Honestly, it’s just getting so scary out there. First a 12 year old boy is stabbed in his schoolyard, then a little girl in Sydney is snatched from her home, horribly abused and left for dead. Then a little girl in Bundaberg is abducted and killed by a family friend. All in the last couple of weeks.
It’s a scary enough prospect keeping our children safe out there in the big wide world, but when we drop them off at school, we expect them to survive the day. When we tuck them into bed, we believe they are safe. Our homes are our sanctuary, our safe harbour in this sometimes rough sea of life, and it is a horrifying thought that this may not be so. I know of Mums who are now having their children sleep with them, just so they can be reassured that they are safe. I myself have a dog who sleeps inside, and has always been encouraged, not scolded, for barking or bringing to our attention people approaching the house. Now he is also encouraged to sleep near GG’s room. Luckily he is naturally very protective of GG, and loves being allowed to be near her. I also may or may not have re-connected GG’s baby monitor, just so I can hear what’s going on.
I have always had a tendency to worry, let my vivid imagination take off and concoct disastrous scenarios. I usually am able to shrug this off and even laugh at myself for my drama, but these recent tragedies play right into my strongest sense – maternal. There is nothing more precious to me than my child, and nothing more terrifying than the thought of her being hurt, or put in danger. It is our job to not only nurture and shape them, but protect them.
What’s scarier is trying to explain to our children why this is so. GG is only two, so I have kept her shielded from most of this, but even now, when we are out and about we have a talk that runs along the lines of, “You must stay with Mummy, so I know where you are and can keep you safe.” Safe from what is still fairly ambiguous. We have also started talking about Stranger Danger, but I sometimes struggle to find the right approach.
What about you, how much do you tell your children about the dangers in the world, and how do you say it to them?