“Well, I don’t want Annie to be mad at me – we are so close, she really is my best friend,” I heard this woman at Whole Foods say. It seemed like a harmless enough comment when I heard it.

Boy was I wrong.

First, let me say I do not spend my days ease dropping on complete strangers conversations at the grocery market. However, this particular woman was on her cell phone in line right in front of me. It was kind of hard for me, and the other people in line, not to hear her.

At first, I thought she was talking about an actual friend. However, I (and everyone else in line) soon came to learn that she was talking about Annie her 15-year-old daughter!

Apparently, this woman’s daughter had driven in a car with kids she had just met and came home late. And, the woman was concerned that if she punished her daughter it would make it uncomfortable in the house and that Annie (her daughter) would be mad at her.

But, what I am wondering is this…

When did our children’s safety become less important than us as parents being uncomfortable?

And, how soon will it be before we see pictures of Annie on the nightly news because she has gone missing, or even worse - dead!

By the time I left the market and heard this mom go on for a good 15 minutes – I literally wanted to shake her.

It seems like today, parents want to be liked and cool. And, to accomplish that, they are willing to forgo so many basic parenting responsibilities that we need to reexamine right here, right now!

Look at these scary facts as presented by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

• Scary Fact #1: Nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.

• Scary Fact #2: More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members.

• Scary Fact #3: More than 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members.

• Scary Fact #4: 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know or a slight acquaintance who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.

• Scary Fact #5: 76.2 percent of abducted children who are murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction.

So, we can either parent up and keep our children safe. Or, we can be cool and be liked. But the bottom-line is we can’t have it both ways. And, personally, I am willing to have a few uncomfortable moments and a few hurt feeling in my house in order to keep my three kids safe!

The Seven Basic Teachings of Physical Safety

1) ADULTS DON’T NEED HELP FROM KIDS. ADULTS SHOULD ASK ADULTS FOR HELP. This should be implanted in our children’s minds. We teach our kids to be kind and respectful. So, when we tell our kids to stay away from a car even when someone is asking them for directions, it is almost a contradiction. Have your child shout back to the adult in the car that they will go in the house and ask a parent to come out to give the directions.

2) Your kids should never take a gift from a stranger, no matter how much they may want it. Teach your kids to ignore the person and walk away.

3) As a parent know exactly who will be at your child’s friends house during a play date. If you are uncertain about anyone of the people – simply do not allow your child to go. Will your child be upset? Yes. Will they get over it? Absolutely!

4) Ask if there are guns in the home that your child may be visiting. If so, ask where they are kept.

5) If you child gets lost in a mall – have them go to a police officer first. If they can’t find one, have them go to a mom with a baby to ask for help.

6) Talk to your kids about the safe people in their lives. Make sure there is a neighbor they can trust to go to if they are outside and need to run to a safe place.

7) Kids should know to trust their instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong.

The Seven Basic Teachings of Cyber Safety

1) Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.

2) Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.

3) Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, and make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.

4) Surf the Internet with your children and let them show YOU what they like to do online.

5) Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.

6) Friend your child on Facebook. Let them know that you can see exactly what they are saying and how they are behaving on-line.

7) Continually talk with your children about online safety.

Parents, I know you know these things. But, there is a real difference between knowing and doing. It’s time to start walking the walk today. Your child’s life depends on it!

Author's Bio: 

MaryEllen Tribby is the Founder and CEO of WorkingMomsOnly.com and MaryEllenTribby.com. Her mission is to supply the tools that can give EVERY working mom the ability to lead a healthy, wealthy, and more balanced/blended lifestyle. She is a highly sought-after business consultant, speaker, and author. Her first book - which she co-authored with Michael Masterson, is Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions For Your Business (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470538805/). Her second book, Reinventing the Entrepreneur: Turning Your Dream Business into a Reality (http://www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Entrepreneur-Turning-Business-Reality/...) hit #1 on Amazon in the Marketing Category and #9 in the Entrepreneurship Category only hours after its release. Join her on the magnificent journey to lead the life you have always dreamed of, the life you and your family deserve. Sign up for a FREE subscription at http://workingmomsonly.com.