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Afraid to Let My Kids out of Sight in Public place

Posted by iamdawn on October 18, 2007, at 2:57:27

I have a 9yo boy and 7yo girl, and I don't know what is reasonable, generally speaking, range of roaming for them in public places- ie, shopping stores, supermarket, movie theater, and such.

For example, today we were at the supermarket, and my son went to one side of the store to get a couple things we were there for, while my daughter and I went to the freezer section for the other things. I was beyond anxious, with fear that he would be harmed or abducted while we were apart. Then, before checking out, my daughter asks to get a drink from the water fountain- which is by the restrooms; around the corner and out of sight. I allow her, and watch the hallway closely for all adults coming and going, fearful she may be pulled into the men's or women's restrooms and harmed in some way.

I know my perceptions are extreme, and my anxiety is out of proportion to the risks. I was almost abducted as a young child, and then assaulted and molested as an older child and early teen. These things weigh heavily on my mind now that I am a parent.

I don't know what reasonable freedoms and limitations should be for their ages. I don't know how to let my son use the men's room at the movies without standing within two feet of the entrance listening for him and watching all the men who go in and out. If I think he's taking "too long", I'll call from the doorway and ask if everything is okay. I know there is always the potential for something bad to happen to them if they are alone in public, and it would just break me if one of my children had to go through what I've been through.

I don't want to pass this excessive fear on to my kids, either. All I try and let myself show them of my fears is that they shouldn't be gone from me for too long in a store and they need to be where they say they're going to be, and no where else. Don't talk to strangers, even if they say they know me or their dad. We have a "code word" so they'll know if they should go with someone or not. We have basic safety rules to follow.

I know they will want more independence as they get older, but I'm frightened of someone hurting them. Help!




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