As a parent, we always worry that something will happen to our children. We try to anticipate any situation they could be in that could be harmful and help them avoid it. We give them tools to keep themselves safe. Sadly sometimes, it’s not enough.
When you are a single parent keeping your child safe becomes even more of a challenge. Due to only being one person and having to work, you are not able to supervise as much as you would like to, you can’t always be there, just a shout away if they need you.
Recently in my neighborhood a six year old girl was taken from her bedroom, in the middle of the night. She was found the next morning. She had been sexually assaulted and drowned. Taken from what should be the safest place in the world for a child. They caught the monster who did this but he has taken so much from her family and our community. How can our children feel safe when someone can steal you out of your bed?
Fortunately this is a rare occurrence. It doesn’t matter how rare it is if it’s your child that’s gone. I don’t know how to protect children from this particular type of monster. The family had cameras on the house, maybe an alarm system would have helped, I don’t know, and I don’t want to second guess. I’m sure those parents are berating themselves for all things they could have done.
Tragedies like this cause us to hold our babies closer. As a single mother I think you have to work harder to be part of your child’s world. Let them know that you are on their side, that you will always believe them. It’s easy to brush off small, inconsequential things, but if they are important to your child, they should be important to you. Your child needs to know you will always listen with an open mind. You have to be the person they can lean on.
I think one of the most important things I taught Hailey is to trust herself. Each of us has a small voice that will tell us when something is not right, we need to teach our children to trust that voice. If something feels wrong, it may not be, but better safe than sorry. If you child tells you they don’t like hugging their uncle, don’t make them. Trust their feelings. If you can teach them this it may save them from a bad situation.
Studies have also show that children who fight and scream when someone is trying to harm them stand a better chance than children who are too scared to react. Teach your kids to scream, not to go meekly with anyone, and trust their instincts. They may be wrong but I wouldn’t want to find out.