“What about kidnappings? Shouldn’t parents warn their children about the possibility of a kidnapping?”
That’s a special category because there are things children can do to prevent being kidnapped. My mom warned me of kidnappers. She told me to never get in cars with, allow myself to be led by, or accept candy from strangers. That warning saved my life when I was 5 years old and a man tried to lure me into his car with the promise of a soda if I would direct him to a certain store. I immediately turned and ran and the man sped off.
My mother — single at the time — said she was proud of me for following her instructions. She went around the neighborhood telling the other parents what had happened and also, of course, told the police. I remember a policeman coming to our house and asking me for a description of the man and his car. I’m sure there was increased vigilance in the neighborhood for the next few weeks, but all the kids were out playing the next day. I’m sure it worried my mother greatly, but she never let on. Thanks, Ma.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parent questions at rosemond.com.