Originally Posted by gabysmom617
I have read the book "The Gift of Fear", and what I gleaned from it was that, sure, trust your instincts, but also learn why you have those instincts.
Yes, DEFINITELY trust your instincts, especially when the result is harmless (yeah, your kid was unhappy, but kids are always unhappy when they leave somewhere fun. You could have had to pee or go pick someone up. He wasn't unhappy due to the reason for your departure).
However, I agree that reviewing this case to figure out what it was that creeped you out is important. It will absolutely figure into the next "gut instinct" moment you have. Those gut instincts don't come out of the blue - they come from experience of picking up on subtle clues. Some people are better at it than others and most people can teach themselves to be better at it.
And yes, we all have biases and things we react more severely to. I tend to get really paranoid about water since I had a dog drown and I was the one to pull him out. So my "instincts" around kids and water are hyper sensitive. My "instincts" about other safety measures are probably less than someone else who has their own negative experiences.
And prejudice can absolutely play into it. I remember working at a store when I was in college, and my boss asked me to pick out of all our customers who I thought were "shoplifting" types. Of course, I picked young kids (and to my embarrassment now, several were AA, which I am certain influenced my suspicion.)
He strongly corrected me, saying ANYONE can be a shoplifter - and the people you least suspect may be the most likely. He taught me to not look at people (where my prejudices about age and racial status would interfere) but to look at behavior - where people kept their hands, how they acted when they knew I was watching them, etc.
So I personally don't think the question really is "did I overreact" but rather "why did my gut tell me this situation was wrong, and what can I take from it?" Your gut may be reacting to some behavior that seemed odd, or your gut may be reacting to something else that may not be relevant.
And while you behavior at the time was totally correct (creepy feeling = remove to safe location, period), the analysis after the fact is equally important to inform future decisions.
My 2 cents.