Monday, April 20, 2015

The Best We Can...

Usually, when I see parenting articles in magazines or on facebook, I'm pretty open-minded.  I might not agree with what they say, but I read or skim them... take away any suggestions I find useful and move on.  Generally speaking, I often especially like the articles talking, in some way, about trying to raise our kids more like they did in the "good ole days" and striving to bring back a simpler time.

Well, last week, when skimming an article about raising our kids like they did in the good ole days, I found myself overly offended and angry by what I read.

The article that made me so angry was from Yahoo News and it was about how few children walk or bike to school, and how we, as a society are stifling children's development by not letting them have freedom and autonomy to go places and do things.  It talked about how parents are being charged with neglect for letting their children walk home from the park unsupervised and that, according to statistics on kidnapping and traffic accidents, children are actually safer out and about today than they were in the 90s.  The article went on to say that we are a very fearful society and we are raising our kids in a fearful way and the children will rebel because they are not given freedom as they grow and develop.  To read the entire article click on the link where I wrote the "article that made me so angry."

So, now that you have have the summary... this article infuriated me, and even writing that synopsis in the paragraph above has filled me with rage.

Let me be really clear when I say this:
As parents in this day and age, WE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN.

Speaking for my own demographic... here we are:
  • Adults who have been responsible in our decisions
  • Adults who are married and have waited to be married to have children
  • Adults in their thirties who have worked hard and are settled in their careers
  • Adults who have at least an undergraduate college degree, and many have graduate degrees as well
Now, we are taking all of our responsible life choices leading up to this point, all of our study skills and strong work ethic... and trying to raise a child.  We are examining history, and trying to learn from those who have gone before us.

We are:
  • breastfeeding
  • doing tummy time
  • putting the babies to sleep on their backs with no loose covers
  • we don't smoke
  • we've gotten rid of all the toys that could have killed us when we were a child
  • we wear seat belts and use car seats until the child is 10-12 years old (or something like that)
  • we have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  • in our family, for financial and environmental reasons, we're using cloth diapers

You know what?  We are raising children at a different time in history than ever before.  I remember life without a microwave -- my daughter will never remember life without a cell phone or television or ipad or twitter or facebook or blogs.  The evil, the bullying, the predators that used to only exist outside on the streets can now come into my home through electronics.

We have a video monitor for the nursery, and I'm not sure I'd be able to sleep without one.

We live in a very VERY scary world, and I am in no mood to read an article telling me that I need to let my kids walk home from the park -- and be charged with child neglect -- lest my children will feel stifled in their development.  This is a different time.

You remember little Laura Ingalls? I seem to remember she, as a child, was left home with her two sisters, tending dinner, over an open fire, when a burning log rolled out of the make-shift fireplace onto the cabin floor.  Laura, not feeling at all stifled by her ability to develop through independence and responsibility, picked up the burning log with her bare hands and threw it back in the fireplace to avoid the wooden cabin from burning down.

Barely over 100 years ago, children were sent off to work in factories to load spools of thread onto spooling machines because their little fingers were nice and small and could switch out the empty and full spools nimbly and quickly.  Never mind that they they occasionally got their fingers caught, and crushed, or that their hair could get caught in with the tread causing the spooling machine to rip off their scalp.  They were growing in their development without the over-reaching hovering arm of mom and dad.  Oh, and *bonus* they also walked to and from work unsupervised -- usually in bare feet regardless of temperature.

Different circumstances demand different ways of parenting.

The world is a scary place and I sure don't need to read an article berating the fact that I am, and intend to stay, protective of my child.

Yes, there will be a time for additional freedoms, and additional responsibilities -- but they will be appropriate for this day and age.  They will not involve earning a living at the spool and tread factory, and they might not involve walking to school alone.  My husband and I will evaluate that situation when it presents itself.  But, rest assured, at that time, and now, we are evaluating our entire situation, and we are doing the best we can.

image signature


  1. Yes. That is all we can do- raise our kids according to the current circumstances of the world, country, town, neighborhood, whatever that we live in. We are doing the best we can as parents (Well, Jeremy and I will be) with what we are given and capable of. No one can, nor should, ask anything more than that from us!

  2. Amen!!! We have to raise our children in this world not the one time has left behind. I also hate article like that because they are just plain ignorant. These days we can't even let our kids ride bike alone. All we have to do is remember Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped while riding bike in her neighborhood in 1996. We do what we need to do in order to keep our kids safe. I'm with you all the way.


Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation.