there’s no good transitional post after the last one, and i didn’t want to just leave you twisting in the wind, so i thought i would follow it up with some general things that you probably know, but which don’t hurt to repeat.

i think as a society we spend altogether too much time teaching our kids stranger danger when statistically they are much more likely to be in danger from people who are known to them. this is sad but true. just like rape and domestic violence, most harm comes to children from people they know, and often people we trust.

so even if the baseball coach or the friendly neighbor or the appliance repair man seem really nice and honest and sweet, there is really no reason for them to be alone with your kids. like ever.

you might say, “but i don’t want to be paranoid!”

um, yes you do.

because when it comes to the safety of your kids, you are their last line of defense.

it is up to you to guard their innocence.

and whether you are babysitting or parenting or just watching kids play on the block, if you are too caught up in looking appropriate to step in when someone’s actions start to look sketchy, you need to never ever ever be in charge of children.

it’s just that simple.

i’ve never met a person with decent intentions who would get offended if i told them my kids couldn’t go into their house alone. i’ve never been to a doctor or dentist that wouldn’t let me be in the room with my child, and if it seemed to raise their hackles and they took an attitude with me about it, i switched practices. i’ve never been afraid about telling my kids that they could only watch the man fixing our broken whatever if they stayed in a group, and if that wasn’t ok then you can darn well bet i wondered why.

i’ve heard that some molesters will try to date single moms with kids so they can cozy up to the kids while the trusting mom is at work.

i know that some molesters do the “favorite uncle” bit and bring toys or games or treats- often for the whole family, while they are selecting out their victim.

molesters aren’t afraid to be slow and methodical. they don’t mind taking their time to build up your trust. they may have cute pets, because that makes them seem even more trustworthy and disarming. they might treat your whole family to dinner or to movies.

see how likable i am? i’m not after your kid. i just want to be part of the family.

they know which kids are a prime target.

and they will lay the trap.

is it horrible to be suspicious? of course it is.

are there plenty of good and decent folks out there who legitimately want to coach soccer or mentor your at-risk teen or hang out with your petulant daughter? absolutely.

and your kids will most likely make you out to be a total lunatic if you even suggest that some adults may have less than stellar motives.

but it only takes one sick person to change a child’s world forever.

and that stuff will haunt them.

sadly, there’s lots in the news that can be a springboard for discussion. so maybe use that to your advantage. and if you’re afraid of rocking the boat, now might be the time to grow a pair.

sorry for the crude language, but better a wake-up call on this blog than a wake-up call in real life.

which i hope never ever happens.

so go lead your horse…