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Are you a paranoid parent?

Worry seems to be a natural part of being a parent, something that’s unknowingly injected as you hold your child for the first time.

But has our society started to get to a point where parental paranoia is getting out of control?

Is society trying to push us into being overly protective of our children to an extent that damages our confidence in our own parenting decisions and risks leaving our children unable to manage in the real world?

I have actively tried to not hover too closely over my girls, to let them fall down steps, to discover that walking into walls causes bumps and to watch from a distance letting them learn things themselves (but always close enough to jump in and help, to field or to kiss better).

I try and give them the freedom to play without my interference, to wander away from my direct view and to be comfortable on their own.

And its not easy.  I have to compress feelings of worry, concern and a desire to interfere (especially when they are rolling about in mud… sigh…) but I do it because I think that free range children are happier, better children.

I also don’t subscribe to the view that there is a paedophile behind every bush.  I know the Daily Mail would prefer us to subscribe to this school of thought but the stats don’t bear it out and we’re depriving our children of the chance to go off and explore on their own just in case.  There’s a difference between just letting them disappear off on their own and keeping an eye on whilst doing things I enjoy like chatting with friends.  But mine are still very small – I’m hoping that as they grow, my ability to trust them and to educate them in safety grows as they do.

So, am I in a minority of one or are there others out there you are happy to let their children free range?

Or do you also believe that balloons are dangerous… as someone pointed out to me recently a child *could* strangle themself with one….

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10 comments to Are you a paranoid parent?

  • PantsWithNames

    >You're not alone in this. I try to let my children discover things on their own, wander off to explore and let them have more rein as they get older.

    Try reading the Idle Parent, can't recommend it enough and they thoroughly support free range kids! x

  • Kerry

    >I would hope that I am a more free range parent, well I try to be. Baba is so small at the moment, but I am one for watching from a distance and do believe he has to learn himself. So walking into things etc he has done, as he wont be told!

    I have parent in laws that do all the worrying for me. So I try to be as different to them as possible.
    xx

  • JulieB

    >My mother was always very much a paranoid parent and I remember that as I got older it used to irritate me enormously. It was always a bit of a source of conflict between her and my father, and I see them acting similarly around my children (their only grandchildren) now. It has had a slightly contradictory effect on me – on the one hand I am probably very aware of what my mother would say (the dangers) and on the other hand I am conscious that I don't want to be like that!

  • TheMadHouse

    >I am pretty free range with my parenting, but it has been hard to do and I make a real effort to be a little more relaxed about it all.

  • Livi

    >Has there honestly, ever, been an incident in which a child has strangled themselves with a balloon???
    A piano *could* fall from the sky and kill me tomorrow but I'm not going to hide in the house to avoid that!
    Free range kids all the way!

  • Coding Mamma (Tasha)

    >I tend more toward the free-range, but Chris less so. I think we meet somewhere in the middle. Then again, there are areas where I am overly paranoid – water, for example, so Chris does the swimming and the boat trips. I incline toward allowing Rosemary to jump around the living room and climb the furniture and so on – probably because I got to do that as a child. Chris is constantly telling her to stop climbing/jumping on the furniture – probably because that was what he was told as a child.

    We're both quite laid back about 'stranger danger' and get quite annoyed when they've covered the topic at pre-school and Rosemary's ended up running away from people, instead of smiling and saying hello and chatting to them.

  • Luschka

    >I think it depends so much on so many things. And location is one of those things. I'm in 'the country' today and let my 10 month old toddle around and fall over and pick things up off the ground and play with them. In London zone 2, I'm slightly more carefull. I don't know what she's picking up or how many hundreds of people have passed their germs on to it, and there are so many more people, so I keep her very close.

    Funilly, we always thought I was going to be the uber freaked out one and DH more lax, but as it's turned out, I let her walk, run, fall, climb and test her boudaries way more than he does.

    Another thing is age. Even though she is walking and runs at quite a remarkable speed, she is only 10 months old and I can't let her be totally free range. I guess it will change with age. Hers and mine!

    Also depends on demographics. Little girls are a lot safer in England than in South Africa, for example. How much I hover depends on where we are.

    But it's about common sense, I think, and not living in fear. The stats show that to be unnecessary, but I guess that would be hard for the mother of a victim to accept?

  • zooarchaeologist

    >Free range parenting, i'm a master at this one. I think its good to let them have a bit of life experience. However, I would say I am a lot more free-range friendly now I have two to worry about and the second is allowed to do a lot more than I would ever have allowed the first to do at that age.
    I thought the issue with balloons was that they could choke on them if they burst and they swallowed them, shows how much I know…

  • marketingtomilk

    >OH we're most definitely talking the same language. I have written on this subject, and have also specifically targeted the Daily Shame for trying to make us live in fear. Protect your children, but don't suffocate them.
    http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/how-much-is-too-much/

    M2Mx

  • angelsandurchinsblog

    >It's such a balancing act, isn't it? While you want to cut the apron strings, it can be all too easy to persuade yourself that they can barely make it down the stairs by themselves, let alone to walk ten doors down the street by themselves to play with a friend. My oldest is five, so I convince myself that he's too young to be allowed out on his own, while knowing that at the same age I was racing around our garden on Dartmoor, climbing trees and chasing chickens into ditches. I'm definitely paranoid, wish I wasn't, and hope I'll chill out a bit as the children get older. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

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