Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Over-Protectiveness

I am super-paranoid mother and yet long to give J the same freedom to explore the world as I had enjoyed in my time. That said, I can completely relate to the motivations of this mother who let her nine year old ride the subway alone. I agree with her when she says :

The problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself. A child who thinks he can’t do anything on his own eventually can’t.

Even so, I would find it very difficult if not impossible to let J out of sight any time soon. Somehow logic and reason fail me when it comes to making that decision. No number of statistics would convince me that it might be okay to let her wander by herself. I will still prefer to err on the side of caution - even at the risk of becoming the dreaded helicopter mom. To my credit, I restrict the hovering to the playground and mostly stay out of her way.

The world just does not feel as safe as it once did or maybe bad news is reported more extensively now than it was in the 70s and 80s. What we did not know, did not hurt us. Unfortunately, for Ms Skenazy what might have been perfectly natural behavior for a parent back then will be viewed with alarm by many today as she has seen. She notes quite rightly :

Meantime, my son wants his next trip to be from Queens. In my day, I doubt that would have struck anyone as particularly brave. Now it seems like hitchhiking through Yemen.

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