Danger, Danger . . . How Can We Protect Our Children?
It was early Saturday morning and I was in the kitchen washing the breakfast dishes when my 2-year old son, Jonathan, came running into the kitchen.
I said, “Just a minute sweetie, I am almost done washing the dishes.”
He left and came back just a few moments later. “But Mommy, there is a man at the door.” My heart skipped a beat as I heard his words trail off. I was immediately taken aback and turned off the water from the kitchen sink faucet.
Our son had apparently answered the door, came to let me know, went looking for Daddy, and returned to inform me that a man had come to the door. Little had we realized Jonathan had opened the front door and a stranger had been waiting outside our house during this short time.
The man at the door seemed nice enough, but just earlier that week a 9-year old girl had been snatched from her front door. Needless to say, I was scared and anxious. I spoke to the man ever so briefly and quickly shut the door, then I reiterated the danger of opening the door to my son who did not understand the potential danger.
On one other occasion, it was a beautiful Sunday morning and we were getting ready to head out the door to go to church.
Guess who beat us out the door?
I said to my husband, “Where’s Marissa?” when I noticed the front door was open.
I quickly ran to the door and noticed our daughter climbing into the van. Then I spotted a taxi cab from the corner of my eye. The cab was parked right across the street from our house. The taxi driver was in his car with eyes fixated on my little girl. The man’s gaze turned toward me as he saw me come onto the front porch and he quickly sped off.
Our daughter, Marissa, was just elementary age. We had always instructed her to wait for Mommy and Daddy before going outside. She was excited to go to church, though, and who can blame her? I had a sinking feeling and was so grateful to have noticed Marissa was outside when I did.
As a first time parent, I was always reading up on the latest and greatest parenting tips from parenting magazines and attending parenting workshops and going to CPR and first aid classes. And yet, how do we teach our children about danger and the world we live in?
For instance, we hear about kidnappings and sexual abuse and human trafficking. In Justin Holcomb’s book God Made All of Me, he educates parents on 9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse, including teaching our children that God made their body, inviting our children to talk to us, and identifying whom to trust.
Police officer and major crime detective, Jon Holsten, shares these statistics about Talking to Your Kids About Sexual Abuse:
67% of all sexual assault victims are children (U.S. Department of Justice)
33% of girls (1 out of 3) are sexually abused before the age of 18 (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2000)
16% of boys (roughly 1 out of 6) are sexually abused before the age of 18 (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2000)
As a parent, I don’t remember receiving much information from my kid’s schools about the
potential dangers our children face. Even today, sex-trafficking continues to increase. Yet, it is still our responsibility as parents and caregivers to protect our children. We need to be informed, educated, and aware of the possible dangers our children may face and how we can protect them.
According to the U.S. State Department, a person is a victim of sex trafficking when they are forced to engage in commercial sex. In addition, Dr. Katariina Rosenblatt, LLM, PhD, human trafficking and domestic violence speaker and trainer teaches us that children are “being enticed or lured through some form of false relationship or one of their basic living needs being met through the provision of food, clothing, shelter, drugs or anything of value in exchange for sex.” She believes this vulnerability may be the result of the breakdown of the American family. Perpetrators mainly look to recruit children who come from broken homes or foster care by enticing them into a family-like environment where they are provided with a false sense of belonging.
Being a parent means we need to teach our children right from wrong and provide them with information to help protect them. It is necessary to reiterate this information to our children throughout their childhood and youth. As with my son and daughter, they had both forgotten that we had taught them to wait for Mom or Dad before leaving the house and not to open the door.
We need to equip ourselves and be knowledgeable of the threats to our children and how we can best safeguard them in this dangerous world we live in. This means, having open communication with our children and presenting them with the age-appropriate information they need to be aware of their surroundings, who strangers are to them, and what it means to be touched inappropriately.
Here are 7 Parenting Tips To Get You Started
Join a parenting support group, such as MOPS
Find a parenting Bible study or Life Group
Take a CPR and First Aid course
Fingerprint your children
Keep current on parenting trends, like how to protect your children
Attend educational workshops and trainings
Teach your children about strangers and about their bodies
Questions to Consider
What resources and trainings will you take to equip you with the armor of knowledge?
What information will you consider today to help you educate and safeguard your children?
Is there something you can do today to volunteer in your community toward human or sex-trafficking?
What things have you learned as a parent that you can share with other parents and caregivers?
What can we do as a community to come along side one another to help protect our children?
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 18:10
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve. Isaiah 61: 1-3