People across the country have been glued to their TV sets listening to developments from the story out of Ohio in which a young woman escaped her captor’s residence after being abducted ten years ago. The incident has served as a reminder to parents of the threat of abduction faced by kids and teens every day, and if you’re a parent, some tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as related by a new report from USA Today might prove helpful.
One of the best things you can do is speak with your children about situations they should avoid, especially if they’re entering that 11 to 17 year old age range where they begin to express their independence. Tell them that it’s okay to walk away from an uncomfortable situation, and if the situation continues, for instance if a stranger persists with an unwanted conversation, the child should be instructed to fight, scream, and do what’s necessary to get away.
Danger can be mitigated when kids travel in groups. Advise your kids to always have a companion when they’re unaccompanied by an adult. When someone approaches them to converse, they should ignore that person and leave immediately, following the steps described above if they can’t get away. Impoliteness can be a strength in such situations.
Finally, supervise activities and make sure you know where your child is at all times. Develop a relationship with those persons whose care you leave your children in, such as their teachers and daycare providers.