The recent murder of little Leiby Kletzky is evidence that children are frequently stalked and preyed upon by sociopaths that will take advantage of any opportunity to abduct a helpless child (http://nydn.us/qQ3L01). That’s why it makes me angry when I hear people using the words “helicopter parent“. I’d be the first to admit that I’m super protective of my child. I purposely describe myself as “super protective” rather than “over protective” because it’s less offensive. Children are abused in schools, daycares, and in the homes of trusted friends and family members, probably more than anyone will ever know. Based on the number of child abductions and child murders that are reported in the news, it’s almost impossible for good parents to be “over protective”.
Statistics posted on websites like Kids Fighting Chance and Intellicorp InTouch are eye opening when considering a child’s likelihood of being abducted. Here are a few of the statistics found on those websites:
A child is reported missing or abducted every 40 seconds in the United States. [That equals 2,000 children (under age 18) per day, or 800,000 per year.]
Of the 800,000 children reported missing each year, approximately 69,000 are abducted.
Abductions by non-family members account for 18% or 12,000 of the reported cases.
Of the non-family member abductions, 37% are by strangers.
Each year there are more than 1.3 million cases of caretaker-reported missing children incidents.
Of child victims of “stereotypical kidnappings”, 40% are killed, 4% are never found, 71% are by a stranger, and 29% are by a slight acquaintance.
Most abductions (80%) take place within a quarter of a mile from the victim’s home.
In non-family member abductions, 32% take place on a street or in a car, and 25% take place in a park or wooded area – 46% of the abducted children are sexually assaulted.
Intellicorp InTouch offers the following advice:
“Don’t hesitate to perform criminal background checks on anyone who cares for or spends alone time with your child – nannies, coaches, babysitters, daycare providers, teachers, neighbors, etc. Be very specific in your instructions to caregivers. For example, it is not acceptable for a babysitter to bring along a friend or boyfriend whom you do not know.”
The same people that would refuse to allow a stranger to drive their car readily hand over their kids with very little hesitation. I am often disturbed by the fact that people think their children are automatically safe with individuals with certain titles. Parents and guardians frequently assume that a person with the title of teacher, principal, pastor, reverend, doctor, etc. is a person with whom their children will be safe. A practicing lawyer once shared with me that pedophiles are often the most docile criminals. They adapt their friendly and harmless demeanor as a part of their strategy to lure their victims in and win the trust of those around them.
In a day and age in which people are killing their own children, parents may want to think twice before adapting the “free-range” child philosophy. While I respect the right of every parent to decide how to raise their children, I would ask that parents that elect to be more protective not be judged or labeled for their choices. The label of helicopter parent does not intimidate me in the least. However, I would prefer a more accurate title such as “fighter pilot parent“. That would be a better title for a parent like me because I will protect my child with my life. I will do my best to wipe out anything or anyone that threatens my child’s physical, mental or spiritual health.