Child safety question--is this extreme? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 103 Old 02-19-2007, 01:12 AM
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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.
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#92 of 103 Old 02-19-2007, 01:20 AM
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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.

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#93 of 103 Old 02-20-2007, 04:20 PM
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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).
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#94 of 103 Old 02-20-2007, 04:37 PM
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Thalia the Muse wrote:
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.

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#95 of 103 Old 02-20-2007, 04:52 PM
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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."

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#96 of 103 Old 02-21-2007, 01:32 AM
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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.
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#97 of 103 Old 02-21-2007, 01:59 AM
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#98 of 103 Old 03-21-2007, 09:34 AM
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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.

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#99 of 103 Old 03-21-2007, 12:36 PM
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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.


As far as the OP, yes, I think it is waaaay too overprotective. Just my opinion....
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#100 of 103 Old 03-21-2007, 01:31 PM
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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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#101 of 103 Old 03-23-2007, 12:10 AM
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I have to agree that I think this mother is doing her child a great disservice (unless there's a real threat, like other posters have suggested...). My mom was pretty overprotective, though not as bad as the one in the OP. My brother and I rebelled pretty well against it, but my sister, the youngest, spent a lot more time alone with mom after we moved out and internallized a lot of these beliefs. As a result, at 26yo, she can't do ANYTHING for herself. She is a victim waiting to happen. She's afraid to walk alone in her very nice, very safe suburban neighborhood without talking on her cell to our mom. Instead of looking confident and strong, she looks afraid and vulnerable - exactly what a predator is looking for. She rarely goes anywhere without her husband, she didn't even take her baby out by herself until he was 4 months old! She can't drive in anything but perfect weather, she can't do anything! And nothing bad has ever happened to her. It's just the possibility of something, anything, going wrong. The best way to protect our children is to give them the ability to protect themselves.
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#102 of 103 Old 03-23-2007, 11:53 AM
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I do think that is a tad extreme. If you lived in a place where it is not so safe outside, then sure, I would think that that is a good thing to do, but you say you live in a safe neighborhood, so, I would have to say that it is a little overboard. I feel that you do have to gradually prepare children for the 'real world'. What is going to happen when he wants to leave for college? He always called for a ride and never went anywhere alone. The very next day at college, he will feel like a fish out of water!
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#103 of 103 Old 04-08-2007, 07:26 PM
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Thank god my parents are not that extreme. I say if the kid can defend himself...
Like if anyone comes at me and they dont have a gun or a knife then I am going to whup their ***.
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