Left “alone” by Narcissist Father

What constitutes leaving your children alone?  What is okay, and what isn’t?  My neighbor, who I consider to be a great mom, used to leave her youngest son inside the house as she walked up and around the corner of the street to pick up her older kids from the bus stop.  I could never do that.   There’s too many times where things happen in a split second even when I’m home with my kids – where I’m glad I was right there to help.

Technically, by the laws in our county, leaving a child of that age alone for any amount of time is child neglect.

Today, my kids, 5 and 8, were left “alone” for what I’m guessing may have been about 10 minutes.    My ex has them and took them with him to a trade show.  It was located in a gymnasium at the community college.  There were plenty of tables of exhibitors, and it was pretty busy when I arrived to pick them up to take them to the party (he ‘let’ me do that).  They said that he went to get them donuts to eat, and he left the gymnasium to go somewhere to get them (I am hoping he didn’t leave and drive away, but I do not know).

Notice how my ex didn’t want to leave the booth, full of valuable inventory, alone.  So he left his kids there in charge of it, telling our 8 year old that she is old enough to handle it.

My kids said “but at least we were there together”.  I said “Okay, but let’s practice stranger-danger a little.”  I’ve practice this before with them, making sure to cover the “I lost my puppy, can you help me find him?” routine – the phrase that would probably get them to follow the person trying to take them the fastest.  This time, I asked them:

“What if someone comes up to you while you are there waiting for Daddy to come back, and they said to you..

‘Your dad has been hurt, and I need you to come with me to go to him’.”

They sat looking at me in stunned silence.  I said “Look… here’s what you do… you don’t leave. You refuse to leave.  You are NOT to leave the booth without a police officer who is wearing a uniform…. or a firefighter.”   My son said “or daddy’s friends, if it’s daddy’s friends, we can go with them.”   Knowing that my ex doesn’t have friends, I said “no.. not daddy’s friend’s either”.

We then had a conversation about Transformers.  Yes… the “more than meets the eye” automobiles and airplanes that turn into huge machine people looking things.  They are labeled – Autobots are “good”, Decepticons are “bad”.   People aren’t that easy to figure out – we don’t come with labels that simply put as “good/safe” or “bad/unsafe”.  We have to use our own knowledge, experience, discernment and intuition to figure out how safe a person might be for us.  Nonetheless, my 5 year old son still says that it’s “easy” to figure out who the good guys are in life too.  Again nonetheless, I reminded him – they are not to leave there with anyone other than their dad, me, a police officer or a firefighter.

Other than that – I’m not sure what to do.  My five year old is one of those kids that has never met a stranger and is completely unafraid to walk away and strike a conversation with whomever.  I was just thinking the other day about how I need to strengthen his understanding of strangers and when it’s okay to talk or go with someone else and when it isn’t.  This was a good reminder!

 


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