Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paranoia

As a parent, it seems as though we are constantly dancing along the fine line between paranoia and not worrying.

Lately I'm trying not to be paranoid about the safety of my children, and more specifically keeping them safe from child predators. I think a lot about this for a few reasons:

1--I live near a big huge city
2--I'm not naive
3--My son is extremely social, and try as I might he just doesn't get the concept of "don't talk to stangers"
4--I recently heard that a four year old girl was abducted and sexually assaulted in the middle of the day at a busy park in aforementioned big city (note to self: Do not go to parks in the middle of Phoenix--EVER) even though her family was there too.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is actually a very uncomfortable topic for me, and there is a huge part of me that wants to pretend it doesn't exist. But for the safety of my children, I educate myself. So, I visited this website to search for registered sex offenders and preformed a search for my zip code.

I was happy to learn that there were only five and they didn't live by my kid's school or church or in our neighborhood. But I was somewhat surprised to see how normal and nice they looked (the profiles include pictures). In fact, it was downright unnerving. I guess I am a little naive, because I expected to see some sick maniacal look in their eyes that would tip me off or something. But almost without exception, each Man (yes they were all men--big shocker) looked like someone I would talk to at the grocery store or smile at and invite my kids to talk to if I didn't know better. It just makes it all the harder not to fall off of my dance into full on paranoia. But I'm trying my darndest to stay on that line.

Two things I just can't let go of are:

--letting Gabe play outside in the front unsupervised (which I feel bad about concerning this one kid who is ALWAYS unsupervised. He is always asking Gabe to play and he lives at the end of the street, and it's just too hard for me to go over there. So I usually make up some excuse, but what I really want to say is "It's nothing personal, I promise! But honestly your parents are MIA and that just isn't okay for my kid."

--sleepovers. I didn't have a problem with these until my daughter came into our family, but now I see it just isn't possible and I couldn't very well let Gabe have them and not Greta. For those of you without daughters, let me tell you my top reasons for not allowing sleepovers:
-I almost always snuck out of the house with my friends to go gallavanting around the neighborhood getting into all kinds of trouble and meeting up with all kinds of other kids.
-you never know what creep has access to your kid while she is at another person's house, or who could break in.

So there you have it. I'm sure there are some of you who are thinking: "Oh come on, we used to have so much fun at sleepovers! Lighten up!" and to you all I say-- wait until you have a daughter and then get back to me (especially after you remember what exactly you did on those sleepovers and how silly you thought your parents were for thinking you could have been raped, and how vulnerable you really were).

Comments? Anyone??

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you about the sleepovers. A lot of people are very niave when it comes to this kind of stuff. I wanted to comment though because little boys have bad things happen to them too. It's not something that only parents of girls need to worry about.

ali said...

I agree, I should have said something about that too, but something happened in my head (to me, maybe not everyone) when my daughter was born, it was almost paralyzing and I really had to shake myself out of paranoia. Maybe because I'm a girl and I realized how dumb I was as a teen?

I did worry about this stuff with my son, and still do, but it just sharpened when my daughter came. :)

Kendra said...

You're not paranoid at all. You're very wise. I will never allow sleep overs for my children either. My mom had the same philosophy. She was so dedicated. She would allow us to stay at a slumber party until the parents were ready to go to bed. Then she would take us back first thing in the morning when the kids woke up so we could participate in breakfast and whatever else was going on.

You can't be too careful where your kids are concerned. There are soooooo many perverts out there. Even if there are only 5 REGISTERED sex offenders in your area, there are probably dozens who have never been caught.

Never second guess your own insticts!

Adam said...

Geez, Ali, I'm glad you aren't my mom.

Just kidding.

Seriously, though, you're good to be cautious. At a point, though, won't you have to let go and start trusting the world around you?

I guess I've always just had a healthy trust for the environment that surrounds me. And as far as sex predators and all that stuff is concerned, I view it like I view germs in a public pool: The less I know about it, the better.

ali said...

you'll feel that way until you have kids Ads, then trust me, paranoia looks better and better!

Andy & Jessica said...

Ali, thanks for putting the link on for the registered offenders. I looked up our area and we have three just within a few blocks of us. I am very careful when it comes to my kids, but now I am going to be extremely careful!! Your right, when you have kids you have to be so paranoid. Andy and I have decided that we are not going to allow sleep over's too. I know what I did and my brothers did at sleepovers, and it scares me to think that parents will just let their kids be unsupervised for a night. You never know what could happen. I know it is worse now then it was when we were younger and that scares me even more. I hope we can just raise our kids with out anything bad happening to them. It is hard enough to raise kids well, and now we have to deal more and more with crazy people out their. What are parents to do but be paranoid?

Melanie said...

Ali, it is scary. My parents way of combatting all of it was to try to convince us all to be total homebodies, which most of us are. My brothers go to sleep overs and will have my mom call and say they have to come home for whatever reason just so they don't have to stay the whole night. Somehow though, with Gabe's outgoing personality I don't know if that tactic will work...