At the age of ten while riding home from school in Columbus Ohio; a stranger attempted to lure me into his car. I attempted to ignore him, however rather than leaving his behavior became more aggressive. I remembered that one of my classmates lived near, so I began to ride with a mission. When I reached Pam’s home, I threw the bike down and began screaming. I ran to their front door and began banging fervently; Pam’s dad answered and the stranger in the white car sped away. I was one of the lucky ones.
There are those who will argue that if we want our children to grow up to be brave we must allow them independence and that statistics regarding child abductions by strangers is relatively low. There is truth in this; however we cannot associate bravery with indiscretion or independence with gratuitous risk taking. We do want to permit our children the growth needed to stand on their own legs; yet it is our responsibility to teach them to make wise choices to avoid harm’s way. Although the percentage of abductions by children by strangers is low, if it were your child the actual percentage would become 100%; perception changes when the actual misfortune materializes close to home.
The real question is what age is appropriate to allow my child the freedom to go places alone? Naturally this would depend on the child, for children mature at different ages. Additionally readiness would depend on the family and other circumstances. Being a Christian the number one tool used to assist a child in developing good judgment in order to achieve independence would be teaching the child the ways of the Lord; a Biblical Worldview provides a solid foundation (Proverbs 22:...
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... be people and street smart by the time they graduate high school. As a woman of God and a child advocate; I am simply doing my best to navigate my children and granddaughters’ future independence so that they can go out into the world courageously, yet cautiously.
FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation: Efforts to Combat Crimes against Children; Chapter 3 Child Abductions: Office of the Inspector General, (January 2009).
Investigation Discovery, I.D.: Documentary; Killer Kids. (2013).
McCarthy, M.D., Claire: What is the Right Age to let Kids go Places Alone: The Boston Globe, (March 13, 2012).
Muller, Gilbert H. and Wiener, Harvey S.: To The Point: Reading and Writing Short Arguments. 2nd ed. Boston MA: Pearson Longman, 2009. pp. 273-278.
S.H. Hooke: The Bible in Basic English: BBE. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, April 30, 1982.
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