“How Do I Deal with The Fear My Son will be Snatched?”

Readers —  The fear of kidnapping is so huge, it is overwhelming a lot of parents. How can they possibly put it in perspective? Here’s some help — from you! Both comments appeared on the post below this one, about a mom who lets her son ride his bike around town:

…I’d  like to know how deal with the worry of something happening on the way to and from these activities? I honestly think it’s a great idea (I have a 2 year old so I’m far from this age but am always reading about every age group) but I know the main reason I wouldn’t want to let my (hypothetical)12 year old do that is the fear of kidnappers etc snatching him. How do you personally deal with that?- Rachel

An honest question from an open mind. Here’s the answer, from a reader named Chuck:

Rachel, I’d honestly say that you deal with the fear of your son being snatched, while riding his bike in public, in the middle of the day, the same way you deal with the fear of him falling in the bathtub or being struck by lightning:  You admit it’s something that could possibly happen, but it’s not likely, and you’re not going to have much of a life if you spend all your life trying to prevent any situation where anything like that could occur.

That is just brilliant. It doesn’t negate the fear, it puts it into the same file as other fears. Contextualizes it. I am going to use that from now on. All the time. Sooo helpful. – L.

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49 Responses to “How Do I Deal with The Fear My Son will be Snatched?”

  1. David Bernstein July 2, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I agree with Chuck’s approach and think it’s important that we give people statistics. Help them allow their rational selves overcome their irrational tendencies. Here’s my piece on the subject: http://www.the-big-shift.net/2013/04/is-fear-of-kidnapping-good-for-our-kids.html

  2. forsythia July 2, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    The first step is to admit that, as a parent, you are not all powerful and your presence will not automatically guarantee your child’s safety.

    I’ve heard the most angsty parents talk about the news tragedies and they always conclude that it ‘would never have happened if the parent was right there’ … even if the parent was right there.

  3. Trina Miller July 2, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    I’m not sure you can deal with this fear in advance. When it comes time for your kid to actually do these things, each time she does you will become more comfortable. You will see her confidence grow, she will tell you stories about how she deals with situations, and your fears will naturally lessen. Understanding that your fear is irrational will help you to take those first steps, but you should expect that you will be extremely worried at first.

  4. Warren July 2, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    The fear of a child being snatched is no different than any other irrational fear, such as heights, water, crowds, or whatever. Why it is not commonly considered an irrational fear is because it has to do with children and the better safe than sorry mentality.

    Just like any other irrational fear you need to expose yourself to that situation in increments, slowyly seeing that nothing is going to happen. Then experience will lead to comfort, that will then lead to confidence. The first step is to acknowledge that it is an irrational fear, that needs to be overcome.

    Like many other things in life, we have to put aside our own feelings, prejudices, and fears to do what is right for our kids. The fear and anxiety that one feels is just a sacrifice like any other we make for our kids.

  5. rhodykat July 2, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    The other day, there was a garter snake in the yard. Harmless, but I’ve always been afraid even though, as a child, I remember catching them to show my mother. My three kids were all there (10, 7, and 4) and we watched the snake for a bit and kind of herded it around the yard. It was then I decided I had to get over my irrational fear so that my kids didn’t inherit it. As much as it made me cringe, I asked the kids if they wanted to pet it, then I stopped, managed to grab a hold of it, and picked it up for them to feel. Shortly thereafter, I let it go. Fear conquered. A few days later we saw another one – how do I know? My kids caught it and put it in a bucket to show me. I dealt with the kidnapping fear the same way. My 10 yo was freezing in a restaurant and wanted me to go to the car to get her coat. I told her she was capable and I refused. She stayed put for about 15 minutes, then decided that the chances of her freezing were much greater than the chances of something happening to her on the way to the car to get her coat. She went and came back, and she is much more open to going alone now. Look at your fear, embrace it, conquer it by having more examples of it not happening than of it happening.

  6. Stacie July 2, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I think that it’s important that we’re trying to raise children to become self-sufficient adults. If we don’t let a 12 year old ride a bike by his/her self, how will we expect them to start learning to drive in a few more short years? By empowering your children and showing that you have faith in their abilities, we will raise children who will be confident in their own selves.

  7. Kimberly July 2, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I deal with it by looking at FBI stats. I found that an overwhelming majority of kids are kidnapped or molested by parents or other family members. I found that only about 50 children are kidnapped and killed by strangers each year. I put it into odds. A child literally has a one in a million chance of being kidnapped and killed by a stranger.

  8. pentamom July 2, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    One way of “dealing with” fear is the same you “deal with” hunger if you’re trying to cut back and lose weight — realize that experiencing the feeling is not the end of the world. Be afraid, but do the right thing for your kids anyway. Be hungry, but say no to the extra snack anyway.

    That’s not the total answer, but it does help a lot of you realize that the negative emotion goes with the territory and can simply be lived with, it’s not in itself a reason to do something to avoid feeling it.

  9. Ann in L.A. July 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Also remember: the most dangerous things our kids do is probably getting in a car.

  10. lihtox July 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I wonder what portion of the fear is the fear of being isolated and condemned? If kids are in a car accident, nobody blames the parents for daring to put them in a car.

  11. Gina July 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    RHODYCAT: Look at your fear, embrace it, conquer it by having more examples of it not happening than of it happening.

    PENTAMOM: realize that experiencing the feeling is not the end of the world.

    Two of the best quotes I’ve seen on this board!

  12. Warren July 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    I am still puzzled as to where people acquire this fear.

    Not once with any of my three kids did I ever even remotely think about them being snatched.

    I see these fears and overprotectiveness as symptoms of the real problem. Worst first thinking. Like anything else you can treat the symptoms all you want, but untill you get rid of the underlying cause, the symptoms just keep coming back. So until one changes their outlook on life so that worst case scenarios are no longer a factor, it is a losing battle.

  13. anonymous this time July 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    It goes deep. It starts with a question: What is the worst possible scenario I can imagine for my child?

    For many, it is the idea that the child will be held against their will by someone who means them harm, especially sexually exploitative harm, and that this eventually results in death for the child… death after being exploited. That’s pretty much the worst scenario most parents conjure.

    However, for me, the worst scenario is that my child is denied the regular development opportunities that life brings because of other parents’ obsession with the fear I delineated above. Just because I don’t carry that constant worry about exploitation and death, I am less loving, and my child is less safe. NOT SO.

  14. Yan Seiner July 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    OK, here’s the graphic:


    Each pixel in the original represents a child. Yes, there really is a ‘stranger danger’ bright yellow-green rectangle in there. Top left corner. Honestly. Can’t find it? Then perhaps you should not worry about it.

  15. Warren July 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm #


    My question is, why even ask that question? Why on earth would someone imagine the worst possible thing that could happen to their kid?

    This thinking does not make any sense whatsoever. Asking that question, imagining the worst case of torture, rape, and murder of your child serves no purpose.

    This is why I do not understand how parents would even think about such things. It is not that I avoid thinking like that. Simply put, I have never ever ever thought that way, not even once.

    At times when I hear or read about parents thinking that way, I have to wonder if they need to seek help for mental health and or emotional health reasons.

  16. Havva July 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    To Rachel who asked how to overcome the fears. Welcome to the journey. I also have a 2 year old. She was about a year old when I realized that the strain of worrying about protecting her was opening a gap between the life we were living, and a better life we could and should be living. (You sound like you are looking into that gap.)

    I started by seeking advice on how/when to back off on the safety measures. What I found in my usual sources was wall-to-wall safety paranoia for all ages. Yet some how the baby gates disappeared from the pictures. Somehow the kids went to camp and presumably bathed themselves. Some how the kids got driver’s licenses and went about town unsupervised. But lord knows when or how mom and dad let go.

    Then I found a terrible answer in response to “When did/will you let your kid go to the park alone?” There was lots of, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. Finally a dad responded “When she sneaks out on her own!” Then lots of agreement and congratulations. I was horrified. This was not parenting it was an abdication of parenting. It was an unprepared child self launching in a storm of rebellion. A child unwilling to take parental advice or control anymore. I couldn’t have imagined a more treacherous step toward independence had I tried.

    You will find parents here with a much different take. Parents who support their children’s growth. Some times give it a nudge. (And yes sometimes have the kid surprise them, and make after the fact corrections.) Not cavalier parents, but parents who know how to see the child as s/he is, at that moment in time, both capable and limited. Who can design safe enough exercises to help the child develop that independence with parental limits and backstopping.

    It takes practice and it lots of examples to learn how to do this yourself. You will lean how by watching the parents here. You will learn by watching your child. And you will practice it in a thousand ways a year. Practicing that thinking on how to build the child’s capabilities (or your confidence in those capabilities) will change you, it will change how you see your child, and change your relationship with your child for the better.

    Before I came here I used to pray “Please don’t let me screw up, I need to protect my baby, don’t let me ruin her instead.” When I was fighting my fears I found my self praying “Please give me the strength to get out of her way so she can live well.” Now I pray with a calm heart. “Grant me the clarity to always see my child as she is. And the wisdom to be a steady guide on her path.”

  17. Yan Seiner July 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    “Then I found a terrible answer in response to “When did/will you let your kid go to the park alone?” There was lots of, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. Finally a dad responded “When she sneaks out on her own!” Then lots of agreement and congratulations. I was horrified. This was not parenting it was an abdication of parenting. It was an unprepared child self launching in a storm of rebellion. A child unwilling to take parental advice or control anymore. I couldn’t have imagined a more treacherous step toward independence had I tried.”

    That is so true! Well said!

  18. Molly July 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    How do I deal with the worry? I don’t. I come here to be reassured that I don’t need to worry. And I direct my friends here, too. Like when I received this link along with an ALL CAPS message from a hyper parent on some parent listserve one friend belongs to. http://www.youtube.com/embed/N2vARzvWxwY?rel=0

    My response:

    I agree that disabling year GPS setting is probably wise, but the sensationalism of the broadcast is unwarranted. You children are statistically safer (from abductions, etc) than we were as kids. I occasionally check in with a blog called freerangekids. A good read!

  19. Nicole July 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I think sometimes you have to take the tiny risk of something really horrible happening over the almost certain risk of something pretty bad happening. (In this case, the “something pretty bad’ would be the child growing up cooped up inside – without enough exercise, without a chance to learn life skills gradually, without the confidence of knowing he or she really can do things, etc.)

    And also, practice – do a few runs to show the child the way, then gradually back off and let the child lead you instead. You’ll feel better if you’ve seen that he/she can do it.

  20. pentamom July 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Molly —

    maybe I just don’t have much imagination, and maybe creepy people do more intuitively pointless things than I realize, but I just don’t get it.

    I realize that on a emotional level, it’s creepy to think that a bad guy can figure out where your kid lives or goes to school. I don’t really know what actual threat that poses a kid, who can reveal that information to the creepy person simply by being seen going into his home or school.

    Is it all based on the presumption that creepy people surf the net looking for random kids, and then track them down? Is there any evidence that actually happens? What drives the fear?

  21. Donald July 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Be careful of what you watch

    Chain news watching is the same as chain smoking. It’s addicting and the health affects are similar. It takes education and willpower to stop the addiction. When people become free of this addiction, they feel much better because it doesn’t consume them anymore.

    The limbic system and the frontal lobe are the two minds that do the thinking. The limbic system (emotional thinking) can be hundreds of times stronger than the frontal lobe and can override logic.

    Statistics are great to rationalise things. However the limbic system isn’t capable of thinking rationally. That’s the job of the frontal lobe. That’s why it’s imperative that we don’t let the limbic system consume us.

    For more info see http://www.chimpparadox.co.uk/

  22. Warren July 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm #


    The whole tracking thing doesn’t mean squat. It does not up the odds of your kid being snatched.

    What I get a kick out of is that the news, the parents and the police are all worried sick about this, and yet they just told the whole viewing audience how to do it.

    I highly doubt some perv is going to see you kids pic online, track them online then travel across country to find her. And if it is a perv in your neighborhood, well chances are he or she has already seen your kid. This changes nothing. Just another fear mongering piece of crap journalism.

  23. Donald July 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    The Chimp Paradox uses layman-friendly applications for cutting-edge neuroscience. He renames the limbic system and calls it a chimpanzee. That’s because it’s just just as rational and much stronger than a man – which is the frontal lobe.

    Managing your impulsive chimp as an adult will be one of the biggest factors determining how successful you are in life.


  24. anonymous this time July 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    I just read that a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, who had been with the troupe for 20 years, died after free-falling 40 feet to the stage.

    It was an accident.

    An anomaly.

    My guess is that because there had never before been a death in that troupe since 1984, they will dust themselves off, carefully assess what happened, learn from this tragedy, make some adjustments (or not, depending on what is found out), and CONTINUE PERFORMING AMAZING ACROBATICS.

    Well, I can’t predict the future, but this is what I hope. Compare that with what we do as parents in our culture: hear about one statistical anomaly, one freak accident, and decide it’s now our life’s work to protect our kid from that odd thing, shutting down the joyful expression and growth part of their lives nearly completely, all in the name of safety.

    Come on, folks. Abductions happen, but LIFE GOES ON. Don’t be so selfishly obsessed with your own fragile sense of meaning in this world that you decide to smother your kid, just because you “can’t imagine life without them.” Oh, heavens, if I think about what great-grandma would have said about that line of reasoning, I batten down the hatches.

  25. Anna July 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Another honest question from an open mind:

    But don’t we know that our children being struck by lightening is not very likely because we don’t fish in thunderstorms and we only hang outside when the chances of lightening are slight?

    In other words, some fears we deal with easily because there are some common sense ways of minimizing the threat. Like wearing seat belts, we take what precautions
    we can and hope for the best. But merely counting on the odds being in your favor isn’t comforting- and isn’t that all we’re left with when it comes to a “son being snatched”?

    PS) Thank you for all the calming words shared here on this blog. I recommended this site just today. I think the voice here is so important and adds perspective and brings balance to the countless news stories we read where an involved adult could have prevented a tragedy. I’m thankful to have my attention drawn to a fuller, more accurate picture. What is written here is something every parent needs to read.

  26. Betsy July 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I wish people had confidence that they can equip their children to meet “what ifs” (and that we talked publicly about it, instead of the nebulous “stranger danger”). When my tween dgtr. was about 7, I started telling her about the occasional news item detailing how a child of that age PREVENTED themselves from being snatched (kicking,screaming, etc.). EMPOWER these kids, please! Someone tried to throw my cousin in a car when she was in college – she fought them off, of course. It seems like some modern kids are living such trembling dependent lives that even as adults they wouldn’t be able to prevent themselves from being abducted terribly well. Life is about employing the best practices (don’t leave your dryer running while you’re sleeping or away from home, etc., wear your seatbelt, etc.), but enjoying the world and embracing the good things out there.

  27. Kenny Felder July 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    A few tips for dealing with that kind of fear.

    1. Try something that is just a bit out of your comfort zone. Try it three or four times. Notice that nothing terrible happens. It’s one thing to say it, but quiet another to see it.

    2. Be careful about how you take in news. Read a newspaper or online source, rather than watching TV news, and don’t click on every kidnapping story.

    3. Read books to your kids–any books–that deal with the typical lives of kids more than, say, 20 years ago.

    4. Read Lenore’s book too!!!

  28. Papilio July 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    “what we do as parents in our culture: hear about one statistical anomaly, one freak accident, and decide it’s now our life’s work to protect our kid from that odd thing”

    And of course, there are so many odd anomalies that if you’d act on all of them, there would be nothing left to do. You need to accept a certain level of risk just in order to have a life.
    Lenore, I get that you don’t want people to “steal” quotes from your site without properly saying where it’s from, but it’s slightly annoying to get stuff like this:
    – See more at: http://www.freerangekids.com/how-do-i-
    coming along with every little quote *within* this site… Or are you trying to discourage quoting at all? 😉

  29. Havva July 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    @ Anna
    “But don’t we know that our children being struck by lightening is not very likely because we don’t fish in thunderstorms and we only hang outside when the chances of lightening are slight?”

    There are also things like that for preventing kidnapping without completely restricting the child. For instance telling the child to stay within certain boundaries (i.e. out of bad neighborhoods.) Don’t go out at night. Tell mom and dad were you are going and who with. Telling the child not to going off with strangers. Having them go places with a friend. Teaching them to get help as fast as possible if they think they are being followed. And the really last ditch (equivalent to, if your hair starts standing on end drop to the ground until the lightning passes) If someone grabs you, kick where it hurts, scream, gouge eyes, thrash and do whatever you have to to get away.

    I dare say there is a lot of common sense anti-kidnapping stuff that parents have always taught their kids… at least until we go the notion we could or should just keep them away from the world instead.

  30. Havva July 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    More to the main point of how do I deal with my own fears.
    When it is normal things that all kids do eventually I ask my self. “What is your plan? When will you allow [child] to do [activity]?” Usually I think of a few issues, so I ask my self. “And what are you doing to get past those problems?” If I find myself dodging that question I remind myself that “Never is not an option” and repeat until I have a sense of how to let her do what she need to do to grow.

    My inspiration for this approach all goes back to a conversation I had with my mom when my older sister was nearly 17. Mom still hadn’t let my sister get a learner’s permit, and my sister had been on mom’s case about learning to drive for two years, and my dad on her case for a year. (In my mom’s defense this was the only time she abdicated on parenting. Probably had to do with the fact that shortly after the conversation started the family was in a fatal car accident, and while 2 year was forever ago to us kids I’m sure it felt like yesterday to mom.)

    Anyhow I got worried about the precedent, and finally asked mom. “What is your plan? When will you let [sister] drive?” Mom answered “Never.” I stuttered…and mom reeled into a list of my sister’s imperfections. “And what are you doing to get past those problems?” No answer. So I told mom. “In a year and a few months she will be able to get her permit with or without you. Never is not an option. You know her better than anyone. You can sign for the permit and watch for those faults, make sure she learns to deal with them before getting a license. Or she will have a short permit time with random licensed friends in the passenger seat. Those are your choices. Which is really better?” Mom signed for the permit. And even let my sister take her for a drive right after her first lesson. Mom was still afraid, but she came through.

  31. Jenn July 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    Thank you Chuck! My daughter has a lung condition, CCAM, where she has tumours on her lung. They were found at her 20 week ultrasound. Many children with a CCAM are born with breathing difficulties and require surgery to remove a lobe or lung. There is a 4% risk that these tumours are cancerous. Luckily, she has not had any symptoms so her doctors recommended that her health be monitored, rather than remove a part of her lung. This is not the typical care for an asymptomatic CCAM and it is a huge controversy in the medical field because of the cancer risk.

    I decided to do a little research on cancer risks. The statistic that got me was that a North American woman has a 12% chance of getting breast cancer. As a woman, I have breasts and I have a 12% chance of getting cancer, yet no one has ever told me that I should get my breasts removed ‘just in case’ there is cancer lurking in there. Yet, every day across the globe, surgeons are telling parents to have a lung or part of a lung removed, due to a 4% risk that there may be cancer in there (in some places they also recommend aborting with a CCAM diagnosis). It really helped me put into perspective that as parents, we made a good decision to listen to our surgeons and not have surgery on our little girl. As parents, we need to look at the big picture and not be afraid of what may be. I look at my daughter, coming up to her seventh birthday and I am so glad to see this healthy little girl and know that we made the right decision for her.

  32. Warren July 2, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    Do you go fishing in a thunderstorm? No. Can you walk down the street to go to the store or visit someone in a thunderstorm? Yes.

    Do you allow your kid to dance naked on the lawn of a known child molestor? No. Can you let her walk to school, or to a friends or to the store? Yes.

    Basically it comes down to common sense precautions, and taking control of your life, and stop living in fear.

    We are watching the helicopter parenting, the safety nazis, and overprotective society grow with each generation. The generations seem to take everything from the previous generation, and add some of their own. A few more generations and people will be total basket cases, afraid to leave their homes for fear of the boogeyman.

  33. oncefallendotcom July 3, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    According to the NISMART-2, 45 children went “permanently missing/ murdered.”

    In 2010, a pediatric organization declared 77 kids a year are murdered by HOT DOGS.

    Should we register Oscar Meyer? I always knew he was full of bologna.

    But seriously, there are about 75 MILLION kids in the US. The odds of your kid being a victim of such a crime is roughly one in 1.75 million.

  34. Fugazi July 3, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    Rachel, an important thing to realise is that your child won’t go from being 2 to 12 in one day. There are 10 years in between for him to grow and to display her ability to deal with different situations. It’s a gradually process. All the best!

  35. Andrew July 3, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    How do you live with risk? By getting it in proportion.

    Someone above mentioned the chimp. There is also the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic which leads us to overestimate some risks and underestimate others.

    We see wall to wall news coverage of the bad things that happen, but little or no reporting of the many more bad things that don’t happen (or indeed the good things that happen too).

    Everyone you know is going to die one day. The trick is to have the best life you can along the way.

  36. Alec Duncan July 3, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    @Yan Seiner: that is a brilliant infographic! It really puts this whole issue into perspective. Thank you.

    for those who haven’t seen Yan’s link, here it is again http://www.flickr.com/photos/49476369@N03/9195336684/

    “A visual summary of the child death statistics. The large rectangle represents all children and youth 18 and under. The smaller rectangle represents all deaths in this group, including disease, accidents, suicide, etc. The tiny yellow-green rectangle represents the “stranger danger” deaths. Yet we devote far more resources to that than we do all the other deaths combined.”

    To even SEE the yellow-green rectangle you have to view the original image; it’s one tiny corner or a 6,000 x 12,000 image (!) where each pixel represents 1 child (72 million pixels).

  37. Taradlion July 3, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    For me, it is focusing on the main goal if parenting. The goal is to raise independent, confident capable kids to be productive adults (the MAIN goal is not to keep my kids from being snatched). I want them to be safe, yes, but that is not the big picture, end result. Many analogies could be made. I think most parents want their kids to be happy, but that does not mean they can have as much candy as they want, watch as much TV as they want, not do their homework, not take medicine that tastes bad, being a parent, even one that wants happy kids, means sometimes making them unhappy (at least temporarily).

    Or think of swimming. (If) the main goal is having kids learn to swim, keeping them “perfectly safe” in a life jacket, or better yet, totally away from every pool, lake, ocean, pond, and watering hole will not get them to the goal- swimming. Then what happens when they are out on their own and decide to go in the water? This doesn’t mean you throw your baby in the deep end, but that you spend time teaching them to swim and be safe in the water. End goal.

  38. Becky July 3, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Can we get a comprehensive list compiled of “Things that are more likely to happen than your child being snatched by a stranger.” It should include random acts of God like lightning strikes, and things that hit more close to home like ‘your children die when you crash your car’ and ‘your child is molested by your spouse’. Perhaps that would put things in perspective.

    Personally, I don’t know any family who had a child that was snatched, but I know two who had children that suffered from leukemia. One recovered and went into remission, the other didn’t. That’s what I fear for my kid. Cancer. Because it’s a “real” threat to me and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to prevent it.

  39. Yan Seiner July 3, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    @Becky: The number one thing that’s more likely than any of those:

    Your child will live to adulthood, without being molested, raped, kidnapped, hit by lightning, killed in a crash, and on and on and on.

    The MOST LIKELY outcome of childhood is that your child will survive without any significantly bad events in his/her life.

  40. Chris July 3, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    My mother, who lived through the Great Depression and had 6 children, used to say “When they’re inside I’m in charge, when they’re outside they’re in God’s hands.” I think that generation was better at this sort of thing.

    And I just read that we have a greater chance of dying from being hit by a golf ball than killed in a terrorist attack. To which my husband said, it’s probably more like being hit by lightening…I love putting things into perspective this way. Thanks – oh and teaching your child to swim is essential while keeping pools and hot tubs inaccessible and locked if babies or toddlers are in the house.

  41. Donna July 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    “The MOST LIKELY outcome of childhood is that your child will survive without any significantly bad events in his/her life.”

    And that if a significantly bad event does occur, it will most likely not be fatal. And that anything that is non-fatal is not the end of the world unless you treat it like it is the end of the world.

    I get tired of the attitude that kidnapping, molestation and other non-fatal, but serious events predetermine a forever horrible life. Yes those things suck majorly and I hope that my child never has to go through a serious, non-fatal event. But should it happen, its occurrence does not mean that she can never be happy, healthy and well-adjusted again ever. Her life will maybe be different than what that she would have had without the serious event, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be happy.

  42. Donna July 3, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    “Never is not an option.”

    I think that this understanding is key. We can’t stop time and the passage of time means that all children will eventually be free to do whatever the heck they want to do. We can choose to throw them into life with no skills, training, self-esteem, independence or confidence at 18 and hope for the best. Or we can spend the 18 or so years that we do have a say in what happens to teach and to give controlled opportunities to build self-esteem, independence and confidence so that they are ready for the move to adulthood.

    The one never that is certain is that there will never be a perfect time – a time when you feel that the world is 100% safe and letting your children do X has zero risk. If you are focused on your fear and not your child’s need to grow, you will be constantly kicking the can down the road. If you don’t think that that the world is safe enough for your child to walk to school at 8 (outside of actual reasons like traffic, developmental delays etc), what do you think is really going to happen to make it suddenly safe at 12 or 14 or 16? Do you really see the safety of the world improving vastly in the next 8 years such that the risk will be then zero? If you keep kicking the can down the road, you are left at 18 with a kid who can do whatever he damn well pleases and who has no skills whatsoever to do it responsibly.

  43. Lissa July 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Think about how you felt when you first found out you were having a child. No matter how well planned and prepared you may (or may not) have been, you probably felt nervous, scared, anxious? Or when you first brought your child home from the hospital and suddenly you were responsible for another human life. Nervous? Anxious?

    The point is, from the very beginning, the entire act of bringing a child into the world brings some degree of anxiety. Every new step brings a little fear, maybe a little sadness, but you keep walking. When you allow that fear to run your decision-making process, that’s where the problem is. My daughter is a couple of years away from kindergarten. I’m sure on that first day of school, I’ll have a fleeting moment of fear that she’ll have a rough time, other kids will pick on her, etc. But would I ever dream of not sending her to school? Of course not; that would be silly. I will let go of her hand, and hope for the best.

  44. marie July 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    I am still puzzled as to where people acquire this fear.

    When something bad happens to someone close to you, the dangers seem much nearer. Now, the Internet makes everything seem closer and with news media pumping the stories (shootings, abductions, molestations, etc.) for all they are worth, the stories are as close as in-your-face can be. So when a school shooting happens across the country, we “know” the people who were affected; the news media encourages the national mourning and wallowing.

    On the other hand, when a teenager is killed in a highway accident on prom night, people across the country are not alerted to this much more frequent tragedy. We cry over those kids lost to the highway…and then send our kids out to drive again. Which is a much more sensible way to deal with fear and reality.

  45. charlene July 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    I feel secure knowing that I am preparing my kids to be ready to take on these independent responsibilities and that it helps them to develop a good self esteem. But. What do you say when your friends say they don’t let their child have a similar freedom because you never know. I want to be nice and not judgmental, but I also hope I can lighten their fears. I usually just say, yeah, you gotta do what feels right. And if the opportunity arises, say something about the statistics of something bad happening is less now than when we, or even our parents were kids.

    Its sad society is like this today. I guess the best thing to do is just be a good example. It sucks, cuz I still sometimes get that sinking feeling they judge me as a parent who gives her kids too much freedom.

  46. Warren July 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm #


    Sorry but when Sandy Hook took place, when kids are abducted, killed or whatever, and all it is for me is a news story, and not actual members of my family, then it does not affect me or my family one bit.

    Kids being shot in a school has nothing to do with me at all.
    Sandy Hook while horrible, did not change a thing for us.

    Sorry, but if you allow the everpresent media to affect you that way, I put you in with the group of people with weak wills. If you are going to allow anyone or anything affect you that way, that did not directly happen to you, you need help.

    Global mourning my ass. That is a major peeve of mine. People mourning over people they never knew, and were a thousand miles away. People mourn like that only to appear like they have some high moral values It is all performance.


    Take some advice……do what you think is best and don’t give a damn bout what others think.

  47. marie July 5, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    You misunderstand what I wrote. I wasn’t explaining how *I* felt about Sandy Hook; I was explaining how massive media coverage can make people feel connected to a distant event, even though they have no actual connection.

  48. Natalie July 5, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    You keep using those words.
    I do not think it means what you think it means.

  49. AnotherAnon July 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I’m with Anonymous_This_Time. I don’t do the free-range thing because it’s easier than helicoptering. I do it because I think helicoptering is harmful and free-range produces well-adjusted kids.