Professor Mom

Chronicles the life of a mom, teacher, and writer trying to stay sane amid the chaos of daily life.



Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

What a chilling story, you've made my heart race. Those types of things really do color who we are later in life, I believe that. I'm *that* mom, the one who warns her kids, probably too much. When they run off and I'm angry...that someone could've brought them home with them. When they take too much of a risk, that children go to hospitals and some die. My kids haven't ended up fearful yet, but I worry sometimes that I am too informative. I've got some memories too though, ones that make me want to keep them safe...and smart.

I was Jem this weekend on fb...a cartoon that I liked as a kid but hardly ever got to watch. I like the idea of posting pics of ourselves as kids, I think that would be way more fun!

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

I'm one of those parents who feels there's no way to be *too* extreme about safety when it comes to strangers or other really serious safety issues (drowning, fire, etc.). I think some over-caution can be good.

w's picture w

Ugh, I think I made a mistake creating my account here. Whatever. (It's Kate from peripheralvision, not w.)

The facebook thing this weekend bothered me more than most of those things do. What good does it do other than make people feel like they're doing something good when they're not?

Anyways... I'm struggling with stranger danger. My son is in junior kindergarten and last week he told me they had a lockdown one day and a lockout another. In his words, "lockout is for when there's danger outside" and "lockdown is for when there's a stranger inside the school." But here's the thing, there are always strangers in the school. And I suspect if there were ever an occasion meriting lockdown it probably wouldn't be a stranger causing it. I don't know what our approach will be in the end, but I think I'm going to help him hone his own intuition about people. I mean if he gets lost, he'll need to trust a stranger to get found.

w's picture w

Also (since my comment exceeded the max of 10,000 characters) I think I have a memory of a man opening (the passenger side) car door to ask if I wanted candy and then he drove away. But sometimes I think that could just be the result of all the emphasis on stranger danger when I was in kindergarten (probably around 1980 or 1981).

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Hi Kate!

I know what you mean--we need to figure out a way as parents to help kids develop their own intuition about people. It's tough, because kids respond to superficial demonstrations of what they perceive to be "kindness" and safe behavior, when really it's not. But you're right, we need to also teach our kids to turn to an outsider for help if they need it. I don't have the answers, really--I've never told the kids about that story, but I know for me as a parent I will always be haunted by it.

mouse's picture mouse

I've been trying to figure out how to teach this to E. I know we got a lot of it at school, but it seems like it's not there at all any more. I need to get my hands onto a book I saw an advice columnist suggest (the title is something like "The Gift of Fear"). One of the pieces of information she shared from it is to tell kids to look for a mother with kids when they need help and we're not there--it's sort of about playing the odds and making smart choices with what's at hand.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

I once heard about a book like that (maybe the same one) that was all about the importance of trusting our instincts--that being afraid is actually a way of self-preservation. There are tips we can teach our kids, you're so right--I think it's all in how we approach the subject--with practical tips rather than just blanket fear-inducing tactics.