DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter works in a shopping mall that recently had a shooting. We were so lucky that she was not at work on that day, but now my husband and I are wondering if we should even allow her to work at the mall anymore. We know we cannot protect her from everything, but this was a close call. It's one thing to see these things on the news and another altogether to have your own child working at a place where innocent people were shot. She is our baby, even though she's already 20. How can we balance our desire to protect her and the reality that she has to learn to take care of herself? -- Overprotective, Baltimore
DEAR OVERPROTECTIVE: You would not be aware parents if the tragedy at your daughter's work site didn't rattle you. Everyone in the mall or affiliated with it should be a bit skittish right now.
That said, I don't think you should take her out of the mall either. Instead, start by requesting a meeting with the mall management or security to find out what additional precautions have been put in place to attempt to avoid such a catastrophe in the future. Make sure your daughter has learned what the safety procedures are in case of emergency at her job and in the mall in general.
Remind your daughter to keep her eyes open at all times and to be aware of anyone who may seem unstable. This should be part of the training for anyone in a service role in a public setting these days. If it is not, request that it be offered.
In the end, though, you already know that the world does have some people in it who do bad things. Unfortunately, innocent people sometimes get caught in the crosshairs. You do not have the ability to protect your child from everything, but you can teach her to be cautious.