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Dear Abby Says Never Take Your Eyes Off Your Kids Till They Are Old Enough To “Fight Off a Predator”


From last week’s Dear Abby comes this pointless fear-mongering:

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I disagree about how to handle taking our children shopping with us. I believe that, especially while our children are small (they are 3 and 5), the adult with them should keep them in sight at all times, or at least the majority of the time. If a child moves out of eyesight, the adult should find them within a minute. Are there guidelines on what is appropriate by age or developmental stage on this issue? — HELICOPTER MOM AND FREE RANGE DAD

DEAR HELICOPTER MOM: Your husband is an optimist, while you are a realist. Common sense should prevail. When you take your children to a public place, they should remain under your or your husband’s supervision at all times until they are aware enough that they can’t be lured away by a stranger, and big enough to fight off a predator.

According to this, I should go dig up my mom if I want to go to a public place, as I remain not “big enough to fight off a predator.” If you’re determined to snatch me and over 5’6″, I’m sunk.

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  1. ma.concerned.citizen

    I’m actually totally ok with this response. When my children were 3 and 5, there was no way I was letting them out of my site. Sorry, but that’s how it is. If you have kids, it’s just instinct to not want them out of your site at that age. I’m not sure what the issue is here with this.

  2. R M

    Aren’t parents legally responsible for their children until they are of legal age? I believe they are and if this was practiced, they would be a lot less children in jail and more parents in jail.

    • kind of living

      Good then please watch a dang in the parking lot of stores , running around like a bunch of frigging brats , as well as in the stores , and riding their bikes out on main streets , riding across cross walks , and check their respect ! but first you have to know what respect is , the least you have to worry about is THE STRANGER , hell no , the real worry is what you teach them , and its an on going thing , not just when their little , hell I still have to advise my adult kids , and guess what ? they still are human and screw up just like all adults , but really? the biggie is stranger danger ? as a father of 4 , and one that died from aides a result of sharing needles with her ol man , and I have one daughter in prison back east on drug charges she has been down for 8 years , you can watch them all you like , and “think” your teaching them , but brace your self for life , because you will spend years kicking your self in the ass for the secret words that could have kept them from harming them self ,or becoming harmed , are you doing enough ? I pray your never asking your self why the hell was I not thinking when I cant be their for them ? teaching them to be self reliant is hard , but key

  3. jo

    I watched my kids like a hawk. What dummy would let them wander around in a crowd unsupervised? My dad allowed me to just do whatever unsupervised and it led to me being molested by a predator, so I would have to say this is sage advice.

    • Tired Of Hiding

      Wow, you were unlucky. The overwhelming vast majority of molestations are done by someone the family/parents/child already know. Random strangers are rarely to blame and those who have already had a run in with the legal system are the least likely.

    • David

      My parents gave us lots of freedom when we were kids. In fact, we were unsupervised a great deal of the time and no one ever molested me or my brother. (Of course, we were such little monsters that we probably struck fear in most adults who wisely stayed as far away from us as possible!) 😆

  4. Michael

    Apparently Dear Abby does not know that 68% of abusers are immediate family members and 90% are abused by someone in their circle. It may be that one day they’ll be fighting off the one of the people she say’s should remain under their supervision “until they are aware enough that they can’t be lured away by a stranger” who isn’t luring them away.


    • Tim Moore

      It is conceivable a stranger could actually intervene to stop or prevent crime. It happens with domestic violence sometimes.

  5. C

    I have a 9 and 6 year old and dispatch them as a team for this and that at the supermarket. If it’s just me and the 9 year old and she’s taking too long to choose a cereal box, I’ll tell her to meet me in the bread aisle. 6 year old is not ready for that yet. They work well together. It gives them a sense of independence, strengthens their bond and it is fun for them. However, the neighborhood Ralph’s is pretty much the only place I’d feel safe doing this and, while predators cross my mind, statistically they’re more likely to be harmed by another shopper’s cart, or worse, run over in the parking lot. Indeed, parking lots are where we all hold hands, not to protect from bogeyman, but idiotic drivers.
    I support Dear Abby on this one.

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