In light of the recent Ohio kidnappings case, where three young females were held captive for 10 years, the fear of child abduction seems to dominate the minds of parents once again. While chatting with girlfriends about the Ohio kidnappings, several of them voiced concerns about how safe the world really is for their kids and whether they shouldn't just lock them up for their own safety. I have to admit, when I hear about the sick details of what these poor girls had to endure, I just want to beat the crap out of that guy and keep my daughter safe with me at all times. But I also don't want to squash my daughter's innocent discovery of the world. First things first, the odds of your child getting abducted is really low. Like, REALLY low. And when it does happen, it is almost always abduction by a parent. That said, a single stranger abduction is one too many. So of course, we need to teach our kids how to be safe with strangers. Because the reality is, they will have to deal with strangers all the time if they are to make it in this world. Another conversation I recently had with a colleague--an older gentleman--he talked about how he remembered growing up in fairly small town that he was allowed to roam freely as a child. He grew up with the sense that the world is generally a safe place, and he felt that really shaped the type of person he grew up to be. We discussed how the relative lack of freedom children are allowed these days, especially in big cities, might affect the type of adults they become--namely ones that are more fearful and less adventurous. I agree with him that making your children fear the world beyond your home is just not a good way of keeping them safe. Sure, an occasional dose of "crap-your-pants-scared" reminds you to always be aware and alert, but living with a perpetual sense of fear is no way to live at all. Especially for kids. Kids need to feel secure and confident in the world; what we need to do is equip them with the skills to stay that way, and trust them to put those skills to work. I remember playing outside for hours on end as a kid, hopping on my bike and whizzing around to place after place as my whims or those of my friends' changed. I can't remember ever feeling threatened or in danger. I just remember having fun. And yet, somewhere in the back of my mind, I also knew not to be stupid--going off with someone I didn't know or doing a flip off the top of the monkey bars. My parents had instilled me with the knowledge of how to stay safe. And I did. Now it's my turn to do the same for my kid. And it starts by letting her be a kid.