The Buddy System Works

Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 1:00 pm . By Dr Joy .

So I decided it was time for me to comment on the death of Leiby Kletzky I wanted time to think it over, since it is a pretty serious thing.  This story has elicited terror in many and I’ve been approached by numerous people asking what they should do about their kids to better protect them.  My first reaction is not to get what we call “bad mother syndrome,” which is that you scare the kid into thinking they need you nearby to be able to do anything, which is not healthy and wont allow them to grow to their own potential.  What we can do is re-iterate a few practical, relatively easy things that parents can do and tell their kids to better protect them, while allowing them freedom as individuals to grow.  The Buddy System is a great tool for kids that gives them that bit of freedom but also helps keep them safer.  They should be able to walk home, but should with an older friend from school or a friend’s older brother/sister etc.  Even my own union contract states that I can’t walk to a parking lot by myself after 8pm.  Walking in groups or with a buddy is a great way to help give that extra layer of protection.  One of the worst things you can do is overreact to the situation and smother your child.  Statistically speaking, what happened with Leiby Kletzky is a very unlikely situation.  According to recent findings, 60% of children under 5 who are murdered were actually slain by their own parents, with 20% murdered by a mother’s male friend, 7% by relatives and only a mere 3% by strangers.  In this case it was a neighbor, but still someone who was not unfamiliar.  We should also re-iterate that no matter what, children should not get into any cars or go anywhere with strangers or anyone that isn’t Mom or Dad.  If it needs to be someone else, that should be planned out ahead of time and the child should know that so they aren’t faced with deciding between taking someone else’s word.  These are simple things that can help better protect our children: Don’t go anywhere with strangers, and the buddy system.  I know it’s hard, but we can’t over-react and we shouldn’t blame the parents, but we can take pro-active steps to make sure our children are a little bit safer.