Readers! I thought the analogy about overreacting, below, was great, which is why I’m posting it here. I have also long sensed a connection between overprotecting our kids from “strangers” and overprotecting their bodies from “strangers” — i.e., germs. Either way, kids get one single, isolating message: “Anything beyond your immediate circle (of bacteria or people) is bad. Resist all attempts at connecting.” Feh. –– L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: Loved this comment [on the Build-An-Adorable Choking Hazard post] : “Which is why I am always going crazy.” Exactly. As if parenthood isn’t demanding enough, now we have to consider every possible bad thing that might potentially happen and prepare for it as if it is Armageddon itself. No thanks.
By way of metaphor, scientists now believe that part of the reason for the giant surge in food allergies is a severe lack of dirt eating by today’s children. (Seriously.) Kids aren’t getting enough exposure to germs and dirt and so their bodies aren’t learning how to tell the difference between an actual threat and something normally benign.
In a similar sense we are constantly bombarded with so many “fear this” messages that we are all losing our ability to tell the difference between a real threat (flame throwers in the hands of toddlers) and benign cuddly things.
So, I will continue to make my kids play in the dirt, avoid hand sanitizer, go to the park without me, play with toys clearly labeled as approved only for children over the age of 99, and *gasp* even talk to strangers.
I will prepare my children to live in the world and to be able to make good choices and tell the difference between true dangers and legal warnings.
I will do this because someone needs to ensure that “Idiocracy” is not looked on as a documentary by future generations. — Think Banned Thoughts