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Monday, November 14, 2011

Too many kids are hurting

My kids love popcorn. It's one of the few snacks that they can all agree to eat without bickering (unless you count the arguments about who has more).

Unfortunately, when it comes to eating it, they are pigs.

I'm not sure how much they eat, and how much gets thrown on the floor.

But they love it.

I went on a cleaning spree today. Not just the popcorn, but the entire living room and the kitchen. It's amazing how much more motivated I am to clean while they're at school and the place has at least a fighting chance to stay clean for a couple of hours.

My house is fairly clean right now - if you don't count the laundry that just. never. ends.

Of course, while I was cleaning, I was also reading the news online, and then I took the time tonight to watch the Jerry Sandusky interview on Rock Center.

I thought about all of the kids that I heard about on the news, just tonight.

The 8 (or more) who were allegedly abused by Sandusky.

The 9 kids in Wichita whose mother was shot and killed by her husband just a few nights ago. Three of her children witnessed their mother's murder.

A 10 year old girl in Illinois who committed suicide because she was being bullied.

Five boys who were allegedly molested at a summer camp at The Citadel.

When does it end?

How do we protect our kids?

Short of raising them in a bubble and never allowing them out of our sight, how do we keep them safe?

What can we as parents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, adult friends, mentors - do to help our kids?

We think that our kids are safe - that nothing will happen to them. I mean really, those kind of things don't happen to people like us, do they?

The truth is - it can happen to anyone. It's gotten to the point that I worry about sending my kids anywhere. Anywhere. I occasionally will allow the girls to run to the store across the street to grab a movie from the Redbox or to get a dozen eggs or a gallon of milk - but I watch out the window the entire time until I see them coming back. I won't let them go alone - they have to go together. Realistically, where we live, they're probably safe. But you never know.

I've talked to the kids - especially the girls - about what to do if a situation comes up that scares them. They know to run and kick and scream and fight and bite and do anything that they have to do to get away from an attacker. I've drilled my address and phone number into all of their heads so that they can recite it at a moment's notice if needed.

But it's not enough. I know that it's not enough. I don't want them to be afraid to be kids. I want them to enjoy their childhood like I did. But I grew up in a different time and in a different place - a much more rural place where every house in the area had kids living in it, and everyone's parents watched out for all of the kids without even thinking about it. We didn't think twice about heading out of the house right after breakfast and being gone all day, because we would eat lunch at someone's house on a quick break from playing outside and then be back at our own houses before dinner. After dinner, everyone in the neighborhood gathered on our patio to shoot the breeze until long after the sun went down. It was an idyllic life back then.

I want that for my kids, but it's not going to happen in this day and age. Now, we have to warn our kids about sexual predators and kidnappers instead of snakes and poison ivy.

When did this happen? When did the world go to crap? And what can we do to stop it?


  1. Wow. Is it a coincidence that you posted this right after I read this link from another blog?


    The incidents you listed are horrific but they are rare. The world is a much safer place than it ever was. Yes, we should educate our kids to the dangers that do exist, but we should not let them paralyze us or our kids because in actuality those dangers have about a 99.9% chance of not happening.

  2. Amanda, that is an awesome article - I hadn't seen it, so thank you for pointing it out to me. She said what I was trying to say so much better than I did! LOL Honestly, I know that these situations are rare, but with the media frenzy, it is hard to take them lightly. I've always prided myself on being a fairly laid-back mom - I encourage my kids to get dirty and to play in the woods and to have fun, and I don't panic over every single scrape and cut.

    With all of the media these days, bringing these horrible situations out into the public eye - it's a double-edged sword. Yes, it makes us more aware of dangers...but at the same time it makes us afraid to let our kids out of our sight.

  3. I totally agree with you Ames...it is scary to let our kids go anywhere. I worry about how I'm going to be with Ava as she gets older.

    I do have to disagree with you Amanda. I don't think that the world is safer now than it ever was. I think that things are more dangerous than ever before. We lived in a big city when I was growing up, and my parents were never afraid to let us roam the streets...the only rule was that we were home before the street lights came on. I would NEVER let my child be out that long without checking in now. I live outside of Houston, and while yes, Houston is HUGE, you wouldn't believe all the horror stories that play out in the newspaper and on the evening news. We've lived down here for 6 months, and I can honestly tell you that just about every single day, there's someone that's been shot or kidnapped or something. It never used to be that way. My mom and I have had many a conversation about the difference in when I was growing up and how things are in the world now. It's scary.

  4. it is very sad. i share your childhood, of living in the country, you've been to my parents house. and i feel your anxiety, being the parent of 2 blonde haired blue eyed little girls, makes me want to put them in a bubble and gaurd them forever. but i know i can't do that with makenzie going to kindergarten next year.

  5. Well said, Amy. After working at CYS for 12 years I am overprotective to the nth degree-my kids have grown to understand that their crazy overprotective mom is never going to get beyond my "it's not you I don't trust" mentality when I don't let them do things or go places "everyone else can". Also, and this is not a slam on you, but even by your own statement you hit a societal shortcoming on the head when you said "especially the girls"...even with my years of experience at CYS I too seem to be more protective of my daughter but really, as the tragedy associated with Penn State demonstrates, oftentimes by this we sell our sons short. Statistics (soberingly) cite that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 and that 1 in 5 boys will be as well(not odds I like to dwell on-one of the many reasons I had to get out of that job). In actuality they also cite that these odds are skewed and the ratio may actually be higher for boys...why? Most predators are male (sorry guys but it's true) and being assaulted as a child (which is usually by a person in a position of power and trust) and coming forth is difficult enough- add to that the additional 'shame' of it being by another male with the further fear of stigma of being labeled as "weak" of "gay"-is it any wonder boys are able to come forth at all?? Yet another reason recent events have cut me to the core. My heart goes out to all victims and(especially as the Penn State mother of a boy the age of that disgusting POS's victims) I admire their strength ability to testify and hopefully overcome! Thanks again, Amy, for the soapbox...

  6. Great comments everyone! I am on my phone so keeping this short for now but I wanted to clarify - Kimberly, the comment about the girls is because they are my two oldest, so at this point they are more likely to go somewhere alone. The boys are still too young, though not for long. =\



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  9. Oh my goodness, Amanda, I am so sorry to hear that! I can't even begin to imagine what you and your family and your granddaughter have had to go through.

    I don't even know what to say. Just know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.


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