One of the "joys" that comes with motherhood is the constant worry that something might go wrong; that my children (or myself) might get seriously injured, or -- dare I say -- kidnapped.
When I first found out that I would be expecting a child, a whole wealth of worries that I had never before thought about came rushing into mind. I suddenly had a lot of fears. To help calm my mind, I furiously researched anything and everything that could go wrong, and how to prevent it. I refreshed myself on the CPR, Heimlich, and first-aid techniques I learned in high school and at girl's camp; I researched different insect and animal bites and how prevent and treat them; I have poison control's number in three different places, and it's programmed into my phone; I also set up my will, got into the habit of wearing my seat belt, looked into my own health, refreshed my self-defense skills (which need to be refreshed again), and hoped for super human powers that would enable me to prevent anything from going wrong.
I willingly admit that I am a pretty paranoid mother; I cringe and cross my fingers even at the most trivial things that "could" endanger my son (like playing at a park, where he can pick up the yuckiest germs or digging in the garden, where he could get hookworm, a flesh-eating bacteria, or even just uncover a worm, which is sooo disgusting). But for all my worrying and prevention, I know that sometimes things will happen that are beyond my control.
The statistics for this stuff are frightening. For Instance:
- The National Child Abuse and Neglect Dada System shows that in 2002, 94% of child fatalities were children younger than 12 years old.
- According to a study done in 2002 by NISMART, an estimated 58,200 children were abducted by a non family perpetrator. Of those children, an estimated 34,100 were ages 15-17! And 38% of these non family abducted children were abducted by a friend or long term acquaintance
- In one study, 80% of students in grades 8-12 and 90% of students in grades 4-8 responded that they have been bullied at some pont in their school carreers. (Hoover, Oliver & Hazlar, 1992; Hoover, Oliver & Thompson, 1993)
- 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be molested before age 18. (Answers to Important Questions About the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse.
- Almost half of all sex offenders are under 18. (1991 FBI Uniform Crime Report)
- 96% of abused children are being abused by someone they know. (radKIDS program)
I was recently made aware, by my aunt, of a program that is designed to teach kids how to defend themselves and escape attacks and abductions. The radKIDS method is to empower children with realistic options for their own personal safety. They currently have ongoing programs at schools nationwide, and in Canada. They also offer radKIDS programs for the community.
My aunt has two children who gradduated from this program. They had an officer who acted as their "bad guy," and they got to learn self-defense techniques, escape tactics, and more. It was available to the children at their school for no cost, but I don't know if that's the case everywhere.
I am really excited to learn that there is a program like this out there. It is so important to me that my son not only know what to say to a stranger who approaches him, but also how to defend himself, should anything go wrong. I read that they are currently developing a preschool curriculum, and I will definitely want to have my son in something like this when he is old enough!
The National Center for Missing and Explioted Children
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