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Child safety question--is this extreme? - Page 5

post #81 of 103
i agree the world is not what is was when i was a teen, or even when i started as a foster mom.

not sure -- but I might ask him to call and tell me he was leaving your house, so I'd know. But I doubt i insist he be driven. But I would want to know when he was out alone, for any reason, any time.

After that 13 yo got stolen at a bus stop what 300 feet, 500 feet from home -----

TAKE NO CHANCES

A
post #82 of 103
The problem with "take no chances" is that it's literally impossible. To take no chances would mean never to eat (you might choke or get food poisoning!) or take a bath or shower (people slip and die all the time) or get in a car or walk on the sidewalk. There's no such thing as "no chances."

So, how do you live? You do risk-assessment. And if you do that, you quickly realize that "stranger danger" is miniscule compared to most of the risks we run every day. And that you cannot live your life in fear of unlikely events. You take reasonable precautions -- teach kids how to cross streets and that cars will NOT always obey the traffic laws, so don't assume that the "walk" sign means you're safe to cross; teach them how to get help when they need it; teach them never to get in a stranger's car. Sure, have him call before he leaves (what Aimee's suggesting), that's reasonable -- but don't sit there paralyzed with fear because the world is so much more dangerous than it used to be. It's not. The world is and has always been a dangerous place, and that's something we have to come to terms with.
post #83 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
So, how do you live? You do risk-assessment. And if you do that, you quickly realize that "stranger danger" is miniscule compared to most of the risks we run every day.
...such as the aforementioned risk of heart disease, diabetes, etc. from a sedentary lifestyle. Do I think that walking two blocks, instead of driving, makes a huge difference? No - it's too short a distance. But, the mindset is scary. We're not safe in vehicles, and I think that the illusion that we are is way more dangerous than the miniscule risk that a predator is waiting between the music teacher's and home.
post #84 of 103
I think the point about "illusion of safety" is a really good one. And street-smarts are a learned trait; it's a lot safer for your kid to gradually gain more autonomy, than to suddenly end up as an oversheltered 23-year-old who never walks anywhere, whose car just broke down on a dark street.
post #85 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
The problem with "take no chances" is that it's literally impossible. To take no chances would mean never to eat (you might choke or get food poisoning!) or take a bath or shower (people slip and die all the time) or get in a car or walk on the sidewalk. There's no such thing as "no chances."

So, how do you live? You do risk-assessment. And if you do that, you quickly realize that "stranger danger" is miniscule compared to most of the risks we run every day. And that you cannot live your life in fear of unlikely events. You take reasonable precautions -- teach kids how to cross streets and that cars will NOT always obey the traffic laws, so don't assume that the "walk" sign means you're safe to cross; teach them how to get help when they need it; teach them never to get in a stranger's car. Sure, have him call before he leaves (what Aimee's suggesting), that's reasonable -- but don't sit there paralyzed with fear because the world is so much more dangerous than it used to be. It's not. The world is and has always been a dangerous place, and that's something we have to come to terms with.

Yes!

How many 13 year olds live in your town? And how many get snatched by strangers every year? How many get killed while passengers in a car? How many will grow up to be 50 year olds with heart disease? Just because one risk is more dramatic than the others doesn't mean it is actually worse.
post #86 of 103
Ironically, the bigger the risk, the less likely you are to hear about it on the news. People who die in traffic accidents or fall off ladders don't make the news because it happens all the time -- people who die in kidnapping events or plane crashes DO make the news, because it's rare and spectacular.
post #87 of 103
Thalia & BSD - I'm right there with you guys.
post #88 of 103
Yeah interesting...OT but dh is an avid ice climber which sounds dangerous but he's much more likely to get hurt walking across the street. Just our public perception, etc.
post #89 of 103
This thread has really gotten under my skin.

On one hand, I think it is almost always wrong to judge other people's parenting.

OTOH, I was raised by an overproctective mom, and I feel like I have to share.

What this mother is doing to her son is not helpful. It is a disservice. Breeding fear in children is never good. Not even "healthy" fear. Everybody should be aware of dangers, but that is not the same as fear.

I think this kid would be way better off studying martial arts or some other type of self defense instead of being chauffered blocks at a time. He would be empowered, able to protect himself, rather than protected by someone else.

In my experience, and many others who were raised by overprotective parents echo this, the flopover of overprotectiveness is neglect. Parents are so exhausted from sheilding their children that they don't have anything left to give. Overprotectiveness, in and of itself, can be very neglectful. You are not teaching your children, or giving them a chance to teach themselves, vital, neccesary skills.

As many pp said, this kid is going to be an adult very soon. He's going to have a lot of catching up to do in order to function as a grown up. I know that I did.
post #90 of 103
sounds over the top to me.
post #91 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
Everybody should be aware of dangers, but that is not the same as fear.
I think this is brilliant (probably because it's the way I feel )

I think being "afraid" of general things - like "kidnappings" or carjackings" - is never productive, really. The best thing we can do for our kids is teach them how to minimize & weigh risks and how to be aware of their surroundings in specific situations.
post #92 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Getz View Post
Maybe there was an incident in the mother's life that caused her to be so cautious?

But, if not, I do think it is a bit extreme myself. I almost think small towns can be safer because everyone knows everyone else. In my small town growing up you couldn't do anything without someone seeing your dad up at the gas station and telling on you!

Kinda off topic, but why do they drive the 2 blocks instead of walk to get him? It seems like a waste of gas.
That's what I was wondering- maybe there is an incident in her past that is making her uber-protective.

And lol to the last statement. I was wondering that myself.
post #93 of 103
Personally, I think that is really creepy. (Not letting 15 yr old walk alone.) I mean, that basically guarantees that the kid has no personal privacy/ space or time on his own, which is so important for psychological development. Not to mention, that takes overprotectiveness to a major extreme. Damaging to the kid to grow up in fear and to not learn how to cope on his own. I grew up with a seriously overprotective mom and it was quite damaging. And she was not as bad as the OP's situation. He's coming up quick on adulthood. How nuts for a kid to go off to college and never having walked alone before! How is he going to walk to class? Take a walk alone? Learn to drive? There is no such thing as zero risk, I'm sorry. There is risk assessment. It's not even desirable to live in such fear and caution that you take no risks and never do anything! Sure, it's safer to take as few risks as possible, but you have severely limited yourself and taken most of the fun out of life! Life limiting rather than life affirming. Not advocating deliberately taking irresponsible risks, but intelligent ones (like walking a couple blocks).
post #94 of 103
Thalia the Muse wrote:
Quote:
Ironically, the bigger the risk, the less likely you are to hear about it on the news. People who die in traffic accidents or fall off ladders don't make the news because it happens all the time
I mentioned earlier a friend killed by a car. She was one of at least FOUR pedestrians killed by cars in Pittsburgh (pop. 300,000) that WEEK, and it wasn't even icy weather. None of them got more than a little "news brief" until later, when her neighborhood association agitated for better traffic controls and her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. (Both were successful.) Meanwhile, abductions of children by strangers happen in Pittsburgh about once per year.

So, I'm far more concerned about traffic killing my child than kidnappers. The strange thing is that when I say that to people, their reaction often is, "Oh, well, traffic--you know you can't protect him from that forever! You just have to teach him safety skills." yet in the same conversation they'll talk about not letting their children walk to school because of the possibility of kidnappers or molesters.
post #95 of 103
You know, it hit me, re-reading this, that my six year old is allowed to walk farther than this kid to get to his friend's house around the corner.

And we live in "the city."
post #96 of 103
Unless you live in an area of weekly drive by shootings, this is clearly extreme. I feel sad for that 15 y.o.; his mom is doing him a great disservice. Doesn't matter what her background is; she shouldn't burden her child for it.

Protect him from any possible problems - and many, many definite positives. I just can't get over how sad it is.

My kids are 10, 6 and 3. The 10 y.o. rides her bike six or seven blocks to the park - with a friend and a Motorola pager so we can talk. The 10 and 6 y.o. walk to school - also six blocks. They know not to assume that people will stop at the stop signs. Wait and let them go, or wait until they signal you across. Dd was heckled once, and dealt with it very well - she got away and called me on the pager, and came home. And wasn't afraid to go again to the park.

When I was 10, I'd ride my bike miles and miles to the other end of town. We'd hike up in the woods when we were 12 - all day long without any means to call for help other than sending someone out. At 14/15, we would swim in the river without any adults around. At 16, I drove three hours to take my boyfriend to the airport - and got a hotel as it was an early morning flight. At barely 18, a classmate and I drove to southern California (two days driving each way) for a weeklong trip.

I really think you need to give kids progressively more independence. It is inhibiting their growth not to. I think it is part of our job as parents to teach our kids to be ok without us.
post #97 of 103
subbing
post #98 of 103
My father always drove us just to be sure we were doing what we should and not getting into trouble. This was up until high school. When we started high school, he only drove us TO school to make sure we went.

But, we lived in a bad neighborhood with lots of risk of being influenced by the other kids to cut school, hang out in parks all day, do drugs, and have unprotected sex with everyone. My neighbors' children went that route, but my sister and I were always where we should be.
post #99 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryeliz View Post

-be aware of your surroundings (and don't wear headphones)
-never be embarassed to ask for help or make a disturbance if you feel threatened.
-if you need help, pick someone specific and ask that person, people are more likely to respond if you single them out.
-if you have to yell for help yell "call 911" if gives people permission to get involved
-each time you turn a corner when walking, look behind you to see if anyone is following.
-be aware of blind spots where someone could hide.
-trust your instincts
These are all fantastic examples of common sense advise. I've heard the one about "Pick a specific person and single them out" over and over. It seems that frequently people think "someone else" will help the person, and by choosing someone they are more likely to act.

Thanks!

As far as the OP, yes, I think it is waaaay too overprotective. Just my opinion....
post #100 of 103
I haven't read everything here but I've been thinking about this situation alot lately - I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else and "nothing bad ever happened". A classmate of mine was very sheltered like this. Her driveway was maybe 50 feet long, with a direct line of sight from the house to the end of the driveway, and her mother waited at the end of the driveway for the school bus with/for her morning and afternoon THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. There were other little things her parents did, like get special permission for her to eat a snack during class in Middle and High School, and to skip certain parts of practice for the Softball team (which was an optional after school activity), and always wrote her notes when she couldn't finish her homework because she didn't know how to do it. Her mother would bring her lunch for her every day because she liked warm lunches but not school lunch - so her mom heated up her lunch and brought it in for her. Just little things that, by high school, the rest of us were doing for ourselves or just dealing with on our own.. We all felt sorry for her, and some kids made fun of her. She and I were sort of friends, we didn't hang out at each others' houses but we were friendly in school and did some activities together.

I've recently started talking with her again - we "met" again in an online forum - and I am amazed at some of the things she says. She tried living on her own but never felt safe so she now lives with her 40 year old boyfriend (we're 25). She has never been able to finish college because the teachers are always unfair and don't understand her needs, and she's just started her 5th job in 2 months because the employers end up not understanding and expecting too much of her. It is *never* her fault/problem, it is always someone else's fault, and someone else's failure to do something - and I really think this is a direct result of the fact that she was never allowed to do anything for herself/on her own growing up. She doesn't seem to know how to function in the "real world", and it just makes me sad cause she's such a nice person in general. For the record, she has no special needs outside of asthma, so there isn't a hidden reason for any of this.
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