Monday, August 26, 2013

Disappointed Parent

Multiple times this weekend I have found myself bringing up an event that just didn't sit right with me, and here I am telling you all about it.  I felt this past week a school and fellow parents let me down.  How you ask?  I was able to leave a school yard with two kids I didn't know and no one stopped me or even questioned my actions.
I guess I'll have to start from the beginning for you to understand (and I want to be clear on one thing, in no way do I blame my friends).  Some close friends of ours were hosting a birthday party for their son after school and I offered to help out, especially since my daughter was already attending the party.  Here in The Netherlands once a kid turns 5 yrs old they start hosting b-day parties just for kids, this means the parents of the birthday boy or girl get 5-10 kids handed over to them and they're responsible for their well being for 2-4 hrs.  To me that's not so unusual except in the fact half the time the parents aren't even asked to drop or pick the kids up, it's left up to the host.  Different culture, different ways, or maybe I'm just clueless to how elementary aged kid b-day parties work, since mine is still a toddler.  Our good friends said they could use help transporting the kids from the school to the playground where the party would be held.  I was happy to help, even though part me assumed I would end up with one of their kids and maybe a friend in my car.  Since I'm unfamiliar with the school I ended up parking around the corner from where the other party cars were parked.  So once all 9 kids were rounded up (I think I saw 3 parents hand their kids over) they were divided and sent to 3 different cars.  I ended up with two little boys who I had never seen before.  Trusting our friends, these kids followed me & my daughter to our car and hopped in.  Then they rode to the party 15 minutes away in another town with us, all the while telling me everything about their personal lives (they're 5-6yrs old). 
This event sent up so many red flags to me, maybe I'm over reacting but I am really disappointed in these kids parents, the school, and any onlooker at the school.  Why? 
An unfamiliar women at the school (my kid does not attend there) led 3 children off to her car and not one teacher or parent stopped to ask any questions!  They were purely handed over by their parent or teacher to a b-day party and never asked for any more details.
Am I overreacting?  All I can think about is my kids future and the many parties she'll be invited to, I would never want my kid to end up in a vehicle with someone I had never met, I would never just assume she would be o.k. and get dropped off at home hours later. 
I expressed this to our good friends and they agreed with me, they too were shocked at how blasé the parents were.  Our friends are good parents and very trustworthy, maybe that's why the kids were handed over so easily, but even so I am disappointed in the way parents handle their kids these days.  Just because something is considered the norm doesn't make it right.  I plan on attending b-day parties with my daughter until she's older, and even then I will be the one dropping her off and picking her up.  Again, am I blowing this out of proportion?


  1. I don't think so. IF I knew the person having the party AND I was good friends with them AND they would drive my kid, THEN MAYBE I would allow my child to drive with THEM. But letting a stranger take my child in THEIR car? NOPE!! You can never be too cautious! I'm with you!

  2. That is a bit weird! In the UK, well out of all the parties I have been to... you take your child, you can either stay with them or leave and you go back and pick them up at the end of the party. Unless of course you have a friend going and they suggest taking your child or vice versa. Most of the parties are at soft play centres due to the age but I know things will get a little harder as the kids grow up. I would be like you too though and offer to help!

  3. In Hamburg I used to see young children riding the bus alone all the time. Like really, really young children and I was horrified. But for some reason they are always ok. Whereas in the US a little boy was snatched the first time he walk three blocks from his kindergarten to home. They found him in a dumpster three days later. I don't know about your kindergarten, but the kindergartens in Germany the teachers know all the parents so they know you are not kidnapping kids. I'm guessing that there are reasons why children seem to be safer here but honestly I don't know why. It just doesn't ever seem to happen. At least I have never heard of it around here.

  4. Every country has it's norm, especially based on location, but for me, I'll stick to chaperoning. :) Danica

  5. Wow, that's really scary! I think I'd want to drop off and pick up my own child as well. Or have someone I knew designated to do so. I won't even ride in a car with someone I don't know, I definitely wouldn't allow my child to do so!

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog Danica. I have to say this post is really alarming to me. If I were the parents of those three children I'd be really worried. And if they were my kids they'd be in big trouble for getting in the car with a stranger. That's a big no no!

  7. I don't think you're over-reacting.

    I notice parents in my neighborhood here in the US let their elementary kids walk a mile home by themselves. Or maybe a small group of 2-3 kids. Some parents will go and take a group of friends home. While I generally trust the people who live in this neighborhood, you can't be too careful because we have no control over who drives into the neighborhood. So, honestly, I'm uneasy for the groups of 2 -3 kids who walk home each day. Thankfully, nothing has happened. But I'm more cautious like you!

  8. I am right there with you. no, you did NOT over react. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
    I came over from Tough Cookie Mommy