I know the headline is scary. A core philosophy at Child Safety Fun isn’t to scare parents because we think parents already worry too much about their kids. We would rather give you a better way s to teach kids about personal safety in a way that is fun and not scary for you or your kids.
So here is the incident, and after the synopsis, I will tell you what we teach our kids at home and in our seminars.
KOCO in Oklahoma City reported George White, age 56 went to the home of Quinton Thompson early Sunday morning (January 4, 2015) after Quinton’s mom Stephanie went out with some friends, leaving her son in the care of her mother.
According to police, White knocked on the Thompson’s front door and when Quinton answered the door he took him out of the house and reportedly to a friend’s apartment.
White held Quinton for six hours before dropping him off at a local convenience store. The suspect, who is unfamiliar to the family, stated when he knocked on the door at the Thompson’s house, the boy answered and he took him for safe keeping since he thought he had been left home alone.
Great story, right?
The police didn’t buy it either, and he is now locked up with a $100,000 bond. Seems White was sentenced in 2008 to 12 years in prison for kidnapping an ex-girlfriend. If my math skills serve me correctly, he shouldn’t be out of prison, but (feigning shock) he is.
After seeing the video captured from the local convenience store, a witness contacted police and told them who the suspect was and where they can find him.
What We Teach Our Own Kids
When I was a young cop, one thing I never thought about was someone coming to my house to harm me; that is, until I was directly threatened. You live your life quite differently after someone looks you in the eye and says, “I’m going to find you and kill you.”
Out of concern for my safety and that of my family, we instituted a few basic, common sense rules for our kids and developed a game when they were younger which programmed them to continue the practice even to this day (my kids are adults and teen-age).
The game is called “You Gotta Know More Before You Answer That Door!” and it is a skill I teach to parents in my Child Safety Fun seminars.
The premise is forthright and easy to understand. If someone knocks on the door, the child’s job is to look out a window. If they don’t recognize the person standing at the door, they are supposed to come and tell an adult there is someone at the door.
The same rules apply for adults.
No window? No problem. If this is the case, the child (or you) can speak through the door and ask who it is. If it’s someone they don’t know, they are instructed to go tell an adult, and let the adult decide whether to answer the door.
Why This Is Good To Know
In a practical sense,
On the very, very, very small chance someone actually comes to your door wanting to kidnap your kids (probably won’t happen), this is a great solution to denying a criminal an opportunity. In this case if young Quinton had looked out the window and gone to fetch his grandma, none of this would have happened.
We don’t know what happened to the boy while he was with criminal White, but we can imagine he was taken for a purpose, probably something perverted, sexual and disgusting.
Our goal as parents is to deny criminals opportunities to victimize our kids. This means bullies, pedophiles, or anyone else bent on doing harm.
Half the battle is parents and kids understanding bad people exist. Our job as parents is to help our kids understand that while most people are awesome, there are a few who are not and we must be aware of their tactics.
Doors and windows are breaching points for home invaders and burglars. If they can get a door open a little, they can exploit the opportunity and invade your home. So doing a simple check out the window, through a peep hole, or asking who is at the door (if no window or peep hole are available) deny a criminal an opportunity to harm any members of our family.
In our household, we make security everyone’s responsibility. This gives kids ownership, empowerment, and understanding.
For little kids ages 4-7 we play a game. Here is how we do it:
- Someone stands outside and knocks or rings the doorbell.
- Parent or teacher directs child to look out the window.
- If they don’t recognize the person, they are directed to go tell an adult. If a student in a seminar, they go tell their parent.
- If they do recognize the person at the door (a friend, a neighbor, a relative), they can answer the door.
- If they do the skill correctly, they are rewarded with candy.
- Do the skills for reps.
- This skill links up with other skills we teach, like getting help from adults in the area if they sense trouble.