This is part of the free-range parenting movement based on the belief that we are crippling our children with our never-ending fears. This writer, Lenore Skenazy, suggests we need to give our children the opportunity to become self-reliant, responsible and confident - by not being tended to every waking moment by helicoptering parents who are riddled with overprotective thoughts of "what if". Sounds good, right?
But the means in which to accomplish this, by her advise, is to leave your kids in public places. Yes, drop them off, give them a pat on the head and tell them to be home by dinner.
Back the bus up!
But Lenore Skenazy practices what she preaches. You may remember her as the mother who let her 9-year-old son take the New York City subway home alone. Just because he survived, doesn't make it a good idea.
Mel Robbin was going on about what a fabulous idea this was. What the what? Seriously? She asked all her listeners to take their school-age kids (5 years and up? Right?) to their neighborhood park, drop them off and drive away.
Wait, why don't we call this "Pedophile Appreciation Day"?
Usually happy just to listen, I was speed dialing the show.
No way on Earth would I leave my child alone anywhere. Mel and I got into a heated debate. She questioned why I was so irrationally over-protective, that the chances of my child being abducted was something like 1:1.4million. I questioned her about how she would feel if her child was that one. One. That's one too many.
Moreover, it's not so much the abduction scenario that plagues my Mommy-mind, though it does, it's all the other, more likely likelihoods; bullies, accidents, the perv wearing nothing but a trench coat who likes to give a little looky-loo, other a-hole parents, and the one I could probably count on if I ever dumped my kid anywhere - the call to the authorities.
She said I was being delusional, people don't just call the police over nothing.
I replied that I was living in the real world, you know, the real world where my neighbors called the police on me for blindfolding my horses.
Yeah, it's called a fly mask.
And will I be getting conjugal visits?
I wish we lived in the kind of world that I could
Growing up, we knew our neighbors, we knew our whole town. We knew who we could ask if we needed help, and who to cross to the opposite side of the street when spotted.
And despite the fact I still live in a small town, I don't know my neighbors... Well, there's the guy next door, that we call Mountain Man, who throws parties all weekend which always include lots of booze (NTTAWWT), men screaming "NO! You're the needledick!" and something bursting into flames.
Then on the other side of our property we have these people. Well, we don't know them either. But their grounds staff seem very nice.
So despite our small, yet diverse little neighborhood, I've lived here 10 years and I really don't know many of them.
She questioned why I don't make a casserole and go introduce myself. My first thought is; I'd probably be shot just approaching either one of these houses.
But the truth is, in general, people keep to themselves. Our society doesn't want to be bothered. If they want to have a relationship, they'll send a friend request on FB. Sad, but true. I think, in large part, it's due to the "sue-happy" attitude of this country. If you don't know your neighbors, they won't come over and slip on your front step. No lawsuit, no problem. It stinks, but it's the truth.
I continued our little
And what about liability? If little Billy pushes little Susie and breaks her arm, can the parents come back to me and say "why didn't you stop it from happening?". Technically, yes, they can. And as ridiculous as it sounds, then can sue me. They may not win, but I'll still be on the hot seat... and in the hole financially just to defend myself.
That's the world we live in.
And how do I know if that guy dragging the crying child off the playground is a parent of the child who wants to stay and play.... or something else?
At the end of my little on-air chat, my mind had not been changed, and Ms. Robbins was still living in a fantasy world where every adult is trust-worthy and every child is safe and sound.
I'm all for teaching my child how to be confident, self-assured and independent, but my first responsibility is to keep my child safe. How could I live with myself if I actively failed at that.
So what are your thoughts?