I was scrolling through my Yahoo newsfeed this morning when I suddenly spied this headline: Free hnffbbnfzs
Range Parents Are Scapegoats For Parents Scared They Aren’t God.
What a fascinating piece on the fact we really want to believe if we only do everything “right” our kids will be safe. The columnist, Cara Valle, begins:
“America’s Worst Mom,” as Lenore Skenazy playfully admits to being called, discusses in a recent American Conservative article a pathological paranoia that seems to be gripping American parents. She points to a grossly inflated perception of some dangers our children face.
Valle lists some more commonplace dangers versus the ones we obsess about, then continues (boldface mine):
Yet I think it’s not primarily an inflated view of danger that drives hostility to “free-range parenting.” Rather, it’s a competitive compulsion to build up one’s self-esteem by finding fault with other parents. It’s a kind of apolitical parental virtue-signaling.
This compulsive fault-finding is symptomatic of the near-universal “just world hypothesis.” As much as many of us may profess moral relativism, deep down we all want good things to happen to good people and bad things to happen to bad ones (assuming, of course, that we are the good people). We desperately want the universe to be on our side. We want a guarantee that, if we follow all the rules, everything will be alright. We millennials are famous for struggling to conquer this mentality.
Because we want following the rules to guarantee our safety and well-being — and that of our children — we delight in pointing the finger at rule-breakers. It affirms our subconscious belief that every story has a villain, that there is always someone to blame. Jesus reportedly encountered this in John 9:2: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”
This is why we treat pregnant women like veal calves: don’t drink wine, don’t run, don’t jump, don’t get stressed, don’t go near smokers, don’t drink coffee, don’t eat soft cheese, don’t use hair products — hundreds upon hundreds of prohibitions, most aimed at a laughably infinitesimal risk. These prohibitions have less to do with preventing harm to children than with bandaging the hemorrhagic guilt that seems to afflict every parent I know, myself included.
She is so right. Parents live not just with the fear of something terrible happening, but the fear of overwhelming guilt: Why didn’t we, who have so much ability to control our children’s lives, PREVENT it?
This guilt will grow as technology puts parents in a position to oversee almost everything their kids’ do, see, read, watch, eat, hear and encounter, even when out of reach. Our job at Free-Range Kids is to combat the idea that parents can be God, if only to block the blame that comes with that belief. – L.