"How to spot a predator." Really?
'How to spot a predator.' Really? Our free-range parenting expert sounds off on some parents' continuing 'stranger danger' fears of child predators.
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Lenore Skenazy is “America’s Worst Mom.” (Google it!) The New York City columnist-turned-reality show host got that title after letting her 9-year-old son take the subway alone. In response to the media blowback, she founded the book and blog, “Free-Range Kids,” launching the anti-helicopter parenting movement. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.
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Still trying to figure out what part of this Circle of Moms post, "How to Spot a Child Predator," irks me the most. It’s by a lady who was at a cafe and heard a man asking two third grade boys questions like, “What’s your favorite subject?” and “Who do you want to marry when you grow up?”
He also asked them some math problems, so the lady immediately “understood” what she was hearing:
"…like a thunderbolt, it hits me! Those boys are being groomed."
How exactly did she know he was up to no good? She trusted her gut. And now she wants the rest of us to trust it, too:
"I wrote this so you’d read about the types of questions a potential predator uses so you can prepare your kids.
Please don’t scare your kids, but do talk to them. Use these, or examples like them, so your kids know what bad strangers ask."
Except that there is no evidence whatsoever that this was a “bad stranger,” or that these are the type of questions a bad stranger would ask!
It’s like saying, “I would have been raped by the man in the grocery store today if I hadn’t realized what he was up to! So I’m alerting the rest of you: If a man ever asks, ‘Do you know what aisle the paper towels are in?’ Run! He is a bad stranger. Don’t thank me – I’m just trying to help!”
Uh…thanks. But no thanks.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Lenore Skenazy blogs at Free-Range Kids.