Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paranoid or Prudent?

At the Roller Derby my brother, niece and I got into a conversation about how different parenting is than it was even just 20 years ago.

When my siblings and I were kids (40 years ago) we would leave the house first thing in the morning and be out with our friends until the street lights came on, our parent’s had no idea where we were, other than with friends.  We’d hop on our bikes (without helmets) and ride for miles, one time a bunch of us made the 20 mile round trip between Lexington and Concord.

My niece said that even just 20 years ago, when she was a kid, she had more freedom than she feels comfortable giving her kids.

So, this headline on the front page of the paper today startled me a little bit:

An app for walking to school?  Our “app” was mom’s foot on our butt kicking us out the front door.  (Ok, mom never really kicked us out the door, but at least as far as I know, she never followed us to make sure we made it to school.)

So my question is:  Is the world really that much more dangerous that it used to be, are we just more aware of the things that can happen or are we just living in a culture of paranoia?

Now, I’m not trying to belittle parental concerns, during our conversation at the roller derby  my nephew-in-law explained why he wants his son to wear a helmet whenever riding his bike, and I understand his concerns.  And I would be amazed if any parent these days would let their child ride un-seatbelted in way-back of a station wagon with a bunch of unsecured camping equipment. 

I just wonder if some of the concerns are a little unfounded, and take away a bit of kids being kids.


Lisa Shafer said...

Also, there's the irony that the same generation of parents who helmet their kids for everything and walk them to school and have GPS devices to know their every move is the same generation of parents wherein so many of them reject vaccinations for their kids. The parents of our generation taught us that bicycles could be tricky and assumed that if we acted stupid on our bikes and got hurt, we'd learn the hard way, but they remembered people who'd had polio and measles, and WE WERE VACCINATED. period.
I find it bizarre that folks who want an Amber alert over the fact that their kid left his cell phone off and got home 15 minutes late are the same parents who leave the same kid exposed to killer diseases.

But yes, I agree that people are incredibly paranoid about things nowadays. People who smash in car windows to save a dog (uh, you couldn't just go into the store and have them use the PA system?) or a freakin' DOLL (this happened the other day. Apparently, everyone was so freaked out about the baby in the car seat that no one notice its eyes were painted on until after they'd smashed the car window out to rescue it) are paranoid. Seriously.

Karen S. said...

I do agree mostly with you on this. We lived much more dangerously and we learned so much by falling down, and getting back up again. But on the other hand there are some really serious (bad dudes) around much more so than in our days, I think. Look how many nasty drivers are on the roadways these days. Many are out for blood! But as far as helmets, which I never ever wore, maybe because we lived such a raw, free lifestyle out there, our head were tougher when we fell?!

Max Sartin said...

Karen - On the harder head train of thought, I honestly think that all this anti-bacterial everything is producing kids with immune systems that are a lot weaker than our generation. My sibs and I played in the dirt, shared drinks and food and when we did get sick our immune system was allowed to do the work of curing us. Which I think is why I have used only about 25% of my sick days in my 21 years of teaching.