piece about why we need to be able to make rational, caring decisions for our kids without worrying about being second-guessed by passersby or the authorities sums up the issue just perfectly. It’s from the blog Catholic All Year. It begins with the author, Kendra, discussing an article by Kim Brooks in Salon that detailed the cases of some moms arrested for letting their kids wait briefly in the car. Then she writes:
…I’m still not going to make what I believe are bad parenting decisions because of bad laws and bad samaritans. I won’t be bullied. But it is deeply, deeply scary. And it could absolutely happen to me.
We live in a world where people are so disconnected from the facts that they honestly believe that a nine year old child walking to the park will probably get kidnapped by a stranger and that a two year old asleep in a car will immediately die if his mother walks more than five feet away. Maybe it’s ten feet. But he will die. For sure.
I understand that these laws and policies have been made in response to very real tragedies. But arresting reasonable parents who have made reasonable parenting decisions appropriate to their particular circumstances isn’t going to save all children from accidental death.
My child could be killed because I left him home. Or he could be killed because I brought him with me in the car. My child could be killed because I left him inside the car. Or he could be killed walking across the parking lot at my side. There is not a law that can guarantee that my child will be safe. It is unsettling, but true. And no one is better suited to make decisions for the safety of a child in a particular situation than his parent.
These laws and the people who enforce them are deeply misguided, and the way they undermine a parent’s ability to make decisions for her own child should concern everyone.
Love, rationality and a demand that society not interpret every parental action using worst-first thinking? Music to our ears. – L