Fear Parenting

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The photo above is a pic I took when we first moved into our house 5 years ago. One of the reasons we chose this house is for the huge yard it provided.. Ok, maybe not huge by some standards, but in our area it’s pretty spacious. Even better: Our yard, other than the driveway, is completely wrapped around by a rock wall. It’s a magical wall, that has been known to keep monsters from entering our yard so little girls can sleep at night without worrying about such things.

 Even though the temperatures as of late have been in the 30’s at best, both my kids have been spending their after school hours riding their bikes up and down the driveway. I love the excitement they have for being kids and doing kid things! And now that they are 5 and 8 they are enjoying the freedom of being out there on their own. I can imagine how liberating that must be for them, who constantly have adults micromanaging so much of their days/ choices. This is their safety space… 

Yesterday afternoon I was at the bus stop. Our neighbor came over. Oooo hello neighbor how are you today :). She’s a really nice woman, means well, but we have differing parenting styles as seen in my last post here. She’s originally from New York, a big city gal. Living in the suburbs is a big difference I’m sure.

She commented that she saw my daughter by the rocks on the edge of the road as shown in the picture above. I’ve seen my kids climb them. My daughter will occasionally climb up and sit there and watch the cars drive by. The neighbor said Loreli waved to her as she drove off to go to work..

I was thinking “Awww that’s cute”…since my daughter has always been a bit shy. 

Well… that was not where my neighbor was going with this shared moment with my daughter. 

“I was worried about her.” Was my neighbors next comment. 

Well the rocks aren’t cemented down.. they do shift.. She could fall and hurt herself…. which would suck….. 

I was wrong again where I thought she was leading the conversation..

“I was concerned because she was outside by herself. Someone could have come up and snatched her.”

I was polite, and responded that my daughter is well instructed in what to do when it comes to personal safety. Before they go out I always ask a questions.. For instance, “If a car slows down near our house, what do you do?” <~ The answer being run into the house to let me know. Which has actually happened a few times, for completely non kidnapping related reasons. They go over safety at karate routinely. My children are very well behaved and have never given me a reason to not trust them being out there on their own. Plus.. I can see them perfectly well from the house…. It’s not like I hop in the shower and tune out their antics.. I know what’s going on…

That led to me being informed on how easy it is for children to be kidnapped… How serious I should be taking this… 

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So.. What is up with this whole style of “fear parenting” that seems to be the craze? I have no better way of describing it.. I recently read a long thread on a friend’s facebook about some mom that fell asleep at the park and some other mother let her sleep and tended her kid for awhile.. God forbid even gave the child a drink. And all the mothers were in an uproar because the other mother didn’t wake up the mom.. she was a STRANGER taking care of the child.. <~ I’m reading this all by my lonesome thinking “ummmm so we’re not going to talk about the fact the mother fell asleep when she was in a public place with her kid? oook”

Let’s be realistic here.

Most people in this world ARE GOOD… 

Some are BAD. 

The National Institute for Missing and Exploited Children report that:

  • An estimated 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These “stereotypical” kidnappings involved someone the child did not know or was an acquaintance. The child was held overnight, transported 50 miles or more, killed, ransomed or held with the intent to keep the child permanently.

HOWEVER:

  • More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members.

Now, their key facts seriously need updating, as these figures come from 1999. Every website I’ve found for statistics seems to still use these figures.. So I suppose not much has changed when it comes these kind of things… 

My point: Instead of teaching children that all strangers are bad. Let’s teach them the critical thinking skills necessary for differentiating between good and bad people.. As shown in the statistics, caution needs to be shown equally with people who aren’t strangers. I feel like labeling all strangers as bad makes children assume that all people they know are good.. and that makes it even easier for people they do know to victimize them..

 

Quit the fear parenting.. let kids be kids and give them the freedom to be in the world when they’ve shown they can handle it…. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Fear Parenting

  1. *raises hand and squirms in her seat* I KNOW THIS ONE!! I KNOW THIS ONE!! So, the two boys that were in my care until December had spent the previous five years so with my mother, who loves her some fear parenting. (She was raised in a rural area in the 1950’s so…I’m sure the world looks like a big, scary place now v. then.) I can’t speak too objectively about the effects of her parenting on myself, but I can tell you what I observed from the boys, who both had two different reactions to it and neither of them something that I would choose for my own kids…

    The oldest, C, tested her theories that something horrible would happen if he did certain things (like going to park by himself). When nothing bad happened the first, second, etc. times, he decided that there was no validity to her claims that the boogie man lurked around every corner and started making riskier and riskier choices in other areas because chicken little was wrong and must be wrong about everything.

    The younger of the two, M, whole hog bought into her fear tactics to an extreme degree. He won’t swim in the ocean – SHARKS! He doesn’t want to be too close to any body of fresh water – GATORS! He doesn’t willing go into tall buildings – TERRORISTS! Outside after dark – SERIAL KILLERS! I mean, it was seriously insane and there was no talking him out of it. He missed out on a lot of simple joys of childhood because he was a mini fear monger. My heart still breaks for him.

    Either way, nothing good came of it. They both would have been better off if she just would have relaxed and let them play.

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