People not watching their kids.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 180 Old 02-02-2009, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I took off early from work today, and decided to get my grocery shopping done tomorrow, since my day off is tomorrow and I want to be lazy.

I was walking down an aisle, and felt a little tap on my back. I look back, and it's a little boy. He was scared, and said he could not find his mom. I asked what his mom's name was and took him to the customer service desk to have her paged.

I waited with him, (didn't want to leave him alone again. poor guy.) and 10 minutes later : his mom finally shows up, talking on her cell phone..I heard her say something about her son got himself lost...WHAT??He didn't get HIMSELF lost, SHE lost HIM by being too preoccupied to keep track of him.

I don't know how long he was lost, but it took about 2 mins for me to walk him up to the front of the store, about 3 mins before someone came to the counter to help us, and TEN for her to bother with coming to get him. That's 15 mins not counting however long he was wandering before he decided to ask a STRANGER for help.

I started to say something, but the customer service girl beat me to it. She asked her if she ever watches the news. Bad things can happen to kids when their not being protected. The mother said, "Thank you," and left.

I feel sick.
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#2 of 180 Old 02-02-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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I spent three years in Salt Lake City for grad school and I lost track of the number of lost children I found. I used to hang out in an aisle of the store to see how long it would take people to come back for their kids (little kids like 2-4 years old). Sometimes it was 5 minutes or more. I had never experienced anything like that before.

The most memorable incident though was when one morning I was sitting on my couch doing home work when a 4 year old kid walked in my front door and asked where his dad was. Apparently his dad had gone to a store about 2 blocks away and left his 4 and 5 year olds in the car alone. They decided to go look for dad. I was just thankful he walked in my house and not a pedophile's. We were calling the police when the dad showed up. I freaked out on him but he didn't seem to understand what the big deal was.

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#3 of 180 Old 02-02-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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I waited with him, (didn't want to leave him alone again. poor guy.) and 10 minutes later : his mom finally shows up, talking on her cell phone..I heard her say something about her son got himself lost...WHAT??He didn't get HIMSELF lost, SHE lost HIM by being too preoccupied to keep track of him.
Were you there when he got lost?

When ds1 was little, he frequently took off on me when we were grocery shopping. I wasn't "too preoccupied" - I was incapable of physically holding onto him, and my basket, and whatever I was taking off the shelf, all at the same time. He'd bolt. I'd go after him, but he was faster than me. On at least three occasions, he managed to actually get lost, and once he went to customer service.

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#4 of 180 Old 02-02-2009, 11:43 PM
 
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I'll be honest, when I was younger my mom would let me stay in the toy aisle (single aisle, not SECTION) while she shopped nearby...but I wasn't 2-4 years old, I was probably closer to 6. If I left that aisle I knew I'd get in BIG trouble (we did timeouts and restriction of privileges)
My mom had long hair (down her her ankles at one point) and would keep it in a braid for me to hang on when we were out...when my brother came along he would hold on to the braid and I would loop a finger through her belt loop. She ALWAYS knew where we were.

My biggest pet peeve? When parents don't watch their kids IN THE PARKING LOT! I get nervous driving in parking lots because I never know if some unattended child is going to dart out in front of me. I also hate it when kids are unattended and create havoc in the store. I've seen many kids throwing items on the floor and making a mess of things because mom doesn't seem to see it. I've also almost run over children with a heavy shopping cart because they ran all over and weren't paying attention.

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#5 of 180 Old 02-02-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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My mom had long hair (down her her ankles at one point) and would keep it in a braid for me to hang on when we were out...when my brother came along he would hold on to the braid and I would loop a finger through her belt loop. She ALWAYS knew where we were.

My biggest pet peeve? When parents don't watch their kids IN THE PARKING LOT! I get nervous driving in parking lots because I never know if some unattended child is going to dart out in front of me.
Your mom wasn't attending you, by the standards of preventing a child from darting out into the parking lot. I've had kids dart into the parking lot several times. In every one of those cases, I was actually holding said child by the hand, and they suddenly jerked loose, and dashed. If all they were doing was holding my belt loop or braid, they'd have just had an even bigger head start. Not having a child under complete physical control every second doesn't necessarily mean the child is unattended. Believe me, I do my best to control them in parking lots - I know how many people think a parking lot has the same speed limit as the street.

Why do so many parents find it so entertaining to pass judgment on other parents, without having a clue what was actually happening during the particular incident under examination?

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#6 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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I'm one of those people who can't stand it when children run unattended. I have a wanderer, too, and I've never lost him. I hold him, or I put him in a backpack, or I put him IN the cart, or a stroller, or something. I just don't put myself in the position of loosing him. I also work with my kids all the time about standing where I tell them to, holding hands, and staying with me.

I've often wanted to take a person's child around the corner, or to the service desk, or mostly, to the police station, just to show them how easily they could loose their child. I know I'd be arrested, but I wish I could work out a deal with the police station to do it. I just don't think people realize how easy it could be for someone to walk away with their child.

I saw a man at the mall a few days ago. He mentioned to the checker at one store that he was babysitting for the last 2 weeks, something about the mom being in jail...
Anyway, I saw them in several stores throughout the mall, and that little girl was EVERYWHERE. NO WAY he could have known where she was. Actually, I even heard him asking the checkers for help finding her SEVERAL times. She, good for her, was at least staying in the same store as him. I think she was about the same age as ds...20 months or so! Arg.

This REALLY bothers me. Can you tell?

I mean, I understand how one could slip away accidentally from even the most cautious parent, but OVER AND OVER.

Wow.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#7 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Were you there when he got lost?

When ds1 was little, he frequently took off on me when we were grocery shopping. I wasn't "too preoccupied" - I was incapable of physically holding onto him, and my basket, and whatever I was taking off the shelf, all at the same time. He'd bolt. I'd go after him, but he was faster than me. On at least three occasions, he managed to actually get lost, and once he went to customer service.
I wasn't there when he got lost, but the fact that at least 15 mins past (and 10 after her full name was paged over the intercom.) She didn't seem in the least upset or concerned. I understand if your hands are full, and he takes the opportunity to take off...The difference is you went AFTER him, and found him. When they called you from customer service, I imagine you didn't wait 10 minutes to go get him. That's hat grosses me out...Maybe I'm weird, but I would have thought there would be even a slight amount of "OMG there you are! I've been looking for you!" in her attitude.
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#8 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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Your mom wasn't attending you, by the standards of preventing a child from darting out into the parking lot. I've had kids dart into the parking lot several times. In every one of those cases, I was actually holding said child by the hand, and they suddenly jerked loose, and dashed. If all they were doing was holding my belt loop or braid, they'd have just had an even bigger head start. Not having a child under complete physical control every second doesn't necessarily mean the child is unattended. Believe me, I do my best to control them in parking lots - I know how many people think a parking lot has the same speed limit as the street.

Why do so many parents find it so entertaining to pass judgment on other parents, without having a clue what was actually happening during the particular incident under examination?
I was referring to the store with the belt loop/braid thing...in the parking lot we knew better than to run off. It was just the way we were brought up. We wouldn't have gotten spanked or anything...but I don't remember ever running around while in the parking lot. That was a good way to get to stay home or, before it became against the law, in the car. I'm not saying it was the BEST way to handle it...

There's a difference between "I saw the mom holding on and the kid ran off" and "The kid wasn't anywhere NEAR mom in the store/parking lot and all she did was half heartedly yell for them to come back." 9 times out of 10 you can tell the difference between parents that are paying attention and the parents that just let their kids run wild

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#9 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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How old is the kid approximately?
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#10 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:45 AM
 
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This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I've never had one of my kids run off while at a store or in a parking lot. Not even when they were little. We taught them early on that either you are holding a hand, or your "hands are on the van," in the parking lot. When grocery shopping, the baby went into the sling, the 2 yo went into the shopping cart seat, and the other two (ages 4 and 6) - all I had to say to them was, "Hands on the cart, ladies." They range in age from 7 to 14 now, and still we have the little two by the hands and the older two stay together.

Last month when my husband and I were coming back from dinner, we saw a little girl on the side of the road. Barefoot, no adult. We stopped and asked her if she was lost, and she said that her mother had left her to go to someone's house. She was able to take us to where she lived (about 2 blocks away). The mother was not home, and the neighbors said that she does this frequently. We called the police, who responded immediately. Several minutes later, a cell phone number for the mother was obtained, and she was called. It still took her over 45 minutes to get home.

I don't know who does this, but I really wanted to say to the lady, "In the span of time from when we found your daughter to when you got home, we could have been to the airport and GONE, and you never would have known until the next day." (the excuse was that the little girl, age 5, was supposed to be spending the night at a friend's house, but the mother had not taken her there - apparently, she was just supposed to make her way there by herself).

I know that there are times that kids get away, but most people realize it immediately and start looking for their kid. When parents don't, THAT is when I have a problem.
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#11 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:45 AM
 
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I agree that the mother's reaction was a little odd. I would be in a panic and beside myself. I, too, have a child who bolts, so please don't automatically blame a mom for not watching close enough. It happens to the best of us.

I am also wondering how old the child was. Obviously old enough to ask for help.
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#12 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:48 AM
 
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UGH. I hate when stuff like that happens. My personal fave is when I go to the mall play area and notice that one kid there doesn't appear to have a mom. Usually said kid is there for at least 1/2 an hour before mama comes waltzing down the mall with her arms heavy with shopping bags. Nice. In one particular case the kid was five, told me how he'd just gotten out of karate class and then proceeded to try and drop-kick my two year old 20 lb daughter.

What is with people?
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#13 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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I used to work at a large department store, and we had a woman that would come in and leave her child in the toy department while she did the rest of her shopping. He was about four. On two different occasions other customers brought the boy to the service desk and I had to page the mom to come get him (I only worked there four months). He didn't know his mom's name, so I had to page "Owen's mom" (that isn't his real name... I don't even remember it now).

In my time there I had my share of scared lost children, and frantic parents looking for their child. Nobody else was as nonchalant about the whole thing as this mother and son.

So absolutely, kids run off, and I wouldn't consider the parents to be "at fault". But there are definitely parents out there who have no problem leaving their young children unattended in a large, busy store.

Either way, it really scares me half to death.

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#14 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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Why do so many parents find it so entertaining to pass judgment on other parents, without having a clue what was actually happening during the particular incident under examination?
Not just other parents, other mothers.
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But there are definitely parents out there who have no problem leaving their young children unattended in a large, busy store.
This is really a cultural thing. 80, 50, and probably 25, years ago in the US, or in other parts of the world today, no one would blink at something like that. And don't try to argue "it was safer then"; it wasn't, people were just less scared (it wasn't hugely less safe, either, for that matter).

Can't we just accept that different people have different comfort zones, and that we don't know anyone else's full story, and just lay off the judgmental shaming please? There's a huge and important difference between "I wouldn't" and "how could she??"
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#15 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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This is really a cultural thing. 80, 50, and probably 25, years ago in the US, or in other parts of the world today, no one would blink at something like that. And don't try to argue "it was safer then"; it wasn't, people were just less scared (it wasn't hugely less safe, either, for that matter).
30+ years ago, lots of kids ran around in stores. I remember playing all through the clothing section of Woolco with my sister. We hid out in the clothing racks, and frequently found other kids doing the same thing. A few years later, we'd play hide and seek behind the hanging rugs in Sears. It was the norm. I've seen a huge difference just between the time when ds1 was little and now. My mom doesn't say much about it, but I know she finds modern parenting a little overprotective in that area, and so do many others of her generation.

All that said...I've worked with my kids on holding hands from the time they were toddlers - all three of them. The only one who has taken it seriously enough not to bolt is dd. DS1 wasn't terrible. DS2 is awful. He has no impulse control at all, and it doesn't matter how often we discuss it, or how quickly I grab him and bring him back. He just does not get it. He sees something or thinks of something, and he's gone. I can tell reading this thread that most of you feel that anybody who was as good a parent as you are wouldn't have this happen. That's very nice for you. Maybe you're even right, but I guess we're not all that great.

Just1More: It's quite possible that man is just plain not used to kids and hasn't figured out how to keep an eye on her. Most of us have the opportunity to adjust to our kids as they develop, but this man's situation sounds a bit different. He may not even be the dad.

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#16 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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I was born in 1981, and I remember doing the hiding-in-the-racks things by the time I was, oh, 5. So that was maybe 20 years ago. But it's not like my parents didn't have some idea where I was, and vice versa; we pretty much always were within the same department, knew what to do if we got separated, knew our parents' names, etc. Nor was I an unholy terror pulling things down (though some kids are just like that, both then and now, usually through no fault of their parents'). But they'd be Bad Parents if they did that today.

It's a fascinating phenomenon.
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#17 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 01:27 AM
 
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You know, we like to go to bookstores a lot. When we enter the store my kids automatically go to the kids section. I have a few sections that I like to check out myself and I take a few minutes before I join my kids in the kid section. My biggest concern is not that they will be kidnapped, but that I will be judged as a bad mother. Seriously, I head to the kids section thinking that everyone is going to be wondering where the mother of those unsupervised kids is, not that my kids need me or are in trouble. Instinctively I feel that my kids are fine. It's the judgement that worries me more.
Sounds crazy, I know.
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#18 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 01:36 AM
 
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i think the worst part about the OP's story is that the kid was outside of his comfort zone.
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#19 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 01:44 AM
 
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i think the worst part about the OP's story is that the kid was outside of his comfort zone.
Of course he was - the poor child was lost. I just object to the assumption that the mother lost him, because she was "too preoccupied" to look after him properly. It might be true, but we don't know that. (I might add that I was frequently more preoccupied than I should have been when ds1 was small...it's not always something the mom can do anything about.)

Arwyn: Yeah - my mom always knew more-or-less where we were, and we didn't wreck the racks, either. I saw an occasional child who did, but not many.

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#20 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't ask him how old he was, but if I had to guess, he looked to be about 4 or maybe a small 5.

I don't mean to make anyone feel like I'm saying they're bad people. I don't mean that at all.
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#21 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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I was born in 1981, and I remember doing the hiding-in-the-racks things by the time I was, oh, 5. So that was maybe 20 years ago. But it's not like my parents didn't have some idea where I was, and vice versa; we pretty much always were within the same department, knew what to do if we got separated, knew our parents' names, etc. Nor was I an unholy terror pulling things down (though some kids are just like that, both then and now, usually through no fault of their parents'). But they'd be Bad Parents if they did that today.

It's a fascinating phenomenon.
Very interesting.
I think there are way too many judgemental parents on all points of the spectrum.
If parents are too permissive, other parents have a problem with that. Some are very strict, and other parents are horrified by that.
I was born in the very early 70's and we did LOTS of things unattended as kids. We used to ride miles on our bikes to spend our allowance on Saturday afternoons at the quikie mart. It was no where NEAR my mom's eyesight or range of hearing. I was a good 5 minutes away by car, winding through the neighborhood. I did this as young as 10 and 11 yrs old.
Today, some busybody would call the police because there were unattended kids bicycling!! Oh, the horror!

I agree that it's pretty horrible that that mom didn't come for her kid quickly, and seemed to be very nonchalant about it. Sad.
But overall, I'm really sick of the freak-outs who constantly butt their noses in, in inappropriate ways.
When we first moved to our new house, in town, with lots of nosy but not friendly neighbors, they called THE POLICE because my daughters were riding their bikes ON THE SIDEWALK TWO HOUSES DOWN from our house! I was THERE, watching them, but the people who called didn't bother to walk out of their house and see me, watching my kids playing and getting to know their new neighborhood.
What jerks. It would have been a simple matter to look outside and wave and ensure the kids were being watched.
But instead, the couch potatoes called 911 because little kids were playing "unattended".
Ridiculous!
A total waste of taxpayer money and time.
Not heros, not responsible people... just LAZY busybodies!
The first thing I'd do if there was a kid walking around outside MY house "unattended" is walk outside and look up and down the sidewalk to see where the parent was. I've done it before and I'll always do what I can to help out another parent... not frantically freak out and call the police because little johnny got away from mom by a house-length.
The expectations of some people today are beyond absurd and completely exclude the idea of neighbors and of people acting decently.... if you see a lost kid, help that kid find it's mom or dad... dont freak out and call the cops, for godsake... can't YOU find their mom or dad with them?
This is what people used to do. I fell off my bike in front of a neighbor's house when I was little and hurt my head. The neighbor was nice and called my mom and she came and got me. The neighbor didn't assume because my mom wasn't trailing behind me with a big safety mat, that she was a bad parent. She assumed, rightly, that I was just a kid, out playing, who got hurt, as kids do. She gave me a tissue for the little cut and waited for my mom. No big deal.
In fact, we couldn't get away with ANYthing in our neighborhood, because people KNEW each other and socialized and had each other over for dinner or BBQ's or block parties. We trick o treated at each others' houses. We traded Avon catalogues and went to each other's tupperware parties. We watched each other's kids and kept an eye on each other's houses when on vacation. We would take in the mail, get the paper, water the lawn or plants. People were NEIGHBORLY, even if at the grocery store or at the mall. NO one was busy passing judgements or tsk tsking... everyone was helpful and nice and would put themselves in that person's shoes.
I know, I'm making it sound like mayberry, USA, but it was a lot nicer knowing that if I needed something, I could get it from a neighbor, whether it was help with a flat bike tire or to use their bathroom, or pick their persimmons off their front tree... people interacted with each other in a neighborhood and knew each other by name at the grocery store.
If I DID get lost in a store I knew to ask the clerk for help and usually mom was just an isle or two away... no drama, just nice, normal people acting normally....

I'm getting older and crotchety, I suppose, but I think if people aren't willing to be helpful, then just shut up. There's no point in berating people... they will simply get defensive and ignore you. If you have helpful advice, present it in a way that parents, especially moms, don't feel beat up with... moms get enough of that from EVERYwhere.. the media, other moms, society in general, their bosses, their kids!, their daycare, their church... often moms never feel like they can measure up.... and then if you lose your kid in the store... now you're a villan....
Maybe we can all lighten up and walk a little more in each other's moccasins. Bad things happen, yes. If you can help prevent it, please, by all means, do. But don't rake a mom over the coals for losing her kid... for all you know she didn't hear the announcement and was frantically searching the back room or outside or whatever, before she realized where her kid was...
Just playing devil's advocate... you just never know where people are coming from....

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#22 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:43 AM
 
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Very interesting.
I think there are way too many judgemental parents on all points of the spectrum.
i absolutely agree that parents at all ends of the spectrum are too judgmental. i think it's in everybody to have an "us vs. them" attitude once in a while. it is easy in a place like MDC where most people are like-minded in many core values (values that are generally not the norm in our society) to take the spirit of camaraderie and the sense of validation we feel a step too far into judgement and condemnation of other people.
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#23 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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Of course he was - the poor child was lost. I just object to the assumption that the mother lost him, because she was "too preoccupied" to look after him properly. It might be true, but we don't know that.
But we do know she was preoccupied, she was chit chatting on the phone telling someone her son 'got himself lost' and to top it off she wasn't worried at all.

Kids bolt from their parents, it happens. MOST parents get worried and chase after them but, in this case the mother didn't seem to care and was having a conversation on the cell phone. It's when the parent(s) don't seem to care, aren't worried or actively looking for their child(ren).

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#24 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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It really makes a huge difference how old the child is and what he's like etc. My son started going off on his own more and more in stores at around age 8. He likes to run and hide and 'spy' like a ninja sometimes. I don't worry if he gets lost because he'll go and ask for the workers to call me on the PA, I go get him and we continue on our way. It's really not a big deal to me or to him aside from a bit of dramatic license he may take.
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#25 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:49 AM
 
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Maybe she "didn't care" because she didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe because it's happened 50 times before. Maybe because her son knew what to do about it. Maybe because she hasn't read all the "kidnappers are in EVERY STORE" books. Maybe because she hates him and didn't want to be a parent at all. We don't know.
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#26 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:52 AM
 
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Maybe she "didn't care" because she didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe because it's happened 50 times before. Maybe because her son knew what to do about it. Maybe because she hasn't read all the "kidnappers are in EVERY STORE" books. Maybe because she hates him and didn't want to be a parent at all. We don't know.
....or maybe kids run from their parents because they hate their parents?

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#27 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:54 AM
 
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....or maybe kids run from their parents because they hate their parents?
I kinda doubt those same kids would then go and ask for help finding the hated parent within 10 minutes of running from them. :
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#28 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 02:58 AM
 
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I kinda doubt those same kids would then go and ask for help finding the hated parent within 10 minutes of running form them. :

right, sarcasm kinda gets lost on the net

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#29 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 03:02 AM
 
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right, sarcasm kinda gets lost on the net
you quoted my typo :
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#30 of 180 Old 02-03-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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you quoted my typo :
ooooo, them's fightin' words

OK, commence the discussion....

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