Help Needed: A Mom Can’t Get Predators Out of Her Mind

Hi Folks! I don’t think this mom is the only one out there with this issue. – L. 
.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’m writing to you in the hope of some Free-Range Kids help.  Help in what way, I don’t know. Some words of wisdom?
.
You see I’m starting to doubt my free range kids thinking.  I think I’m starting to give in to the media’s portrayal of an unsafe world out there for our kids.
.
Even as I write that I don’t really believe that.  I don’t want to believe it.
.
But I’ve just read 2 (more) dreadful stories of 2 kids who were viciously attacked. One was attacked as he was playing outdoors and the other was while she was walking home from school after travelling on the school bus by herself.
.
I try not to listen to, or read the news.  I tell myself that I know it’s a horrific thing that has happened but it’s not happening all the time, everywhere.
.
For me it’s particularly hard when it’s news stories about kids who are just being kids – playing in the neighborhood or being independent and travelling home from school by themselves.
.
I have even started to doubt the type of work I do.  I work with parents and school communities to encourage their kids to walk or cycle to school instead of being driven everywhere.  I promote children’s independence and a safe and connected community.
.
But now it seems that story after story, month after month, the media is wearing me down.  I’ve got a little girl heading into primary school next year. And today all I can think about is how I’m going to make sure she is dropped off and picked up from school every day until she is 18 years old! I don’t want to be that parent.  I’m not that parent!
.
It breaks my heart to think these parents were probably doing what anyone of us would do.  Letting their kids have free range to play in the neighborhood or walk home by themselves.
.
What do you think?  What do I do? How do I process this without closing the door on a Free-Range lifestyle for my child?
.
Tara.
.
Hi Tara — Lenore here: My advice is simple. It’s to replace the “What if?” s with reality. And the only way to do that is by taking action.
.
Your child is too young to do a whole lot by herself, but she can do some things. Maybe play outside on the lawn with a friend, or head a couple of houses over to knock on a pal’s door for a playdate. In other times and eras, kids would start going to the local bakery at age 3 and proudly head home with that day’s loaf of bread. Even today there is a special fare on public transit in Japan for kids traveling solo UNDER age 6. I mention these because in OUR society the only time we hear about kids doing anything on their own is when they end up horrifically harmed. It really skews the picture.
.
But the more that you see how happy and confident your child can be in the real world, the less that world looks monstrous and the more it looks marvelous. Inside our heads — mine, too – terrible things can always materialize, especially when fertilized by our fear-sowing society. Simply reading about the odds, which are astronomically in our children’s favor, doesn’t seem to do the trick. So if you can push yourself to let your child be part of these extraordinary times, you and she will reap the benefit. – L.

Sorry, comments and trackbacks have now been closed.