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How Dangerous is Childhood



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 23rd 06, 03:24 AM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
toto
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 784
Default How Dangerous is Childhood

http://health.theledger.com/article/...11/FAMILY/1478

How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL
c. 2006 Cox News Service

How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL
c. 2006 Cox News Service
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

Adam Walsh's childhood wasn't the only one that ended 25 years ago.
Childhood -- and parenthood -- would never be the same.

On Aug. 10, 1981, the severed head of the South Florida boy was found
in a canal in Vero Beach.

If a 6-year-old could be taken from a mall after being out of his
mother's sight for just minutes; if he could be murdered and
decapitated; if his killer could elude authorities, then our world
must be a truly dangerous place for children.

It's an understandable response to what was surely one of the most
horrific crimes of the 20th century.

But the fallout -- a culture of parental paranoia that has become the
norm today -- may be just as tragic.

The casualties, beyond the death of one innocent little boy, are many:

The death of simple childhood pleasures.
The death of peace of mind.
The death of common sense.
The death of self-sufficiency.

Just last month: "FLORIDA PARENTS FEEL THE WORLD IS GETTING
RISKIER FOR THEIR CHILDREN" bellowed a press release on the Web
site of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, one of
the organizations formed in the wake of the Walsh murder.

But how dangerous is childhood?

And just as important, how dangerous is the pervasive belief that
childhood is dangerous?

In our effort to protect children from even the most remote chance
that they might be harmed, in teaching them that danger lurks around
every corner, have we reared a generation of overly fearful young
adults, emotionally tethered to their parents and seemingly incapable
even of walking across a college campus without holding someone's
hand via cellphone?

Of course, not every woe in the overparenting saga can be traced to
Adam Walsh's tragic death. Sharing the blame: The relatively new
tendency to focus on and over-analyze kids, and a social sea change
that has devalued self-reliance and resilience and encouraged everyone
to see themselves as victims of something.

But there's no doubt parenthood has changed dramatically in the past
25 years, and little Adam's murder was among the first turns of the
screw.

The CNN factor

For one thing, we simply heard about Adam Walsh.

Again and again and again.

With CNN's launch in 1980, stories that would have been updated
once a day on the inside pages of a newspaper are now revisited
endlessly in the 24-hour news cycle.

Remember Jamie Bulger, the 2-year-old British boy murdered by
two 10-year-old boys? The case "had a major impact on parents"
even a year later, writes Frank Furedi in "Paranoid Parenting:
Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child." "In a survey
of 1,000 parents, 97 percent cited the possible abduction of their
children as their greatest fear."

The reason: "Many of these parents revealed that 'video images
of the 2-year-old being taken by his killers were still fresh in their
minds.'?"

Relentless exposure erodes our ability to see the incident for what
it is: A tragic but extremely rare occurrence. Instead, we think every
child might be the next Adam Walsh, or Polly Klaas, or Jessica
Lunsford, or Carlie Brucia, or Samantha Runnion.

"Because of news patterns, if a kid is abducted in California,
you start locking your doors in New Jersey," says Peter Stearns,
a professor at George Mason University and author of "Anxious
Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America."

"We lose our ability to say, 'Yeah, but that happened 3,000 miles
away.'?"

The real statistics

Child abduction is the airplane crash of parental fears.

Intellectually, we know the odds: The chances of dying aboard
a plane are slim (Lifetime odds: 1 in 500,000, and that's for
frequent fliers). But emotionally, we aren't convinced. Flying
scares us.

The difference, though: Despite our fears, we continue to fly. To
refuse to board a plane would be to condemn ourselves to a
limited life.

But we think nothing of limiting our children's lives, based on
fears that are even less likely to be realized.

As most people know by now, the majority of child abductions
are custody related. There are also thousands of "lesser"
nonfamily abductions, which "do not involve elements of the
extremely alarming kind of crime that parents and reporters
have in mind," according to a 2002 U.S. Department of Justice
report. Examples included in the report: a 17-year-old girl held
in her ex-boyfriend's car for four hours; a 14-year-old boy held
at gunpoint by a man who accused him of hunting on his property;
a 15-year-old girl forced into the boy's bathroom at school and
sexually assaulted.

Not happy scenarios, but not Lifetime television special material,
either.

But how common are what the Justice Department calls
"stereotypical" abductions, the nightmare-caliber crime involving
a stranger or slight acquaintance who whisks away a child with
the intention of holding him for ransom, keeping him, or killing
him?

Statistics vary, but not by much. Some estimate about 40 such
cases occur each year in the U.S. The Justice Department
report says there were 115 cases in 2002.

Either way, with 60,700,000 children 14 and under in the United
States, the odds of your child being the victim of an Adam Walsh
-style abduction are roughly 1 in a million.

You'd be wiser to cancel those horseback-riding lessons. Your
child is more likely to be killed in an equestrian accident. (Odds
in one year for people who ride horses: 1 in 297,000.) Or better
yet, pull him off the football team. (Yearly odds of dying for youth
football players: 1 in 78,260.) And if you really want to protect
them, sell your car. (Lifetime odds of dying as a passenger: 1
in 228. Odds of dying this year alone: 1 in 17,625.)

Or, to put another spin on it, your child is 700 times more likely to
get into Harvard than to be the victim of such an abduction.

Chances that the kidnapped child will be killed are smaller still.
The U.S. Department of Justice says 40 percent of the 115
victims were murdered.

Horrific, yes, but "almost certain not to happen," says Stearns.

"But our emotions overwhelm our ability to calculate reality."

What we've given up

Some say that if altering our lifestyles saves even one child,
those measures are worth it.

But in protecting our children from the unlikeliest of scenarios,
in the vain hope that no child will ever be hurt, we are inflicting
greater harm on all of them.

The casualties in this world of parental paranoia:

-- The death of walking. Walking to school -- barefoot, in the
snow, and uphill both ways -- used to be the norm. But so few
children walk to school today -- about 10 percent nationwide --
that Oct. 4 has been named International Walk to School Day.

A major reason the K-8 crowd is sealed into the backs of SUVs
and transported: Parental concerns about safety.

And those concerns "have as much to do with 'stranger danger'
-- the chance that a child walking to school will be snatched off
the sidewalk by a complete stranger -- as a fear of traffic," states
a Salon.com article about "Safe Routes to School," an effort
started several years ago to get more kids walking and biking
to school.

Wendi Kallins, project manager for the Marin County, Calif.,
program, describes one father who attended a Safe Routes
meeting: Intellectually, he understood his child was highly
unlikely to meet a grisly end on the walk to school. But
emotionally? "With my pretty blue-eyed daughter, I'm
convinced she will be the one."

"When you're dealing with gut-level fears," Kallins is quoted
as saying, "there's not much you can do.

"The whole level of fear in our culture is increasing."

And so a vicious cycle ensues: Fewer children walk, so they
don't travel in the protective packs that once gave parents
comfort. The increase in traffic heading to schools makes it
more likely that a kid will be hit by a car, most likely driven by
a parent. (Fifty percent of the children hit by cars near schools
are hit by parents of other students, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

And kids miss a chance for exercise, social interaction, and a
dose of self-reliance.

-- The death of play. Much has been written about the
overscheduled child and the lost art of play. Structured fun
does far less to bolster creative thinking, self-sufficiency,
teamwork building, and social and problem-solving skills.

Almost all parents wistfully wish that their kids could experience
playtime as they knew it, when children organized their own
games and came home when the streetlights were turned on.

Yet no one seems willing to let their children simply go out
and play. There's the fear -- that word again -- that kids will
be left behind if they don't take part in the requisite number
of classes and organized activities. There's also a hands-off
approach to other people's children that didn't exist 30 years
ago, so parents can no longer count on "the village" to discipline
or even keep an eye on their child. And many kids simply don't
want to play outside -- video games and computers are the
new playgrounds of choice.

But a 2001 Time magazine article quotes a Sarasota mom who
sums up many parents' sentiments: Unsupervised play is also
dangerous.

She lives next door to a park, but her children aren't allowed
to play there. She has heard that people expose themselves
there.

"It used to be that in the presence of one another, kids formed
a critical mass to keep each other safe," says Roger Hart, a
psychologist at City University of New York. "Gone are the days
when children make any of their own plans."

-- The death of trust. As children have been trained to look out for
menacing strangers, adults have learned to fear false accusations.
The fallout: teachers cautioned to never touch a child, Scout troops
unable to find male leaders, and men who must think twice before
interacting with any child who isn't his own.

A New York writer shares his story: "A new child molester is
roaming South Queens, N.Y. -- me!"

He tells of walking behind an 11-year-old girl who kept nervously
looking over her shoulder at him.

"When I sought to comfort her with a kindly smile, she became
even more alarmed."

The story continues: "I wasn't some stranger cruising the
neighborhood (didn't a man once have the right to walk any
street in America?)." Turns out, his son attends the girl's
school.

He didn't think about the girl until a few days later, when a
letter went home to parents, describing the "incident."

The child's report: "While on my way to school I saw a man
following me. I looked back and he smiled and nodded his
head." The girl went into a drugstore, notified a security guard,
and received a police escort to school.

Better safe than sorry? Maybe. But has this girl been trained to
be cautious, or to be fearful? Will she grow into a young woman
too timid to take a solo rail trip across Europe, drive herself
across Route 66, or simply to walk through life taking pleasure
in her own company, secure in her own good judgment?

-- The death of self-sufficiency. On college campuses, our culture
of fear is coming home to roost. We've reared a generation
denied the chance to play or to simply walk to school, protected
from all failure and risk, and taught that the world is a very
dangerous place.

Now, they're struggling to grow up.

Talk to any professor, any college administrator, and hear tales
of comically overprotective "helicopter" parents and students
tethered to their mothers via thrice-daily cellphone calls. And
when they graduate? The "boomerang generation" goes right
back home to mom and dad.

Not all of this is rooted in fear of physical harm, of course. But
there's no doubt that a lifetime of protection from both
menacing strangers and life's regular bumps and bruises has
left its legacy.

"With few challenges all their own, kids are unable to forge their
creative adaptations to the normal vicissitudes of life," an article
in Psychology Today states. "That not only makes them risk-
averse, it makes them psychologically fragile, riddled with
anxiety. In the process they're robbed of identity, meaning and
a sense of accomplishment, to say nothing of a shot at real
happiness.

"Whether we want to or not, we're on our way to creating a
nation of wimps."

-- The death of common sense. The culture of fear, as every
parent knows, is not limited to "stranger danger."

On the Web site Kids in Danger (the site's icon: the ominous
opened safety pin from diapers of yore!) parents can read
about the perils inherent in high chairs, "soft bedding," strollers,
swings, cribs, etc. They can peruse a 44-page report on Baby
Bath Seats/Rings.

They can bone up on the common childhood menace, toys:
"Meant to provide joy and entertainment, toys, however, are
linked to all-too-many injuries."

Provided they survive their toys, the well-parented child
emerges, perpetually helmeted, into a world of car seats,
padded playgrounds, sanitary hand gel, compulsive sunscreen
applications, nut-free classrooms, sugar-free birthday parties,
cellphones-as-umbilical-cords ...

And paranoia:

Furedi, the British author, points to the ban on small plastic
prizes from children's snacks. "There is no evidence that any
child has ever choked to death (on a prize) -- but the
theoretical possibility that one just might do so one day is
undeniable, and that is enough to justify a ban."

Stearns points to the alleged dangers of Halloween: the idea
that within each plastic pumpkin lurks a chocolate bar injected
with straight pins or razor blades.

"As far as we can determine, this never happened. But it
changed the whole pattern of Halloween."

Police departments and hospitals now screen kids' candy;
parents tag along for the night.

"Boy, if my parents had come along with me, I would have
been furious," says Stearns. What's becoming troubling to
more folks watching as the years go by: Hand-wringing
parents no longer make kids roll their eyes. More kids have
come to believe they need the protection. They feel inferior
to the task of growing up, of making their own decisions, of
trusting their own common sense.

Of ending up victims like those little kids on TV.

Actual odds of dying

In the end, though, numbers don't lie.

By all accounts, childhood is far less dangerous now than it
once was, even back in those mythic, gentler times. In 1930,
almost 11 percent of the population died before reaching age
20. For children born in 2000, that number will be 1.3 percent.
(Most of those deaths: accidental injuries, and not, for the
record, as a result of toys.)

But, as Stearns, the "Anxious Parents" author, says, "we're
addicted to stuff that makes us insecure."

"It's like being mesmerized by a cobra."

Published August 11, 2006



--
Dorothy

There is no sound, no cry in all the world
that can be heard unless someone listens ..

The Outer Limits
  #2  
Old August 23rd 06, 11:36 AM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
Nina Pretty Ballerina
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 65
Default How Dangerous is Childhood


"toto" wrote in message
...
http://health.theledger.com/article/...11/FAMILY/1478

How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL
c. 2006 Cox News Service

How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL
c. 2006 Cox News Service
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

Adam Walsh's childhood wasn't the only one that ended 25 years ago.
Childhood -- and parenthood -- would never be the same.

On Aug. 10, 1981, the severed head of the South Florida boy was found
in a canal in Vero Beach.

If


i have not read that entire article, but it always seems not so much the
risk of something happening when consdiering, say, letting little johnny
explore the local forest...but the magnitude of such an event, remote that
it may be.

If i let my kid, say crawl around in the garden, he has a fair chance of
injuring himself i reckon, but not mortally... actually he has a fair
chance of injuring himself if he walks down the hallway, but hey, he is 16
months.

But if i let my 6 yo go into the men's toilet by himself at our local
shopping centre, the risk of something is FAR lower than ds3 in the garden,
but the magnitude...*shudder*

i always think these sort of articles gloss over that aspect to this debate

chris


  #3  
Old August 23rd 06, 04:17 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
Cathy Weeks
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 275
Default How Dangerous is Childhood


Nina Pretty Ballerina wrote:

But if i let my 6 yo go into the men's toilet by himself at our local
shopping centre, the risk of something is FAR lower than ds3 in the garden,
but the magnitude...*shudder*


There's always a risk to be weighed... on one hand, his chances of
being molested are very, very low. Serious implications, yes, but the
event is not very likely. On the other hand, turning him into a
fearful, distrustful child, who then turns into an adult who has
trouble connecting with people is probably much higher.

I'm not saying you are handling it wrong, or that you *will* turn him
into a fearful adult.

I'm not sure when I started letting my almost-12-year old go through
the locker rooms alone - it was problably about age 5 or 6 - because
that's when my local YMCA required that boys not be in the women's
locker room.

Cathy Weeks

  #4  
Old August 23rd 06, 04:58 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
Knit Chic
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 142
Default How Dangerous is Childhood


"toto" wrote in message
...
http://health.theledger.com/article/...11/FAMILY/1478

How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL
c. 2006 Cox News Service

How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL
c. 2006 Cox News Service
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate


IMO the author of this article has very poor logic skills. The information
that is used to back up her issue has nothing to do with the issue that has
been presented.
Comparing apples to oranges ...



Adam Walsh's childhood wasn't the only one that ended 25 years ago.
Childhood -- and parenthood -- would never be the same.

On Aug. 10, 1981, the severed head of the South Florida boy was found
in a canal in Vero Beach.

If a 6-year-old could be taken from a mall after being out of his
mother's sight for just minutes; if he could be murdered and
decapitated; if his killer could elude authorities, then our world
must be a truly dangerous place for children.

It's an understandable response to what was surely one of the most
horrific crimes of the 20th century.

But the fallout -- a culture of parental paranoia that has become the
norm today -- may be just as tragic.

The casualties, beyond the death of one innocent little boy, are many:

The death of simple childhood pleasures.
The death of peace of mind.
The death of common sense.
The death of self-sufficiency.

Just last month: "FLORIDA PARENTS FEEL THE WORLD IS GETTING
RISKIER FOR THEIR CHILDREN" bellowed a press release on the Web
site of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, one of
the organizations formed in the wake of the Walsh murder.

But how dangerous is childhood?

And just as important, how dangerous is the pervasive belief that
childhood is dangerous?

In our effort to protect children from even the most remote chance
that they might be harmed, in teaching them that danger lurks around
every corner, have we reared a generation of overly fearful young
adults, emotionally tethered to their parents and seemingly incapable
even of walking across a college campus without holding someone's
hand via cellphone?

Of course, not every woe in the overparenting saga can be traced to
Adam Walsh's tragic death. Sharing the blame: The relatively new
tendency to focus on and over-analyze kids, and a social sea change
that has devalued self-reliance and resilience and encouraged everyone
to see themselves as victims of something.

But there's no doubt parenthood has changed dramatically in the past
25 years, and little Adam's murder was among the first turns of the
screw.

The CNN factor

For one thing, we simply heard about Adam Walsh.

Again and again and again.

With CNN's launch in 1980, stories that would have been updated
once a day on the inside pages of a newspaper are now revisited
endlessly in the 24-hour news cycle.

Remember Jamie Bulger, the 2-year-old British boy murdered by
two 10-year-old boys? The case "had a major impact on parents"
even a year later, writes Frank Furedi in "Paranoid Parenting:
Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child." "In a survey
of 1,000 parents, 97 percent cited the possible abduction of their
children as their greatest fear."

The reason: "Many of these parents revealed that 'video images
of the 2-year-old being taken by his killers were still fresh in their
minds.'?"

Relentless exposure erodes our ability to see the incident for what
it is: A tragic but extremely rare occurrence. Instead, we think every
child might be the next Adam Walsh, or Polly Klaas, or Jessica
Lunsford, or Carlie Brucia, or Samantha Runnion.

"Because of news patterns, if a kid is abducted in California,
you start locking your doors in New Jersey," says Peter Stearns,
a professor at George Mason University and author of "Anxious
Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America."

"We lose our ability to say, 'Yeah, but that happened 3,000 miles
away.'?"

The real statistics

Child abduction is the airplane crash of parental fears.

Intellectually, we know the odds: The chances of dying aboard
a plane are slim (Lifetime odds: 1 in 500,000, and that's for
frequent fliers). But emotionally, we aren't convinced. Flying
scares us.

The difference, though: Despite our fears, we continue to fly. To
refuse to board a plane would be to condemn ourselves to a
limited life.

But we think nothing of limiting our children's lives, based on
fears that are even less likely to be realized.

As most people know by now, the majority of child abductions
are custody related. There are also thousands of "lesser"
nonfamily abductions, which "do not involve elements of the
extremely alarming kind of crime that parents and reporters
have in mind," according to a 2002 U.S. Department of Justice
report. Examples included in the report: a 17-year-old girl held
in her ex-boyfriend's car for four hours; a 14-year-old boy held
at gunpoint by a man who accused him of hunting on his property;
a 15-year-old girl forced into the boy's bathroom at school and
sexually assaulted.

Not happy scenarios, but not Lifetime television special material,
either.

But how common are what the Justice Department calls
"stereotypical" abductions, the nightmare-caliber crime involving
a stranger or slight acquaintance who whisks away a child with
the intention of holding him for ransom, keeping him, or killing
him?

Statistics vary, but not by much. Some estimate about 40 such
cases occur each year in the U.S. The Justice Department
report says there were 115 cases in 2002.

Either way, with 60,700,000 children 14 and under in the United
States, the odds of your child being the victim of an Adam Walsh
-style abduction are roughly 1 in a million.

You'd be wiser to cancel those horseback-riding lessons. Your
child is more likely to be killed in an equestrian accident. (Odds
in one year for people who ride horses: 1 in 297,000.) Or better
yet, pull him off the football team. (Yearly odds of dying for youth
football players: 1 in 78,260.) And if you really want to protect
them, sell your car. (Lifetime odds of dying as a passenger: 1
in 228. Odds of dying this year alone: 1 in 17,625.)

Or, to put another spin on it, your child is 700 times more likely to
get into Harvard than to be the victim of such an abduction.

Chances that the kidnapped child will be killed are smaller still.
The U.S. Department of Justice says 40 percent of the 115
victims were murdered.

Horrific, yes, but "almost certain not to happen," says Stearns.

"But our emotions overwhelm our ability to calculate reality."

What we've given up

Some say that if altering our lifestyles saves even one child,
those measures are worth it.

But in protecting our children from the unlikeliest of scenarios,
in the vain hope that no child will ever be hurt, we are inflicting
greater harm on all of them.

The casualties in this world of parental paranoia:

-- The death of walking. Walking to school -- barefoot, in the
snow, and uphill both ways -- used to be the norm. But so few
children walk to school today -- about 10 percent nationwide --
that Oct. 4 has been named International Walk to School Day.

A major reason the K-8 crowd is sealed into the backs of SUVs
and transported: Parental concerns about safety.

And those concerns "have as much to do with 'stranger danger'
-- the chance that a child walking to school will be snatched off
the sidewalk by a complete stranger -- as a fear of traffic," states
a Salon.com article about "Safe Routes to School," an effort
started several years ago to get more kids walking and biking
to school.

Wendi Kallins, project manager for the Marin County, Calif.,
program, describes one father who attended a Safe Routes
meeting: Intellectually, he understood his child was highly
unlikely to meet a grisly end on the walk to school. But
emotionally? "With my pretty blue-eyed daughter, I'm
convinced she will be the one."

"When you're dealing with gut-level fears," Kallins is quoted
as saying, "there's not much you can do.

"The whole level of fear in our culture is increasing."

And so a vicious cycle ensues: Fewer children walk, so they
don't travel in the protective packs that once gave parents
comfort. The increase in traffic heading to schools makes it
more likely that a kid will be hit by a car, most likely driven by
a parent. (Fifty percent of the children hit by cars near schools
are hit by parents of other students, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

And kids miss a chance for exercise, social interaction, and a
dose of self-reliance.

-- The death of play. Much has been written about the
overscheduled child and the lost art of play. Structured fun
does far less to bolster creative thinking, self-sufficiency,
teamwork building, and social and problem-solving skills.

Almost all parents wistfully wish that their kids could experience
playtime as they knew it, when children organized their own
games and came home when the streetlights were turned on.

Yet no one seems willing to let their children simply go out
and play. There's the fear -- that word again -- that kids will
be left behind if they don't take part in the requisite number
of classes and organized activities. There's also a hands-off
approach to other people's children that didn't exist 30 years
ago, so parents can no longer count on "the village" to discipline
or even keep an eye on their child. And many kids simply don't
want to play outside -- video games and computers are the
new playgrounds of choice.

But a 2001 Time magazine article quotes a Sarasota mom who
sums up many parents' sentiments: Unsupervised play is also
dangerous.

She lives next door to a park, but her children aren't allowed
to play there. She has heard that people expose themselves
there.

"It used to be that in the presence of one another, kids formed
a critical mass to keep each other safe," says Roger Hart, a
psychologist at City University of New York. "Gone are the days
when children make any of their own plans."

-- The death of trust. As children have been trained to look out for
menacing strangers, adults have learned to fear false accusations.
The fallout: teachers cautioned to never touch a child, Scout troops
unable to find male leaders, and men who must think twice before
interacting with any child who isn't his own.

A New York writer shares his story: "A new child molester is
roaming South Queens, N.Y. -- me!"

He tells of walking behind an 11-year-old girl who kept nervously
looking over her shoulder at him.

"When I sought to comfort her with a kindly smile, she became
even more alarmed."

The story continues: "I wasn't some stranger cruising the
neighborhood (didn't a man once have the right to walk any
street in America?)." Turns out, his son attends the girl's
school.

He didn't think about the girl until a few days later, when a
letter went home to parents, describing the "incident."

The child's report: "While on my way to school I saw a man
following me. I looked back and he smiled and nodded his
head." The girl went into a drugstore, notified a security guard,
and received a police escort to school.

Better safe than sorry? Maybe. But has this girl been trained to
be cautious, or to be fearful? Will she grow into a young woman
too timid to take a solo rail trip across Europe, drive herself
across Route 66, or simply to walk through life taking pleasure
in her own company, secure in her own good judgment?

-- The death of self-sufficiency. On college campuses, our culture
of fear is coming home to roost. We've reared a generation
denied the chance to play or to simply walk to school, protected
from all failure and risk, and taught that the world is a very
dangerous place.

Now, they're struggling to grow up.

Talk to any professor, any college administrator, and hear tales
of comically overprotective "helicopter" parents and students
tethered to their mothers via thrice-daily cellphone calls. And
when they graduate? The "boomerang generation" goes right
back home to mom and dad.

Not all of this is rooted in fear of physical harm, of course. But
there's no doubt that a lifetime of protection from both
menacing strangers and life's regular bumps and bruises has
left its legacy.

"With few challenges all their own, kids are unable to forge their
creative adaptations to the normal vicissitudes of life," an article
in Psychology Today states. "That not only makes them risk-
averse, it makes them psychologically fragile, riddled with
anxiety. In the process they're robbed of identity, meaning and
a sense of accomplishment, to say nothing of a shot at real
happiness.

"Whether we want to or not, we're on our way to creating a
nation of wimps."

-- The death of common sense. The culture of fear, as every
parent knows, is not limited to "stranger danger."

On the Web site Kids in Danger (the site's icon: the ominous
opened safety pin from diapers of yore!) parents can read
about the perils inherent in high chairs, "soft bedding," strollers,
swings, cribs, etc. They can peruse a 44-page report on Baby
Bath Seats/Rings.

They can bone up on the common childhood menace, toys:
"Meant to provide joy and entertainment, toys, however, are
linked to all-too-many injuries."

Provided they survive their toys, the well-parented child
emerges, perpetually helmeted, into a world of car seats,
padded playgrounds, sanitary hand gel, compulsive sunscreen
applications, nut-free classrooms, sugar-free birthday parties,
cellphones-as-umbilical-cords ...

And paranoia:

Furedi, the British author, points to the ban on small plastic
prizes from children's snacks. "There is no evidence that any
child has ever choked to death (on a prize) -- but the
theoretical possibility that one just might do so one day is
undeniable, and that is enough to justify a ban."

Stearns points to the alleged dangers of Halloween: the idea
that within each plastic pumpkin lurks a chocolate bar injected
with straight pins or razor blades.

"As far as we can determine, this never happened. But it
changed the whole pattern of Halloween."

Police departments and hospitals now screen kids' candy;
parents tag along for the night.

"Boy, if my parents had come along with me, I would have
been furious," says Stearns. What's becoming troubling to
more folks watching as the years go by: Hand-wringing
parents no longer make kids roll their eyes. More kids have
come to believe they need the protection. They feel inferior
to the task of growing up, of making their own decisions, of
trusting their own common sense.

Of ending up victims like those little kids on TV.

Actual odds of dying

In the end, though, numbers don't lie.

By all accounts, childhood is far less dangerous now than it
once was, even back in those mythic, gentler times. In 1930,
almost 11 percent of the population died before reaching age
20. For children born in 2000, that number will be 1.3 percent.
(Most of those deaths: accidental injuries, and not, for the
record, as a result of toys.)

But, as Stearns, the "Anxious Parents" author, says, "we're
addicted to stuff that makes us insecure."

"It's like being mesmerized by a cobra."

Published August 11, 2006



--
Dorothy

There is no sound, no cry in all the world
that can be heard unless someone listens ..

The Outer Limits



  #5  
Old August 23rd 06, 05:13 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
Phoebe & Allyson
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Posts: 12
Default How Dangerous is Childhood

toto wrote:
http://health.theledger.com/article/...11/FAMILY/1478


children have been trained to look out for menacing strangers


Caterpillar (3yo) and her grandpa go to the zoo together pretty
regularly. Over the weekend, they were at the zoo, getting on the
train, and Caterpillar climbed into her seat while Pa put the stroller
in the front stroller area. A man with 3 kids approached the train, and
one of the kids climbed up next to Caterpillar. When they left, the man
grabbed 3 kids - but not the right ones. Pa was vague on details, but
was sure it was an accident.

She was retrieved pretty quickly, but she's now very leery of strangers.
She wants to play "You be the stranger, and I'll be the little girl"
or "I'll be the stranger, and you be the little girl" all the time. She
and I were at my school last night, and she saw an African-American man
coming towards us, and immediately said he was a strange man who was
going to take her away, like the man at the zoo.

Phoebe

  #6  
Old August 23rd 06, 05:23 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
LaTreen Washington
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Posts: 54
Default How Dangerous is Childhood

Good article - but it should have pointed out how many kids are killed,
beaten, molested, abducted, backed over or just left to sizzle in the
SUV by THEIR PARENTS.

The odds are greater of this happening by someone the kid knows, rather
than a stranger.
  #7  
Old August 23rd 06, 05:30 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
LaTreen Washington
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Posts: 54
Default How Dangerous is Childhood

Good! Then keep your defective crotch-fruit hidden from society.

Kunt Chic wrote:




IMO the author of this article has very poor logic skills. The information
that is used to back up her issue has nothing to do with the issue that has
been presented.
Comparing apples to oranges ...



  #8  
Old August 23rd 06, 05:33 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
LaTreen Washington
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Posts: 54
Default How Dangerous is Childhood

That's because you raised your kid to be a man-hating racist like you
and Heather's other moomie.

Phoebe & Allyson wrote:




children have been trained to look out for menacing strangers



Caterpillar (3yo) and her grandpa go to the zoo together pretty
regularly. Over the weekend, they were at the zoo, getting on the
train, and Caterpillar climbed into her seat while Pa put the stroller
in the front stroller area. A man with 3 kids approached the train, and
one of the kids climbed up next to Caterpillar. When they left, the man
grabbed 3 kids - but not the right ones. Pa was vague on details, but
was sure it was an accident.

She was retrieved pretty quickly, but she's now very leery of strangers.
She wants to play "You be the stranger, and I'll be the little girl" or
"I'll be the stranger, and you be the little girl" all the time. She
and I were at my school last night, and she saw an African-American man
coming towards us, and immediately said he was a strange man who was
going to take her away, like the man at the zoo.

Phoebe

  #9  
Old August 24th 06, 07:07 AM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
FlowerGirl
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 56
Default How Dangerous is Childhood


"Cathy Weeks" wrote in message
oups.com...

Nina Pretty Ballerina wrote:

But if i let my 6 yo go into the men's toilet by himself at our local
shopping centre, the risk of something is FAR lower than ds3 in the

garden,
but the magnitude...*shudder*


There's always a risk to be weighed... on one hand, his chances of
being molested are very, very low. Serious implications, yes, but the
event is not very likely. On the other hand, turning him into a
fearful, distrustful child, who then turns into an adult who has
trouble connecting with people is probably much higher.

I'm not saying you are handling it wrong, or that you *will* turn him
into a fearful adult.

I'm not sure when I started letting my almost-12-year old go through
the locker rooms alone - it was problably about age 5 or 6 - because
that's when my local YMCA required that boys not be in the women's
locker room.

Cathy Weeks


I disagree .. the way I see it is that Chris is teaching her son to be aware
of his surroundings (ie "stranger danger").

I seriously doubt that Chris not letting her 6 yo son go to the men's dunny
by himself will turn him into a "fearful, distrustful child, who then turns
into an adult who has trouble connecting with people". ...but I reckon
even a comparatively mild encounter with a sleazebag in a public toilet
would accomplish that *really* well.

I guess to comes down to what individual parents feel comfortable with for
their kids.

My 2c

Amanda



  #10  
Old August 24th 06, 02:26 PM posted to misc.kids,alt.mothers
[email protected]
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Posts: 46
Default How Dangerous is Childhood


How Dangerous Is Childhood?
NICOLE NEAL


-- The death of trust. As children have been trained to look out for
menacing strangers, adults have learned to fear false accusations.
The fallout: teachers cautioned to never touch a child, Scout troops
unable to find male leaders, and men who must think twice before
interacting with any child who isn't his own.



This is something we don't hear enough about. That is, how exactly are
adults to balance the need to protect kids - since most molesters are
not strangers - with the undeniable need to teach kids to be respectful
and obedient, even to those teachers they hate and consider to be
generally unfair, since kids very often can't understand
teachers'/adults' rules anyway?

I'd love to know if any conservative child experts have addressed this
in detail. Certainly, Dr. John Rosemond hasn't, SFAIK - and I'd
certainly think a smart man like him could. Especially since he has no
outdated qualms (unlike Dr. Laura) about putting a four-year-old in an
after-school program so Mommy can work outside the home. (DL was
furious when he said that, in July 2000.)

Lenona.

 




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