Sunday, April 27, 2008

In The News

So, there is this story in Newsweek about a woman from New York City who let her 9 year old son ride the subway home, alone.

The woman is a writer, and she wrote about the experience in her column. She was TOTALLY unprepared for the wave of critism she recieved for allowing him to do it.

She also got quite a bit of support from people who think that parents are TOO over protective and that we need to give our kids a little more freedom.

It seems like we all have this conversation periodically about what life was like when we were young and how different it is now...When I was 10, I used to walk my little brother home from school and take care of him until my parents got home.

During the summers, I could ride my bike all over and generally spend hours away from home (without the ubiquitous cell phone for my parents to keep tabs on me). I even used to ride the bus from my house to the beach and back.

I have been thinking that this world that we are raising our children in is SO much different than when we were kids...but is it really?

The Newsweek article says:

Nationwide, stranger abductions are extremely rare; there's a one-in-a-million chance a child will be taken by a stranger, according to the Justice Department.

90 percent of sexual abuse cases are committed by someone the child knows.

Mortality rates from all causes, including disease and accidents, for American children are lower now than they were 25 years ago.
So again, it makes we wonder. Is it really more dangerous? Or are we just more paranoid?

In a world of 24 hours news, that's a lot of air time to fill... and it seems like they choose to fill it with the horrible...and I am not saying that bad things don't happen, and wouldn't it be awful is it was your child that the bad thing happened to...

BUT is it worth putting our children in a bubble in order to make sure that NOTHING bad ever happens?

I think the reality is that bad stuff is going to happen. And the best way to help our children isn't to make sure that they NEVER experience these things, but that they are prepared and confident enough to deal with it.

The woman in the article started a blog called Free Range Kids to dicuss these topics, and one of the comments made was about priorities. "My #1 job is NOT to keep my children “safe” (whatever that means). My #1 job is to prepare my children to be happy, healthy, contributing members of our society. This means that I will always choose “training for life, with some risk” as ok, whereas [others] will choose “keep them safe, even if they miss a life lesson.”

I think I want that too. I mean, I DO want my children to be safe (and I would ALWAYS choose that NOTHING bad EVER happen), but I also want them to have freedom and the opportunity to fall down and pick themselves up again. I guess the bottom line is, I need to find the balance between letting them live their lives and being TOO over protective.


Hilary said...

Interesitng topic.... I agree that we are too operprotective... it's a fine, fine line...

Melanie said...

Loved this post! I've bookmarked her blog.

Shelby said...

You need to come give a talking-to to a friend of mine, who still calls home while out on a date with her husband to have her 12 year old daughter check her twin brother to see if he choked on the hot dog he ate for dinner.
I'm probably a bit too permissive in this regard.

If you want to start a real hullabaloo, ask for responses about leaving your sleeping baby in the car to run into 7-11 or leaving a young child alone in front of a movie for 5 minutes while you pick up a babysitter (I've done the former, not the latter).

lbugsh2 said...

Well let me know if you figure out how to do this. Scott will tell you I am the paranoid parent. I am overprotective.

Tamee said...

I dont' know how you keep up on so much, girl. Interesting to hear though.

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