?

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 20:43:01

Curlew, I honestly think you're being negligent in your views. Possibly dangerously so. You're not preparing your kid fully for the outside world. You think you are but you're not. Not everyone has a deep seated belief strangers are dangerous - that's a sweeping generalisation. A number of people have said it time and time again to you but you're not listening, there are ways of telling them of the dangers responsibly without affecting them. How can you not understand that? It's almost like you're sheltering your child from the world, sticking your head in the sand and making out life is like an Enid Blyton adventure. My DS is not affected in anyway by my warning him about certain things. That's my job as a mother. It's just one bit of advice among many but it gives him knowledge that could one day protect him. Why would any mother not do that?

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 20:46:38

As an example my DS has travelled by train alone for a 3 hour journey since he was just turned 12 to visit grand parents during school holidays, so maybe 3 times a year. He has one change which includes a change of platform so not a case on plonking him on the train and him being picked up the other end. When he first did it I did tell him to be on his guard about people being too friendly. Obviously having a chat with someone is fine and normal but warning signs are someone being a bit too personal, too much questioning, asking to stay in touch etc. Also told him to ask someone if there was any confusion with the change of train.

Going by my experience too of public transport I also mentioned inappropriate so-called accidental touching and that he should feel free to move if he needed to or even shout out.

You can't protect them 100% but for my peace of mind before I could let go alone by train that first time I had to talk him through some safety scenarios because he's an innocent kid. He doesn't know evil. Nothing bad has happened to him. That's my job as a parent to prepare him for the outside world and whatever it hits him with. My warnings haven't changed his interactions with people. My son has done this journey many times. He tells me about the conversations he has with fellow passengers - the last time a girl doing her A levels and an old couple who heard him get his AS level grade by mobile and had a chat about school to him. So no, it doesn't need to make your kid a shrinking violet unable to interact with people. That's an extremely strange and extreme notion. As I keep saying it depends how you deal with it.

SeaSickSal Wed 29-Jan-14 20:49:13

Curlew you're talking nonsense. Very few people apart from the mentally ill believe that strangers are dangerous. The overwhelming majority of us know that most strangers are perfectly normal. But we also know that some aren't and we don't know which so take sensible precautions.

I don't think children are told off for asking for help when they are lost. But you can prepare children to know how to ask for help in the least risky way, for example asking for help from somebody working in a shop or similar where it is busy, there will be colleagues around, likely some sort of CCTV and they will be traceable and probably not insanse or dangerous criminals. Or trying to look for a mother or father with their own children, statistically very few abduction crimes would happen whilst the abductor is with their own children.

I honestly think you are taking risks with your children for the sake of looking 'cool'.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 21:18:10

Somebody on this very thread talked about giving their child a stern word for asking a stranger for help when lost. And there are always threads where people worry about approaching- or, more likely, their dp's approaching- a child who looks lost or in trouble.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 21:20:10

"Or trying to look for a mother or father with their own children, statistically very few abduction crimes would happen whilst the abductor is with their own children."

Very few? Er- make that none! And how many abduction by stranger crimes do you think happen every year?

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 21:23:51

How many?

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 21:25:08

Curlew the mother was probably frantic with worry and was overly harsh. I've done it myself. You then temper it with 'mummy was worried about you, you shouldn't go running off like that as mummy was scared about where you were'. As they get older teach them who is safer to approach like SeaSickSal says.

You're being so rigid about this, it's like some weird problem in your head. Focusing on that one incident with the little girl earlier on the thread. Why won't you respond to logic - I've said it so many times, it's about how you handle it. It's not black and white, there's shades of grey. I certainly haven't affected my child. I don't know of anyone that has, yet they've all told their kids not to go off with strangers. That little girl won't be damaged by what her mum said to her that once.

aquashiv Wed 29-Jan-14 21:27:49

Its all about perceived risk v real risk I cant remember the stats but they are off the scale low for a random stranger taking your child.
I would not say it does not cross my mind that my child could run off and be knocked over/fall down a ditch/drown but it is not something I worry about in the way an awful lot of my friends do.
Part of me thinks its quite damaging the paranoia we are projecting onto our children.
I was brought up being scared off the bogey man/ghosts which I guess is a metaphor for the same thing. I still wandered off though.

aquashiv Wed 29-Jan-14 21:30:03

sorry that should say does

LadyInDisguise Wed 29-Jan-14 21:35:40

Can I ask if any of you have 'lost' a child somewhere? When for 5~10mins, you couldn't find him/her.

What was your first thought? Did you think abduction, did you think he/she has decided to 'escape' and go and discover what is further away, did you think he/she must be hiding somewhere near by?

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 21:44:01

Why have people got such an issue with the way Curlew chooses to parent her own children?

Why do you feel the need to keep pushing the point that she must tell her DC about stranger danger or that she must have worried about the possibility of stranger abduction?

Why can't you accept that some parents have not felt the need to have 'that' conversation with their children and feel that the risk of stranger abduction is so rare as to be negligible?

SeaSickSal Wed 29-Jan-14 21:48:03

I wasn't talking about just in a year. I was talking about over time and in different places.

Some of the abductions that took place with Fred and Rose West they believe that there were babies or children in the car and girls got in because that made them look safe so it does happen.

ashamedoverthinker Wed 29-Jan-14 21:54:45

Its is very real. I think and ignorant post - I do not believe you have not on some level made decision to protect your DC from even a subconscious risk of harm.

We have had two atempted abductions recently and one a little while back.
Police have had a presence marked and unmakred outside the schools in the area. Parents have been repeatedly warned not to allow their children to go to and from school unaccompanied.

I agree that these days our perception of risk is greater re media coverage. It has become part of wider approach to parenting in general.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 21:54:51

It's up to her what she does just like it's up to everyone but she made a thread about this as if to say her way is the rational way and that anyone who does worry about it is paranoid (in a nutshell). Why does anyone need that validation? As others have said it was to be smug. I thought it too. There was no need for the thread. If you're happy with your choices why do you need to start a thread about it, especially straight after a thread when someone else was talking about their worries?

And yes I do think it's negligent. Abduction is minor but not telling your kids about possible dangers from strangers doesn't give them any tools if they're in a dodgy situation. Curlew keeps going on about how it could affect a child and make them so wary of people it'll impact them negatively. Rubbish. We've said it numerous times it's how you handle it. It doesn't need to be said in a scary, every stranger is a paedophile kind of way. Why would anyone think that. Very strange, extreme view but up to her.

ashamedoverthinker Wed 29-Jan-14 22:04:14

Id rather have a worried child than a missing child.

The risk of abduction is very small but the consequences huge. So because of this I tell DS not to speak to strangers. I reinforce this when we are in a busy or new place. Freedoms he is allowed in certain places we go to are withdrawn when in the unfamiliar/busy.

SanityClause Wed 29-Jan-14 22:05:48

So, one person doesn't warn her DC that it may be dangerous to accept a lift from a stranger, and they make it to the ages of 18 and 12 without being abducted.

And this proves what?

As someone said on a thread recently, the plural of anecdote is not data.

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 22:07:08

I Have read and re-read Curlews posts and cannot see where she has been smug. Whereas I feel you Tabliope have been rather hectoring and sarcastic towards her.

The opening post simply asks if abduction is a real fear for some parents, because she doesn't see it as one. She even apologises after she is accused of being smug, and says she doesn't mean to be. And yet you labour the point.

Calling someone negligent, simply because they do not share your method of parenting or type of fears is arrogant.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 22:14:52

LtEve I'm not the only one that thought it smug. I have been on this thread a lot but it's been an ongoing discussion and points are being thrashed out. Normal in a debate. It's AIBU. She hasn't always given straight answers. A lot of people have been very logical and come up with good points which she hasn't really been able to answer. It's a discussion.

I make no apologies for saying that I think not informing your child of possible dangers in life is negligent - especially when they're of an age to be out and about. Why? Because kids' safety is important. I feel very strongly about that but it's her kids so she can do what she likes - obviously. The more she argues she's right the more the ones opposing that view will argue the opposition - that's normal. That's debate. Any of us can leave this thread any time. Which I might do soon as up early for work.

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 22:17:15

The trouble is, it's such an emotional subject matter. The thought of a child being abducted. And an unbearable thought that the child could be yours.

Curlew is lucky, I think, if she has gone through her child's young life never having worried about her child being abducted for a second. I would imagine that is extremely rare for a mother.

And it seems a bit odd to start a thread about that. I think that's the reason that smugness seems to come into it, although I don't think that's actually the correct word for it.

I do worry about abduction. I cannot imagine going though anything worse than your child being taken and you have no idea what hell, torture they are going through.

I would never put myself, or my dc, into the position of finding that out.

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 22:20:08

Curlew says herself I don't think I have said, have I? that I have not prepared my children for the outside world, or talked about potential dangers. It's just that abduction is not one on my radar. And for some people it seems to be the number 1 worry

So she hasn't 'not informed her children of possible dangers'

She isn't arguing that she is right - that seems to be your job. She is saying that she doesn't think of stranger abduction as a valid danger that she worries about.

You seem to be reading far more into the posts then is actually there.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 22:23:46

She says on the first page she's never talked to them about going off with strangers. I think if anyone was reading more into her posts than is actually there she would have said by now and this thread wouldn't have got to 12 pages.

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 22:28:31

Make you mind up Tabliope, in your post above you didn't specify, so neither did I.

Where has curlew 'argued that she is right' as I can't see it.

I haven't worried, ever, about my DD being abducted. It's never crossed my mind. I know that statistically it is extremely rare so I choose to worry about things that are more likely to happen.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 22:30:17

Sorry? Make my mind up about what? My post didn't specify what and neither did yours? No idea what you mean.

She's argued she's right all the way through confused

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 22:32:36

Please show me. I'd really appreciate it because I cannot see it, not once. I do not understand why you have such an issue with her about this because I cannot see, once, where she has been sarcastic, hectoring or determined that she is right. If you could show me maybe I would understand.

Mintyy Wed 29-Jan-14 22:38:28

I'm a pedant and therefore simply don't believe curlew's thread title to be true.

I can happily accept that she is more worried about someone she knows abducting her child, even a member of her own family.

I can happily accept that she has weighed up the pros and cons and has no wish to helicopter parent her children or smother them.

I can even happily accept that she gives them a greater free reign than most other parents in the Western World (sorry haven't read whole thread, but imagine this is the gist of it).

But no I don't accept for one minute that she has never worried for a second about the possibility of her children being abducted by a stranger.

Of course she has had the thoughts, like the rest of us. And, like most of us, she has put them to one side.

But curlew doesn't want to think that most of us aren't hysterical nit-wits obsessed with the concept of stranger-danger.

It is a smug op, indeed.

Tabliope Wed 29-Jan-14 22:39:42

LtEve, you haven't answered the post before about me having to make my mind up about something. What were you on about?

I don't have time to go through the post - and copy and paste and list things for your benefit. You don't see it. I do. Others also do. Maybe they'll be kind enough to do what you've asked and show you. Curlew could have left the post any time but it was a discussion and she chose to discuss it.

I've never said she was sarcastic or hectoring - no idea where you got that from. i do think she thinks she's right. Why else would she have started the thread and stayed on it.

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.

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 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.

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

ffs,, is this ridiculous thread still going?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!"

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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"

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.

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.

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 13:41:06

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.

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.

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