Kids Today…

This morning, I saw a questionable post on a friend’s Facebook wall.  It was one of those cut and paste slacktivism statuses that condemn society for being a bunch of wusses because we tell people not to smoke when they’re pregnant, to wear seat belts, etc.

The closing sentence was something along the lines of ‘my parents didn’t stifle my freedom, and I turned out fine’.

What makes this line of thought sketchy (if not ridiculous) to me is that while this person might not have suffered from the irresponsibility of their parents, how do you boldly state that precaution is stupid to a parent who lost their child because of ignorant behavior?  Or a parent who has suffered the burden of raising a child with a preventable deformity? I perceive that post as reading ‘ha ha, I made it, so who cares if your child didn’t?’

Of course, parents are often the victims of irrational fears for their children, and go to ridiculous lengths to protect their children.  Yes, you can stifle a child with your fears and your love.  That’s part of parenting, right?  But to completely deny science and statistics because of inconvenience and restrictions seems morbidly dangerous to me.  And it reeks of ignorance.

For every child that is allowed (if not encouraged) to ride unprotected in the back of a pickup truck, how many had to be hurled from the truck bed before somebody said, “don’t do that”? In a scenario of risk versus reward, is it really that important to a child’s development that they be allowed to endanger their lives in such a reckless manner?

I think not.

I’m not a parent, but I’m certainly affected by the parenting of others.  After all, those children will someday run the world that I live in, not to mention the emotional investment I make each and every time I hear or read about a senseless death or tragedy, particularly with children, and absolutely with children who suffer because of the bad decisions their parents make.

It’s a fine line that separates the sensibly cautious from the outrageously protective, but there are data available to guide us in these decisions if we’re not too stubborn to seek it out.



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