Friday, August 15, 2008

Risk of Parenting

This week's Wall Street Journal included an opinion piece by Philip K. Howard dubbed "Why Safe Kids Are Becoming Fat Kids."

Howard points out that today's society is obsessed with keeping its offspring out of harm's way -- to the extent of practically wrapping the wee ones up in cotton balls.

His piece reminded me of the outrage that came down on New York Sun columnist Lenore Skenazy when she sent her 9-year-old son home via the subway. By himself. Readers slammed her, basically arguing that child protective services should investigate.

So what gives?

I recall many an hour I'd roam our rural neighborhood; I fell off horses (and was fallen on a couple times); I explored creeks and rivers; I climbed, trekked, skulked, and plopped all over the place. Yeah, I broke my arm a couple of times, but that just added to my mystique.

Today, my daughter attends an after-school program to which no peanut butter or nuts are allowed. (Another recent article detailed that growing trend, too.)

I've been trying to let my daughter have more roam-alone time, but I'm beginning to wonder if all those collective hours of watching listening to the top horrid news story of the day, watching crime dramas, adventure movies (with worse-case senarios, of course!), and such haven't ruined the next generation.

By 2038, today's children will be adults who are afraid to go anywhere. But they'll be in one (flabby) piece.

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