My younger son recently started attending the summer camp program that my older son has gone to for several years. Each day, I’d check with him to find out if he had fun, and more importantly, if he was making new friends. I learned the names of several children he called friends, which brought me comfort that he was adjusting well.
Last week, both kids talked more about their bus driver, who takes all of the children to off-site events several days a week. I didn’t think much about it, until my younger son informed me that the bus driver sat by him during the movie – and that he was his “friend.”
Now, I’ve watched enough America’s Most Wanted and evening news stories to be more than a little disturbed by this revelation. Calling his bus driver, whom I’ve never met, a “friend” is a bit too chummy for me. Of course, this man could simply be a kind person who loves children…or he could be a sick person who preys on them. I just don’t know. As a protective mom with trust issues, my mind settles on the latter.
Casually as I could, I peppered them with questions, gauging my older son’s annoyance level as I went along. I knew if I asked too many questions, they would quit telling me anything because it’s not worth the hassle.
They didn’t say anything indicating that made me think anything inappropriate had happened (or would happen), but I’m still not thrilled with the idea of this adult “friend.” I talked to my older son separately and told him that I don’t want either of them alone with the man at any time. He asked me why and I just said, “because sometimes adults act nice to children to earn their trust and then hurt them.”
I had to let him know I was serious, but I didn’t want to scare him with the details of the horrible things that could happen. I also didn’t want to come off as accusing or suspecting the man of any wrong doing. There’s a fine line between being cautious and being paranoid. I’m straddling that line right now (and I have a horrible sense of balance.)
Have you ever been in a similar predicament? What did you do? If you haven’t, how do you think you would react?