Friday, May 15, 2009
Protecting them or Stunting them?
What do you think about the Mom who let her 9-year-old son ride the NYC subway alone? At first glance, it sounds unthinkable. But I've read three different articles about it, including one by the mom, and I must say I'm torn. Are we overly concerned with safety? Are we robbing our kids of what should be normal experiences due to trumped up fear created by our media?
Perhaps we Americans are so freaking scared of the random that we surround our kids with bizarre safety devices thinking that will keep the evil at bay. And we all know those crazy parents who won't let their kids touch dirt without a complete hose-down with bleach, and we shake our heads.
We shouldn't be idiots - I'm not advocating sending Junior over to Hannibel Lector's daycare center or letting Suzie snack from the change jar. But have we truly gone too far?
During my days in Social Work, I had many clients with horrendous brain injury - from motorcycles and one from a tragic game of teenage touch football that left him a quadriplegic. And don't all us parents go weak in the knees when we hear of another child abduction? Don't we all project the faces of our beloveds on the news of the child killed in a farming accident, a tornado, a drowning.
One of our local grocery stores has boxes of hand sanitizer right up at the check-out. Our schools have asked that ANY child with "flu-like symptoms" stay home for a full seven days, even if they are better. Our kids aren't allowed to play on snow hills surrounding the playground because 20 years ago a child died of a head injury there. Our school nurse must crush up cough drops so kids won't choke. People will have a loaded gun in the house, which is HIGHLY LIKELY to hurt someone in the family, in defense against the spectre of an intruder that is statistically never going to show up.
Yet . . . we still haul them around in buses with no seat belts. We still feed them toxic lunch food.
But where does common sense stop and hysteria begin? I have no answers. I'm just as hysterical as the next parent, really.
Posted by Mnmom