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View Diary: Why I worry about my daughter (25 comments)

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  •  As a parent, we keep telling our children how to (15+ / 0-)

    be safe (my daughter is 26, I still talk to her about buddy systems, etc.) and then we pray.

    At the same time, we do have to continue working to redirect our police state away from beating on protesters, arresting for pot, etc., get better mental health services and get reasonable gun control.  Some tweaking of our judicial system would be helpful as well.

    Finally, we have to recognize the statistical chances of random violence happening to our kids is low - this one is just so we can ever sleep.

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:10:08 PM PDT

    •  as a father of a girl and a boy (6+ / 0-)

      that are now grown I had almost polar opposite strategy for raising kids.

      My daughter just got her masters degree and has started her first year as a first grade teacher. My son is a junior in college who just switched majors (from cello to computer science).

      so anyway, my philosophy is that over-protection and over-vigilance damages the psychological well being of people- including children.

       Being a scaredie cat destroys the opportunity to build trust and expand one's comfort zone among family, friends, community, public spaces and the world at large.

      You introduce a new concrete problem by trying to avoid the hypothetical boogeyman problem.

      The new problem introduced is unease with diversity and anxiety with unknown situations.

      It justifies paranoia, validates dismissing what people say on face value because of the possibility that what they are saying may be part of an elaborate ruse intended to draw you into an unsafe situation.

      When shit happens you deal with it pragmatically. People have to be able to come together. To trust one another. Like in the Constitution- innocent until proven guilty.

      As a result, they have better people skills, they are more resilient and resourceful, less prone to panicking and ironically surrounded by groups of friends that 'have their back'.

      I want my kids and their future kids to be empowered, not infantalized.

      As an example of this philosophy in action, when my daughter was in 9th (maybe it was 10th) grade she went on an all weekend trip to New York City I encourage her to find some time during the trip to wander off by herself- among the throngs of New Yorkers and do something. I told her, as strange as it sounds, she would be safe among the hustle and bustle of Manhattan on her own. We both knew this was totally against the rules of the trip..yada...but I encouraged her to do this and to come  back and report on what happened. Yes she would be on gaurd. Yes she would not be doing anything stupid. She has common sense.

      I added by mentioning that her mother's father (we call him 'Pony Papa') used to hop trains back in the thirties. Ride the train to the next town...hang around for a while...hop a train back home in time for supper. He did this when he was nine years old.

      I can go on and on. I could talk about the grit of the settlers crossing the great west on the Oregon trail in a couple of wagons pulled by oxen. Yeah shit happened there too- but it didn't thwart our ancestors. They took stuff in stride that we cringe at today.

      And then they had to deal with some extra stuff like polio that we don't have to deal with.

      So she went on the trip and she came back and described the exhilaration of walking down 5th avenue- gripping her purse closely...going in a couple of stores and getting a bagel somewhere.

      A couple of years after that and she was buying tickets on cheap buses to ride from DC to NYC for the day to catch a show with friends.

      We were lucky- so far.

      •  As the father of a girl and 2 boys (2+ / 0-)

        I couldn't agree with you more!

        You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

        by Simian on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:53:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Confidence is a form of protection (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PSzymeczek, Horace Boothroyd III

        Yes, building confidence is part of it.  I've allowed my kids, pre-teen and young teens, to walk for miles, cross under the interstate, etc.    The community thought it was so odd to see young girls walking that the cops stopped to see if there was something wrong!!    We've also talked about the dangers of crossing heavy traffic, the benefits of the buddy system, the importance of communicating where you are or will be, etc, to circulate along at small local festivals, etc.  

        We talk about all the dangers, and brainstorm aobut what we can do to stay safe.   And, then we make plans, take precautions, and do whatever we want to do.  

        Predators escalate from preying on the weak, to preying on the strong.     Being confident and assertive will make you a less attractive victim for many (but not all) predators.

        Reasonable safety measures will help increase your odds.  Being knowledgeable about common crimes, and common ways to avoid them.

        And, statistics will protect you from a lot of it.  There are only so many Ariel Castros.  We are far more likely to get hit by lightning.   I try to remind my kids of the realistic likelihood of certain things happening.

         

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