Every Parent’s Nightmare

This is a horrible story about an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped and spent 18 years in some private enclave, where she has borne two children fathered by her kidnapper, who just happens to be a registered sex offender.  It is impossible to imagine how the victim, now a 29-year-old woman, has been traumatized and twisted by such an unbearably awful experience.

This kind of story is every parent’s nightmare.  When your children are of tender age, you try to watch them as best you can — while at the same time avoiding the “helicopter syndrome,” where you are hovering around wherever they are and whatever they are doing.  In this particular case, the young girl was kidnapped as she walked home from the school bus stop, in full view of her stepfather.

Parenting involves making everyday judgments about what is best for your child and your family.  Every parent makes thousands of decisions about whether their child should attend a party, spend the night at a friend’s house, go on a camping trip, stay after school for a club meeting, or engage in hundreds of other activities.  You do the best you can to be sure that your child is safe and secure, and then you read this kind of story about what can happen despite your best efforts.  My guess is that, after reading this story, some parents will hover a bit closer.

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