Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who Knew?

Wow I have to say I'm shocked at how over protective some parents are.

I got into a heated argument about.... Ready for it?!... Lemonade stands. Yes you read that right. I mean I live in a small town so it's really not that big of a deal but even moms in big cities said their kids could do it in the front yard of their house. We heard all about how horrible we are and how our kids are going to be abducted by strangers, yeah right.

Really stranger abductions account for a TINY portion of all abductions and even abductions are a miscule worry in the grand scheme of things. (approx 58,000 kids are abducted each year, which sounds like a lot but not when you think about the fact that there are THREE HUNDRED MILLION people in the USA.).

I've been there done that. When I was 6 I was almost abducted on my way home from the school bus stop. We (another girl and I) had to get off the bus and walk two blocks home, and one of those blocks was a huge park. Well a guy stopped his car and came up to us and offered us candy. We dropped our bags, screamed bloody murder and ran home. My dad was a cop at the time and I remember the officers coming to the house.

You know why it wasn't that traumatizing to me? Because I knew what to do in the situation. I completely believe in teaching Gabe to be cautious but I do not want him afraid of his own shadow. I don't want him to think that all strangers are bad. I mean how can I grocery shop if I can't talk to a stranger, or approach someone in BRU in the carseat aisle if I can't talk to a stranger.

Long story short, Yes I will let my son have a lemonade stand when I'm home, yes I will let him walk to school without an adult at some point, heck I'll even let him drive a car.

I can not and will not protect my child from EVERYTHING. There is a fine line between being a cautious contentious parent and being overprotective. I'm pretty laid back and I suppose for some people I'm probably too laid back. I don't let Gabe play with the stove but I do let him poke bugs with a stick. I hold his hand crossing the street but I'll let him jump on a trampoline. Heck I'll probably let him get his ears pierced or dye his hair too (shocking I know!). There are just WAY bigger things to deal with than whether the 1 in a zillion chance that someone might abduct Gabe from my front yard is a possibility.
In the very wise words of Dory the fish-

Marlin: I promised I'd never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Hmm. That's a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory: Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

So pick your battles. Know what's REALLY a danger and what is something you project on to your kids to be a danger and choose wisely. No one wants to go through life scared. I hope someday Gabe will try things that are a little bit scary and find out that a lot of them will be fun too, otherwise we'd never climb on the monkey bars.


  1. Great post Mel! I LOVE it when you get on your soapbox ;-)

  2. How can they test their wings and learn to make their own decisions if they are attached to your hip?

    I've always let my kids have a little space. The older they get, the more space they get. When they show me they can make good decisions, then they get a bit more freedom.

    The best thing I ever did for my oldest was send him to my Mom in The Netherlands for the summer (she lives and works there) at 14. While she worked all day he explored the city with a map I'd asked my Mom's coworkers to highlight with the places that were off limits to him.

    He came home self-assured and confident, feeling as if he could handle anything. And he can!

  3. So very true! I hope to allow my son the freedom to make his own mistakes and learn from them.