Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Because I'm A Big, Fat Chicken Who Hates Confrontation.....

I'd like to address this post to all the parents of young children at Church:

On our way home from the Ward Labor Day Picnic yesterday, my 12 year old daughter Stef told us of a most disturbing conversation she overheard while sitting on a bench close to the fishing pond. It was a gruesome topic being discussed amongst 4 girls aged 7-8, who treated it as though it were nothing more than a sunshine happy piece of fluff--like something akin to talking about the newest Littlest Pet Shop character to hit the market.

I'm referring to The Choking Game which provides oxygen-deprivation "thrills" which so often has turned unexpectedly deadly and tragic.

Stef said that one of the girls turned to her friend and giggled while saying, "I'll tie you to the tree and choke you with a rope first. It'll be fun!"

The conversation continued on about playing choking games until a freaked-out Stef strolled a little closer towards them and they skittered away on their bikes and scooters.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I am totally and completely shocked and horrified at this. My stomach kept turning flip-flops when Stef told us what happened........mostly because I don't know what to do with the information I have. At this age, could they even understand the ramifications of such a thing? Chances are they heard about The Choking Game from someone at school or an older sibling, but in their innocence they didn't quite grasp the meaning of it all.

Papi thinks we should drop it and that it's the parent's responsibility to figure out what disturbing things their kids are up to. I'm not so sure. Personally, I'd like to be kept apprised of things my minor children are doing while out of my line of vision.

The Bishopric addressed The Choking Game issue not too long ago, but it was aimed towards the Young Men and Young Women program. I'm positive that the majority of Ward parents would never expect this kind of dialogue from the lower elementary set.

Just know that if this is springing up here, amidst a group of relatively wholesome families, then it can strike anywhere. I may have to pull out my old standby emergency anonymous e-mail and let the Ward leaders know that this is going on.

41 comments:

Thorny Tree Lady said...

I'm with you..."I'd like to be kept apprised of things my minor children are doing while out of my line of vision." The annonymous e-mail to the leaders may be the second thing I'd do, but the first is to call the parents and let them know. If it were your child who was involved, wouldn't you want to know? Isn't it our responsibility as parents to Parent our children, not wait for the Church Leaders to address it in a meeting a few weeks later? This version of the choking game is much more brutal than I've ever heard. And the age of those discussing it is MUCH younger than I've ever been aware of. You're right...they may be too young to understand the ramifications of their "game." Wouldn't it be tragic for them to discover what those are if one of their friends had to die to teach them.

Annie said...

Anonymous e-mail is the chicken way out. And you are anything but a chicken.

Just call up the kid's parents and say, "Hey, my daughter heard your kids talking about the choking game and offering to try it on other kids. Thought you might like to know. Bye."

That's it. Straight forward. Let me know who it goes.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I knew I could count on bloggy support and encouragement to do the right thing here.

Now to just grow a big enough pair of stones to make those calls. You both are right. I would definitely want to know if my kids were even contemplating or joking about something as grave as this.

wynne said...

I don't get it. How is choking fun? I guess my child is still on the young side for this to have registered on my radar yet (but please do alert me if your daughter overhears any of the preschool set talking about strangling each other for kicks 'n' giggles).

Yeah, tell the parents. They'll be better informed than I am, right? They'll know what the choking game is?

Stephanie and Co. said...

Good luck on making those calls; I would definitely rather hear it from you beforehand than from emergency personnel afterward.
What a crazy world we live in.

jams o donnell said...

Bloody hell EWBL. When did asphyxiation become a kids game? You're probably right in it being a hand me down from older brothers but still... It needs to be addressed and the sooner something is done to dissuade them the less the chance of a kid dying in what they thought was an innocent game.

I say do what you need to to highlight this

123checkoutthefamily said...

Holy cow...where do kids come up with these things? It's so crazy!

I'm with you...I'd want to know about something like that. I wouldn't be offended if another parent let me know...I would be thankful. I know everyone is different but that's me.

By the way, I know I've told you before but you have such good kids. They're so sweet and polite. I got to say hello to a few of them yesterday. I still think homeschooled children are some of the most polite. Good job!!! :)

JustRandi said...

A 6th grader in our neighborhood died last year playing this game.

I definitely vote for the phone call asap.
Let us know how it goes!

Amber said...

This kind of stuff SERIOUSLY gives me hives. And freaks me out for when my kids get older. Makes me almost wish they could stay little forever. Well, minus all the crappy diapers.

J-Mom said...

I'm shocked and feel like I have been living too unaware. (and I didn't think I was that unaware) I didn't even know such a "game" or problem existed. Seeing I'm an unaware parent, I would much prefer someone coming and telling me my kids had even been discussing this, than any other situation.

Suburban Hippie said...

I didn't even think about talking to my kids about this. Scary!

For sure call the parents about it. I know how you feel dreading it though; we had a male babysitter last December who looked at porn on our computer and it took me a coupe of weeks to muster up the courage to call his mom... that was uncomfortable.

Rhonda said...

This is the kind of stuff that scares that crap out of me and makes me wish my girls could stay infants forever.

I agree that you need to say something to someone. It would suck to hear it as a parent, but I would absolutely want to know.

Melissa said...

Yikes! We've talked with Red about this before... he came home in 2nd grade talking about it. Maybe we need to review why depriving your brain from oxygen for any moment of time is a bad thing... sigh.
I would want to know. If he was chatting about it like that... I would REALLY want to know. And if you're afraid of how the parents will react, then the anon email will work!!

aubrey said...

holy moses. i remember playing that game when i was younger, probably 12 or 13. stupid, stupid game. i saw anonymous email all the way. nothing wrong with that!

Heffalump said...

Better to tell on those kids. What if one of them tried it and died from it and you had never said anything? Make the calls ASAP.
You can be brave. I'll mail you some rocks if you make the call, but you shouldn't wait for them to come in the mail before you call, just do it now.

NOBODY said...

I would absolutely want that information given to me if it were my child involved. And I would be appreciative. I think you need to do it. And besides, you aren't the chicken. Millie is.

Hey It's Di said...

I have heard about this game and the tragic outcomes it can and has had. I think that the parents would be so grateful to hear it directly if you know who they are. I know that I would want the info. & know that it's my girl(s) involved rather than think this letter/email is for somebody else.
Good luck!! If they don't take it well from you, they are morons who are in denial and are destined for tragedy.

No Cool Story said...

Everyone else said it. You know Annie and Wynne are right. No need to be all anonymous and stuff, this is not a confrontation, if you were the parent, you'd want to know :) You'd be thankful someone heard the girls talking.

Best of luck to you my Elsatic friend :D

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I'm a crappy blogger lately. I just don't feel the "magic" anymore. I'm trying to handle homeschooling stuff with my kids while still working. I'm somewhere between needing a lifetime supply of NoDoz and needing a padded jacket in a padded room with a padded pad of paper....with a pad design on it. :)

THANK YOU ALL for clearing my addled brain on this matter. Of course going to the parents is the right thing to do even if I loathe the thought of actually doing it. It'll have to wait until I'm done with work. By then I should have concocted the perfect and most magical words to make this all go down like a spoonful of sugar. Right.

Hilary said...

I too can remember doing this when I was about 13. Not by choking but by hyperventilating and passing out. Why? I don't know. Kids do dumb things. Had I known the risks, I doubt I'd have had the guts to do it. My mother would have freaked out and that would have been the end of that. Now on the other end of things, I'd want to know if my kids were doing that, pronto. The risks are too high, especially the choking aspect. I say speak to the parents. And if you do, let us know how it goes. We're behind ya! :)

Hilary said...

AND.. a great big hug to Stef for knowing it was the right thing to tell YOU. You raised a smart one.

nikko said...

How scary. I would definitely want to know if it were my kiddos, or even friends of my kids.

Elizabeth-W said...

Let's say you don't tell. Let's say one of the kids dies next month. Then are ya gonna wish you'd told? Yep.
I'd wanna know.

Millie said...

I would be really mad at a parent who didn't tell me my kid was talking about something so disturbing and sick.

Think about THAT, chicken. :)

Millie said...

Oh good, you grew a pair :)

Let us know how it goes, will ya? And what magical words worked on these parents? Just in case we ever have this problem in our wards.

Tori :) said...

I'd want to know if it was my kiddos. Their parents need to talk to them about how dangerous that can be. I talked to my kids the other day about huffing because it's one of those things you don't think they know about and then BAM! they're huffing scotch guard in their bedroom.
I played the choking game at cheerleading camp. We never, in a million years, thought to use a ROPE! Holy crap.
Yes- write the email. Do whatever you need to do to keep these kids safe. Because if something does happen...

Tori :) said...

Actually- don't write an email. CALL the parents. You can do it!!

BIG RICH said...

You've got the gift girl ! Keep on BLOGGIN.

carronin said...

7 yr. old with a rope is never a good idea. The choking game is scary. I know you will do the right thing. You have a gift for words I know you will say the right things.

Jay said...

Heavens above - I am out of touch!! I've never heard of this 'game' either... maybe it hasn't made it to this side of The Pond? Or maybe it's just that my kids are all grown up.

Do it. Make the calls. Do it by email if you need to but let everyone know! Personally, I'd be contacting the local schools too, because chances are the kids there are doing it too.

Sheesh .. where do these things come from?

Nancy Face said...

I don't know how I'm so in the dark about this, but I have never heard of the choking game! I'm grateful that you brought it to my attention so that I can discuss it with my son.

I know what you mean about it being difficult to tell the parents directly, but if someone knew something about my kid, I would ALWAYS want to know. That's right...ALWAYS.

Lisa said...

I agree with telling the parents because they were actually offering to do it. Then I would mention it to the Bishopric to address it AGAIN to everyone. If they know it is a problem with the older kids, they need to know it is trickling down.

Junior High I watched my friends do this. I couldn't. Kids have no clue.

I have actually talked about this with my girls and now I will talk about it again.

Jean Knee said...

the yellow submarine has a job to do

Physcokity said...

Highly disturbing...I think I'll go throw up now...

Physcokity said...

OK I'm back... This horrifies me as well, and I don't even have kids! I'd say satan is VERY hard at work.

Physcokity said...

It's true. While the initial reaction might be the deterrant from you making the calls or resorting to the anony email, after they get over it, they'll be thankful later, and they can't claim no one told them either...

Yvonne said...

Definitely tell them--call them. I don't know a parent who wouldn't want to know.

Bee said...

::shiver:: The world kids are growing up in scares me. I'd tell them. You'd want to know right? I know I would.

Jill said...

As a parent, I would want to know if my kids were talking about this.
Let us know what happened.

The Motherboard said...

A young child died in my neighborhood from this game as well.

It's scary stuff! Tell the Parents... of all the girls!

Goodluck!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

UPDATE:Papi convinced me not to call the parents mainly because the version of events coming from me would be second-hand information. He said since I wasn't actually there and present to witness what was going on that it would be a matter better left to the Bishop to handle it since he has more authority. Naturally, most people will have a different reaction to being told of something vitally important regarding their child from the Bishop rather than just another mom from the Ward.

As luck would have it, the Bishop called to wish my Papi a Happy Birthday and I got the opportunity to just briefly tell him what happened. He's concerned and plans on immediate action.