Grateful When The Amber Alert Scares The Pants Off My Kid

2013 October 21
by Carissa

Last night there was an Amber Alert.

Amber Alert ImageMy little boy came running out of the TV room with fear in his voice… ‘Mom there’s a red bar at the top of the TV and it’s talking about a missing kid?’… Yeah? I Googled the Amber Alert and sure enough just for South Carolina there was a missing child alert and a Black Hyundai with license plates noted.

He had a million questions and wasn’t about to leave my side. We looked up the town where the alert originated, and it was more than 2 hours away. He told me he wasn’t about to watch TV the rest of the night. And just then my phone went off with a loud PSA Beep. And there in my texts was the same Amber Alert message.

How does that work, he wondered?

I helped him as best I could. These alerts are a good thing. I know it’s scary to think about a child who right this second is probably really REALLY missing his mom.

“Mom, I don’t know what a black Hyundai looks like”. That’s okay kiddo, the chances it would be driving by our neighborhood on a Sunday evening 100 miles away from there are pretty slim.

“Mom, I don’t want to go to that town okay?”

How do I answer that one?

Fear is one thing, and often it’s a powerful deterrent and a great lesson builder. But how far do we push a 9 year old’s ability to understand this big scary world?

“Mom, what if there was a much bigger emergency, like… the WHOLE nation needed to know?”
After a few more of these ‘what if’ questions he calmed down. I could tell he was feeling safe in his own home again and he was trying to understand  that because something bad happened doesn’t mean bad things will happen to him.

Has your phone gone off in the middle of the night with an announcement about possible flooding, weather issues or an Amber Alert?

You can learn more about Amber Alerts on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website:  http://www.missingkids.com/AMBER

This morning we checked. And the little boy had been found.
And we’re grateful for the system, even if it does scare the pants off a little boy in his own house.

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