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#61 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MCatLvrMom2A&X View Post

I honestly think by watching them and keeping them safe they will never have to deal with something like that at least not until they are grown and by then they will have the mental and physical means to deal with things. I know that is how it has been for me.
I think that you can be near enough to your children to keep them safe, yet also give them the tools they need to make decisions for themselves. They will not learn this by themselves (well, some might, but not if you are right there), and you modeling behavior when talking to strangers, talking to them about the situations that you do encounter, being ver conscious of always telling them why you do what you do, and why there is certain info that you don't share with strangers, or what you do share with strangers, etc is VERY important to teaching them how to keep themselves safe in this world (dangerous or not).

So I guess that would be my question for you: What are you actively doing in order to teach them how to be safe in this world? What skills are you actively teaching them so that when they grow up they have "common sense" and "street smarts"? If you aren't doing anything, and just being over-vigilant, how can you change that?
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#62 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I talk to both about animal safety, people safety and road safety.

Where I live we have bears they often wonder into areas where people live. We are fairly rural living on 3.5 acres of mostly wooded land. There are dogs roaming free around here many are large and very aggressive we dont have leash laws and even if we did we dont have anyone to enforce them.

The worry about abduction comes more when we are at my parents who live at the intersection of 3 very busy roads with drug dealers up one way, sex offenders another and a few who have mental health issues another way.

I do not sit and tell them how horrible the world is but I dont hide the fact that there are people out there who wouldnt care about hurting them. They also know some people would do anything to help them. But it can really be hard to tell sometimes which is which.

When I check on them I dont make it obvious I look out the window or door until I can get them in my site but if I cant then I go out and yell for them to answer me.

I can guarantee though that while I am watching them they will never have to face being abducted unless of course someone is out to get me as well.

I dont let them play out in lighting storms either so the risk of both are pretty much zero (the lighting could still happen though since it can strike someone inside a house).

I do tend to be overprotective compared to others I know that but my kids are my world literally (like everyone else here I am sure) and to me you cant overprotect something that important.

I hear what you all are saying about life skills for sure. I do think that even protected kids can go on to be safe adults they just learn those skills later. I have no intention of letting dd or ds go out with friends in their teens until I know they are capable of making the right decisions at least 80% of the time.

 
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#63 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I do tend to be overprotective compared to others I know that but my kids are my world literally (like everyone else here I am sure) and to me you cant overprotect something that important.

I hear what you all are saying about life skills for sure. I do think that even protected kids can go on to be safe adults they just learn those skills later. I have no intention of letting dd or ds go out with friends in their teens until I know they are capable of making the right decisions at least 80% of the time.
MCatLvrMom2,

I want to say up front that of course they are your kids and you need to raise them in a way you feel comfortable.

That said, I just think you are missing a whole lot of dangers because you are overfocused on a few. When you said above "my kids are my world" I had a visceral response, because the thing is - it's not about you, it's about them.

And I believe that as parents we owe it to give the world to our kids (I don't mean materialistically), not make them stay in our own worlds. Of course our job is to protect them as they do that. But the end goal is either independence or interdependence (which requires an element of independence).

I do believe that most people will be fine whether they are overprotected or underprotected. But that said, I think you make it a lot harder at the "end" of parenting if you don't let your kids start making mistakes earlier.

So many problems happen when women, particularly, but anyone, are scared to be alone. To walk away from clique about to get in trouble. Or on a bad date in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. How many women stick with someone that's giving them a few creeps because they aren't sure about being rude and leaving the situation and going and finding a way home alone? When leaving and going their own way (yes, in the dark/rain/no-cab wasteland) would be the better choice? And that's just one example.

I do think that if your ten year old cannot play outside for more than a few minutes alone, you really are at risk of creating a non-optimal situation for her. I hear you that your ten is an immature one - but what is contributing to that? How can you help her develop that maturity? Confidence in her own self in different circumstances?

Talking will not do it.

Exercising judgment is not the same as knowing things. A person can learn information about dangers of an area very quickly. I don't live in an area with bears, but I have dealt with them twice - at age 14, in a camping situation, and a couple of years ago in a relative's backyard. In both cases I had read a little bit about bears and what to do, which helped. But in both cases I also had to have the confidence to respond quickly and appropriately - especially in the group situation.

Making good decisions is a skill, not information. Kids need to practice that as they grow. They also need to develop their own way of doing things - navigating unfamiliar areas, calling for help, talking to people, even making decisions just on what to do next. It's like knitting. You can learn to read a pattern, and talk to experienced knitters. But you can't get the hand motions down to 'automatic' without doing it.

And quite honestly - it's that autopilot that saves us. It really is. It's having walked in a safe area alone and nervous when things are fine 100 times that helps us recognize when things are 'off' in the rare case that they are. It's having called for help on time, or too late, that helps us evaluate when to scream.

Anyways I know you are sharing something so scary and real and that it is hard to listen to contrary points of view. I admire that you are still reading. I do think though that even if it's not this month, you need to ease up or you may have a really serious situation in a few years.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#64 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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It's all a matter of opinion. My older son is 8 1/2, and I don't even let him play in the backyard(fully fenced) for more than a few minutes unsupervised.

I have no idea when I'll feel more comfortable with him being less supervised.
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#65 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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I do tend to be overprotective compared to others I know that but my kids are my world literally (like everyone else here I am sure) and to me you cant overprotect something that important.
I feel this same way. The statistics may be one in a million that something bad will happen, but if I am that one in a million, and it could have been prevented, what good do the statistics do? Do they comfort you later?

IMO every situation is different. Kids have different personalities, maturity levels, etc, and the dangers around each neighborhood are different as well. Go with your instincts with regards to your kids. It is possible to give them life skills and experience they need to be independent without stopping the supervision you feel they need to be safe. And it doesn't have to be framed in such a way that the child believes that the world is a scary place. But knowing that danger exists and that one can take precautions to protect oneself is also a good idea for kids to learn.

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#66 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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I honestly think teaching kids the world is a scary place is doing them a horrible disservice. Its also short changing the vast, vast, vast majority of the worlds population. The vast, vast, vast majority of whom are good, honest people.

Telling your kids to be scared of strangers is not going to help them. Its not. Because then, when your daughers on a date at 16 or 18 or 20 yrs old, and the guy takes off, or tries to grab her breast, or whatever, she needs to know to a: tell him to stop. and b: LEAVE! Call a cab. Or walk home. Or call a friend. Or ask somebody else there to drive her home. Sticking around with him, cause' she's too scared to ask somebody else for help is not going to help her out. She needs to learn when, and *HOW* to say "NO!". And she needs to learn it *now*. So she can practice. So that when it matters, when it really, truelly counts, she can say it. And mean it. And *LEAVE*.
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#67 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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if I am that one in a million, and it could have been prevented, what good do the statistics do? Do they comfort you later?
Knowing that I did the best I could, that I was not taking unreasonable risks considering the benefits of raising self-reliant children, that freak accidents happen--yes, I do comfort myself with these thoughts even when something small happens.

Because there is an alternate risk. There is the risk, about 100%, that children who do not have the opportunity to practice independence will not develop skills they need for that.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#68 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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The statistics may be one in a million that something bad will happen, but if I am that one in a million, and it could have been prevented, what good do the statistics do?
There is about a 1 in a hundred million chances I will win the lotto. But, I don't plan my life around that event happening.

And I won't plan my life around planning for the worst possible thing to happen either. I do not want to live that way.

I tihnk everyone wakes up in the dead of night and has these 3 am fears. I do too. I just am not willing to let those fears cast a long shadow over my son.
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#69 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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When I check on them I dont make it obvious I look out the window or door until I can get them in my site but if I cant then I go out and yell for them to answer me.

I can guarantee though that while I am watching them they will never have to face being abducted unless of course someone is out to get me as well.

I dont let them play out in lighting storms either so the risk of both are pretty much zero (the lighting could still happen though since it can strike someone inside a house).

I do tend to be overprotective compared to others I know that but my kids are my world literally (like everyone else here I am sure) and to me you cant overprotect something that important.

I hear what you all are saying about life skills for sure. I do think that even protected kids can go on to be safe adults they just learn those skills later. I have no intention of letting dd or ds go out with friends in their teens until I know they are capable of making the right decisions at least 80% of the time.
What about when you are not watching them? Presumably your children go to school. What if one day your daughter wants to experience some freedom and cuts class - or she goes on a playdate and decides to take off and have an adventure. Or what if something happens to you and you can no longer watch them 24/7. If you want to be realistic about things there is a statistically higher chance that you will die before they reach 18 than there is that they would suffer a bear attack or face a potential abduction.

It's our job as parents to give our kids skills and experiences that allow them to grow up and away from us and towards adulthood. The safest way to do this is to let them learn in small bits - giving them freedom to make decisions and have experiences appropriate to their developmental stage rather than expecting them to learn all these skills on their own once they reach adulthood.
In attempting to protect them this way I fear you are making them less safe. You cannot possibly control their environment and their comings and goings in a healthy way well into their teens, nor would a healthy parent want to. You may well be setting the stage for serious powerstruggles and reckless behaviour because most healthy children will take that power on for themselves - whether you are willing to cede it or not. A friend of mine in grade school had a mother who was so controlling and fearful that the only way my friend could gain a sense of power was by developing anorexia and bullemia and it almost killed her. She still struggles with it 20+ years later.

I say this gently - I think you need to talk to some one about these fears of yours and their potential to damage your children's abilities to cope in the world.

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#70 of 71 Old 10-25-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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OP, I congratulate you for reading all these posts. It is hard, really hard sometimes, to keep listening, when people tell you things you do not want to hear. IMO, a lot of us have been harsh on you, myself included. But can you imagine that maybe this is because your posts are worrying. But maybe this is not the time for you to be ready to hear these things. Perhaps you should copy the info and put it away for later. Read it again in 3 months or 6 months. See how you feel then. I wish the best for you, your DD and your DS.
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#71 of 71 Old 10-26-2010, 03:47 AM
 
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OP, as a parent, I must say that I really respect your sticking to your guns. However, something made you write this post, despite your negation of most of the points that you are overprotective and/or controlling.

I want you to understand that what I am about to write comes from a place that really understands the need for control and the overprotective, one-in-a-million bad scenarios thinking. I've been clinically evaluated for it, medicated and therapied for it, and I've been working toward a less anxious and controlling me for a very long time. And I feel the very same way about my own son, who is nowhere near the age of your children and therefore, I haven't encountered your situation yet. FWIW, we live in Alaska, see moose (which are more likely to charge than a bear) and bear pretty frequently.

Okay, here's the thing. I get these behaviors from my mother, who behaved much as you do. Now, please understand that I love my mother and currently, at age 28, we have a really good relationship. BUT... I was watched watched watched my whole childhood. And sent to private parochial school, which was as close as my working parents could probably get to homeschooling. We're talking 12 students in three grades in one room - not like "that public school" at all. Sheltered - yup, that was me. My mom really loved me and made sure I was safe all the time. ALL the time. Abduction at age 10? Impossible. I was never out of an adult's sight.

Okay, flash forward to 14 onwards. Especially after 16, and I could drive or my friends could drive. It was over. I engaged in really high risk behavior. For your benefit, (and not my own embarrassment, which it is REALLY embarrassing to admit), I'll spell it out for you. I lied to get the freedom to make my own decisions. To be actually unsupervised. Which included having sex with multiple partners, often not knowing their last name. Going to parties where there were drugs. That I did. Not just smoking pot or getting drunk, real drugs like meth, which I did, frequently, along with acid, cocaine, and others.

I was quite capable of making good, prudent, informed decisions. I was not developmentally delayed. I graduated with over a 3.0 average. I took AP classes. While engaging in these terrible behaviors, nights and weekends. I didn't even skip school. I knew school was important. But, mama, understand that I had never taken risks in my life. I had never been beyond the shelter of my mother's wing. Whether or not she let me know that she was checking on me, it was obvious that she kept tabs... a lot. And while I loved her... she was smothering me.

When PP talk about having adventures in the woods at age 8, where they almost fell into the river, or barely navigated the way home in a sudden ice storm, or whatever, and they talk about how much it fed their adult image of themselves, as capable and competent. Being confined to a block-wide radius and needing to be checked on every few minutes, it's not the same. They won't learn the same skills that way. They know you're there.

I guess all I'm trying to say is that, if they are bound and determined, they'll learn those traits, one way or another. Letting go now (in comfortable stages, with things that PP and others suggest) may alleviate the "all at once freedom" behavior that I (and others - come on, I wasn't doing that stuff by myself, I was doing it with other kids my age!) exhibited.

I really want you to know that I have *really* struggled with my anxiety issues, which include worst case scenario picturing, a lot. This post is for me as much as it is for you, because I am facing the same issues you are. But I am committed to not repeating my mother's mistake. Because I can't imagine what I would feel if my child did what I did as a teenager.

Please understand - I'm not sharing my personal background for any reason other than indicating to you what happened in my situation with my overprotective mother. I'm just one unique person. And I am embarrassed and ashamed of many of the things that I did. But listen, when people talk about learning independence, that's when I learned it. Not when my mom was watching me in the yard at age 10.

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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