Will the Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping be a wake-up call to parents?

by Lori Hoeck on September 29, 2009

The kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard is horrific not only in scope of time — 18 years — but in the depravity of her captors Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

headinsandMany of us would like to put our head in the sand about such crimes. We want to think the Garridos are an anomaly. We turn a blind eye to reality and think that such nightmares can never happen to our children in our neighborhood.

I wish that was true.

I’ve talked with a counselor for the department of corrections whose job it is to get these types like Phillip Garrido to talk about their crimes.

It is not something you want to hear. Suffice it to say, some predators purposely stir their fantasies by just brushing up against a child in a store. It can happen in an instant — and you may never know — but that brief moment can feed these predators’ thoughts and imaginings in ways we think only exist in horror film or books.

Educate yourself
It’s time to rip the veil of aversion and denial off our eyes. It’s time for parents to give children the physical, mental, and emotional tools to become safer, stronger, and smarter.

I created this site to teach non-martial artists skills and savviness for physical, mental, and emotional self defense. It’s also for parents to discover and pass on street smarts to their kids.  Think Like a Black Belt is still growing, but more information and skill sets are added at least weekly. I plan to use more video, create newsletters on self defense for parents of small children, and do interviews with people on the front lines of crime prevention and security.

But whether you use my site or other sites or take classes in your area, do something! You may not have all the answers, but the answers are out there. Find them and share them with your kids.

Start the conversation
Talk to your children about these topics in age-specific ways. Start a conversation with them. For teens, you might discuss topics and questions such as:

  1. What do you think you would do if you had been kidnapped like Jaycee? (The kidnappers allegedly used a stun gun on her during the kidnapping. How would that change things?)
  2. If you are walking alone on a road or street, what can you do to keep safer?
  3. What classes do you want to take to increase your confidence?
  4. Do you know how to break free from someone who grabs you or how to break free from panic?
  5. Let’s talk about abusive authority figures and how to handle them.
  6. Emotional predators have special methods to control and manipulate you. Let’s explore how they do this.
  7. How do you know when to trust someone?
  8. When in danger or emergencies, what things can you do to help yourself or others?
  9. What does “survival” mean to you when it comes to violence?
  10. What code word do we want to use to let everyone in the family know a message from a stranger is valid or to indicate we can’t talk freely?

This is our reality.

Let’s face it wisely and confidently.

Other posts on kids and self defense:

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Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

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Photo credit: jvh33

{ 3 comments }

1 janice September 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Thanks, Lori. These cases are so horrible that, as a parent, it’s tempting to bury my head in the sand. But I don’t. I chat with my kids after the news and we can have talks that make them feel aware and alert but not terrified or anxious. We watch a TV series called Veronica Mars which has given us the perfect chance to discuss date rape drugs, and another family show briefly touched on the effects of anti depressants mixed with alcohol and GHB. These are situations I hope my kids will never be in, but it would be irresponsibe of me to let them think they’re living in a safe bubble. The key is getting the balance right and empowering them as much as possible. Animals teach their young about predators; it’s my job to do the same.

2 Davina September 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Hi Lori. I don’t have children, but if I did I would be proactive for sure. You’ve asked some good questions. If we never consider these things, we only box ourselves in. Just like preparing for a fire drill… we need to know all possible scenarios and escape routes. I think you’re doing a great thing here.

3 Lori Hoeck September 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Hi Janice,
Glad you use every day TV to help your kids with this. Balance is key. I like the way you put it, too, “Animals teach their young about predators; it’s my job to do the same.”

Hi Davina,
Denial only helps the criminals, that’s for sure. You’re right, it’s like preparing for a fire — excellent analogy.

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