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Unsettling situation with my kids - Page 2

post #21 of 65
Well heck, my grandmother and her friend WERE kidnapped by a guy in a car who offered them a ride to school. Luckily my grandmother is a spitfire and nearly clawed the guy's face off so he drove off the road when she realized he was driving them OUT OF TOWN, not to school.

It's a little different when you KNOW someone this happened to (and she's in her eighties, so this was a long time ago...that kind of thing probably started with the dawn of civilization).

I think you did the right thing, even if it was probably nothing. The fact is, you don't know, and your children are pretty young. Good for them for refusing the ride AND for telling you about it. And maybe your alerting the police will save another kid, if there really is someone out there up to no good.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcgirl View Post

I think you did the right thing, even if it was probably nothing. The fact is, you don't know, and your children are pretty young. Good for them for refusing the ride AND for telling you about it. And maybe your alerting the police will save another kid, if there really is someone out there up to no good.
post #23 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post


So, if I understood correctly your DD had run "way" ahead. If DS was only 50 feet from your house, I assume that means she was to your house by then? DS was walking home and a ways behind him was your older DS. So it could have easily looked like a 5 year old child out by himself? I could easily see myself not approaching the child but watching the child to make sure he was going somewhere very close. Perhaps she didn't offer the 7 year old a ride because he seemed older and more able to be "alone."

I think picking them up is a good idea, but I think another idea you might want to consider is impressing upon your children that when you allow them to walk home without you they are to do it together. DS & DD occasionally walk home w/out me and I would be quite upset if one ran far ahead of the other. They know they are to stay together and they are 8 & 11 so much more able than a 5 year old (I assume) to handle themselves on their own. JMO.

Yes, DD was in the yard, well in the woods beside the yard actually, splashing in the stream, and DS-5 was still down on the road, as for DS -7, he was probably squatted down in the ditch floating sticks down the stream (if today was any indication) so it's quite possible that DS would have appeared alone.
The thing is, I've never felt uneasy about letting them walk alone from the bus stop, we live on a quiet lane, we know every neighbor, there's a little bake shop at the end where they often sometimes stop for a cookie if I've given them money for it and we've planned it, and they're used to being on their own. They've been venturing out independantly as a trio for a couple years now (not like cross town jaunts or anything, but into the woods, down the street to a neighbor's, into a bakery/movie store/post office, and recently into the grocery store with one item each to pick up, off to go fishing, etc...) I'm usually hovering somewhere within earshot or eyesight, but with this, I've just put faith in that I've taught them well and they will be aware of what is going on around them.
I'm disapointed that they separated, but not surprised, after all they are still young, and I haven't been walking them through the whole 'walking home' deal as often as I should be. It's one thing for me to say stay together, and another thing completely for me to practice it with them.
I am glad though that DS reacted in the way he did.
post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post
This. I recall speaking to a retired law enforcement person once (it wasn't regular police, seemed something higher up but I don't recall what) and he told me that the vast majority of people that you see are not a threat. Some are indifferent, but they figured in his line of business that there was roughly 1% of the population you had to worry about. Odds are it was truely nothing of significance or any kind of threat. However, with that being said I would have definitely reported it to the police as well and would be keeping a closer watch just in case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
1% is not 0%.

I am 100% sure my kids are getting home safe and sound if I am meeting them at the bus stop myself.

We have to be careful though, this thread will turn into another debate soon.

I think the OP was not over reacting at all, and I think she handled it very well in regaurds to how she talked to her kids about it. I would have found it very hard not to hypervenilate if I was the one hearing that story from my son.
I guess people will always choose to read/hear the parts they want to. I shouldn't be surprised. I didn't say it was innocent, I said the odds are in her favor that it wasn't anything fueled by malicious intent BUT that I would have still reported it and would be keeping a closer watch as well. Sigh.
post #25 of 65
I'm currently reading "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin de Becker, and it might be something you want to check out of your local library.

Stranger abduction is exceedingly rare, but you did the right thing by calling the cops. More importantly, I think, you did the right thing by believing and listening to your child. He did a great thing by telling you about it, by trusting and listening to his intuition. You did a great job not overreacting, not screaming about so-called "stranger danger" or haranguing your kids for not staying together. Though I do think I'd be out at least on the front porch watching them walk home from now on. It does seem like too big of a responsibility to place on the 7 year old, or on either 5 yo. A 5-yo shouldn't be in charge of his or her own safety, IMO.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
IMHO 5 is too young to walk home alone, and 7 is too young to have the responsibility of two 5 year olds. I'd accompany them, for sure. Anything could happen - not just the ride lady, but mean dogs, bullies, accidents.
I agree with this!! I would not be comfortable letting them walk at this age by themselves.

I also think you absolutey 100% think you did the right thing by calling the police. If your kids said it seemed weird, or if even ONE of your kids said it seemed wierd, it probably was wierd and not a safe thing.

I'm a believer also that we should never teach our kids not to trust their gut instincts. So if your baby thought something was off, it was.
post #27 of 65
Once in my naive, childless days I offered a kid a ride home. I certainly didn't mean any harm to him (he was crying and it was snowing out, I just felt bad for him), and he didn't take me up on it anyway. Hopefully this is something like that. But that being said, I think you did the right thing.

I also very much agree that these kids are too young to be walking unsupervised like that. My school district won't even allow it without a note from the parents. The bus driver watches to make sure that they get indoors before she drives away.
post #28 of 65
the main thing that would stand out in the conversation is your child saying something is wierd. i have noticed my dd is an excellent read of character - she picks up if something is off (i could too as a child) and to date she has NEVER been wrong. if she says someone is wierd i totally believe her.

definitely you did the right thing. at least you have it on police report. IF something does happen in the future with some other poor kid, they have this on file. because your son said wierd that's what makes it important to write the report.

i really believe kids understand sooo much more than we adults can.
post #29 of 65
Really, how your DS handled things makes me think they CAN walk by themselves. After a bit more practice with sticking together.

Being old enough to walk isn't about never encountering "weird" situations, it's about responding correctly. Your ds will probably be proud of himself in future because of this.
post #30 of 65
I don't see why they can't walk by themselves either. My 7-year-old walks a kindergarten neighbor home on her way here from the bus stop. I have no problem with that.
post #31 of 65
You are NOT overreacting.

I would have called the police also.

a) Normal people who are otherwise strangers KNOW to not offer rides to kids, EVER.

b) Normal people who are known to you would have contacted you to tell you that they had offered a ride

c) Normal people who are known to you would not offer a ride 50 feet from the door

d) Normal people who are known to you would have been recognized by your child.

Therefore: this is NOT normal, and you are RIGHT for being worried and taking action.

I am sorry that this happened, but grateful that it didn't result in anything further.

Trin.
post #32 of 65
I think in these times the majority of people know better than to do this-even older generations. And if they don't know better, they really should learn-it's confusing to children.
post #33 of 65
Momma.. trust your gut...
That being SAID.. if I saw small kids walking outside beside a road I MIGHT offer a ride. I actually "found" an 2 year old one day that had wandered from a street over. I picked him up, and long story short.. found his mom.. she was tending to a newborn. The child was supposed to be napping but had slipped out of the house. If I hadn't stopped him there's NO telling what could have happened. He crossed a very busy street to get to my side of the neighborhood. It was scary.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty View Post
You are NOT overreacting.

I would have called the police also.

a) Normal people who are otherwise strangers KNOW to not offer rides to kids, EVER.

b) Normal people who are known to you would have contacted you to tell you that they had offered a ride

c) Normal people who are known to you would not offer a ride 50 feet from the door

d) Normal people who are known to you would have been recognized by your child.

Therefore: this is NOT normal, and you are RIGHT for being worried and taking action.

I am sorry that this happened, but grateful that it didn't result in anything further.

Trin.

I agree somewhat, but IF I thought the child was in danger, running away,lost.. I WOULD stop and figure out the situation. Read my above post.
post #35 of 65
Also, OP.. I'm glad your kids did the right thing, but I wouldn't let them walk alone anymore. They are a bit young.. not that THEY are untrustworthy.. but anything could happen.
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty View Post
) Normal people who are otherwise strangers KNOW to not offer rides to kids, EVER.

b) Normal people who are known to you would have contacted you to tell you that they had offered a ride

c) Normal people who are known to you would not offer a ride 50 feet from the door

d) Normal people who are known to you would have been recognized by your child.
I don't think any of these statements are absolutes. I know my sister, who's childless, probably wouldn't think anything of offering a child a ride. I asked a kid if he wanted to come in once to wait while I wrote a check for something he was selling. He said he wasn't allowed. Though it obviously made sense that he wasn't allowed, I didn't even think about that when I asked.

I also wouldn't call someone to say "I offered your kid a ride and he said no." Why the heck would I call and say that?

Plus I know lots of people but don't know where they live or their phone numbers.

Look, the chances are slim that there was anything malicious, but it doesn't hurt to be more vigilant from now on. I'd also consider whether they're old enough to do things like go to the post office by themselves since they aren't sticking together or are "lost in thought." That doesn't suggest to me that they are ready for that responsibility.
post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post

Look, the chances are slim that there was anything malicious, but it doesn't hurt to be more vigilant from now on. I'd also consider whether they're old enough to do things like go to the post office by themselves since they aren't sticking together or are "lost in thought." That doesn't suggest to me that they are ready for that responsibility.
or stopping to play in the stream instead of coming right home. I wouldn't be comfortable with at at age 5 and 7.
post #38 of 65
I would not immediately think of abduction. Rather, I'd suspect the woman thought the children were too little and unsupervised. She may have wondered where the legal guardian was and drove up to the child for a better look. Asking if the child wanted a drive home could have been a, "what are you doing out here, where are your parents, are you okay" question.

I'll leave the debate of age alone. My point is that to strangers, the age of a child can be hard to determine. My 5yo sister is extremely tall and talkative. Most people think she is 8. I could easily see a stranger looking at a short, or skinny or perhaps shy child and thinking the child was much younger. If I saw a 3,4,5 yo walking alone, I would drive up and talk to him/her.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty View Post
You are NOT overreacting.

I would have called the police also.

a) Normal people who are otherwise strangers KNOW to not offer rides to kids, EVER.

b) Normal people who are known to you would have contacted you to tell you that they had offered a ride

c) Normal people who are known to you would not offer a ride 50 feet from the door

d) Normal people who are known to you would have been recognized by your child.

Therefore: this is NOT normal, and you are RIGHT for being worried and taking action.

I am sorry that this happened, but grateful that it didn't result in anything further.

Trin.
I totally agree. OP was totally justified in calling the police. If it really is just a misunderstanding, let the police sort it out.

Kudos to OP for teaching your son the right thing to do.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by claddaghmom View Post
I'll leave the debate of age alone. My point is that to strangers, the age of a child can be hard to determine. My 5yo sister is extremely tall and talkative. Most people think she is 8. I could easily see a stranger looking at a short, or skinny or perhaps shy child and thinking the child was much younger. If I saw a 3,4,5 yo walking alone, I would drive up and talk to him/her.
To me, this is the main issue with the thread, rather than trying to scry whether or not the person in the car had innocent or dark intentions.

The age thing is not about predators picking children, it's about the child's developmental ability to think reasonably and logically in a time of stress, or to even listen to basic instructions (ie. don't stray from your siblings, which in this case, they did).

How many kids do you hear about in the paper that were lured away by strangers offering candy (still, yes), looking for puppies, asking for directions? And not just 5 or 7 year olds, older kids. I think 60 min did a 'sting' with kids and showed parents - of 'mature', reasonable kids - how easy it was to lure them away.

Kids are kids. If their mental development was better, we'd let 'em vote and drive way earlier.

As someone said earlier, being there ensures their safety 100% of the time.

People will make their own safety choices, obviously, and being there is one of mine. Nothing will likely ever happen to the OPs kids, but that 1% or whatever is enough to skeeve me.
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