Is Society Overprotective of Children?

Acct2000

Connoisseur - Moderator
Yckmwia, you may be on to something here. Usually you are a bit strident, and maybe here, too.

I agree that the constant media coverage brings a level of paranoia to things. (Not to mention high salaries to those who fan the flames.)

I imagine that there have always been sexual predators, but parents (I was born in 1956) were not so paranoid when I grew up.

(My previous post about doing errands for Mom at age 4. Mom was not irresponsible; she just saw this as safe and probably even felt it taught me a bit of responsibility.)

We made our own decisions about what we were going to do most of the time when we did not have chores during the summer, when school was out. A lot of educational professionals today say that children today are so structured, that they do not know how to make decisions. This can't be good.

I wish we were more in tune to the dangers of second hand smoke as a child, but only because I happen to be allergic to tobacco.

While you can find studies to show the problems with second-hand smoke, I think that ethics in our scientific community are so cloudy that many studies are designed to prove a point and set up to do exactly that. (On both sides of any controversial issue.)

(Edited to correct spelling of Yckmwia's name. I hope there is some real significance to you! I can NEVER remember how to spell it. LOL)
 

bwep

Super Member
JL:

I have not read many of the posts to follow your initial thread, but I have to comment on your comments concerning helmets and car seats. I am a pediatric neurosurgeon. I happen to be on call and have had to take care of one youngster who was an ejected passenger in an automobile accident because she was in a car seat in the front seat. She was launched from the vehicle like a missile and would not have suffered the injuries that she had if she were in the car seat in the back! I also have had to treat a child who fell off his bike and suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage that has precipitated a few seizures. Could have been avoided if he were wearing a helmet. I think that I am qualified to respond to my interpretation of what you have written that they (helmets and car seats) are not really needed. That is crap. (Sorry to get so defensive). While society has gotten overprotective, not letting kids walk next door to play without an adult escort, it has gotten smart in some areas. I believe that it is abuse not to make sure that your child (if size and age warrant) is not in an appropriate car seat or booster that is positioned and fastened properly. Not to make sure that your little one, or you for that matter, are wearing a helmet when bicycilng, 4-wheeling, scootering, skiing etc... is asking for trouble. I am sorry that you have not seen the consequences of such negligence, I make a living on taking care of children, unfortunately so, with such. And the little seats that you mention, the bouncy seat. I have seen a number of kids who bounced themselves out of the seat which happened to be on top of a counter and suffered a skull fracture or two. Granted a little common sense....

As one half of working parents, the hardest thing that my wife and I have done was to leave our children in the care of a nanny. Hey, I would love it if we both didn't need to work, but we do. One can never be sure that the nanny is safe. This weekend, in addition to the two that I have written above about, I have declared two, not one but two different children, brain dead from injuries inflicted onto them by the nanny or the nanny's boyfriend, respectively.

I think that it is smart to be somewhat more protective than we have been in the past, but temper that with a little common sense.



"...always aspire to live simply and elegantly." - Madeleine Finn
 

Acct2000

Connoisseur - Moderator
I agree with you that the car seats and helmets are probably a good thing. Although, what percentage of people who do not use them is such a good thing?

Edited to remove judgemental statement about someone I don't even know.
 

VS

Super Member
I think the irony here is that if you WERE to allow your children to play until sundown(I've never heard of molesters approaching a group of eight children and running off with one of them)... erm, well, who would make up the other kids in the group if none of their parents let them out of their sight? Being the only child who walks to school makes that child conspicuous.

Being the way our parents were (trusting us not to do stupid or dangerous things and to run away screaming from "funny men" if necessary) would probably mark a parent of today as some sort of unattentive, uncaring cavalier parent.

Of course people love their children and want to protect them from harm, but I'm not so sure about holding them prisoner out of fear.

Maybe we should move to a farming village when we have children.
 

bwep

Super Member
Forsberacct2000: Perhaps, I am reading a little much into what you have written concerning being a neurosurgeon and my spouse working b/c "she wants to, not b/c she has to." Are you trying to exclaim that I already make enough money? Everything we do in life is a choice. Bottome line, given collegiate loans, medical school loans, lifestyle etc... we must both work. I guess one can see it as a choice, just as a choice that I had in becoming a neurosurgeon and the the time and effort in doing so. I am sorry, but I take at offense at someone who can criticize another b/c one assumes that other may make alot of money just b/c of a title or an occupation. I get defensive when I think people are attacking phsyicians for how much "they earn." Again, maybe I am assuming something that I should not. But, when one boils it down we both work, and you are correct, and that is an individual choice that we both make.

I really do not want to waste time on the above. Rather, it is important to be an advocate for children!

"...always aspire to live simply and elegantly." - Madeleine Finn
 

VS

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by forsbergacct2000

But cows and horses kick sometimes - - - (I got bitten by a horse once, too.)

I was afraid of my sister's horse because it had bitten two people. I never wanted to be within three feet of his face.
 

Acct2000

Connoisseur - Moderator
Bwep, I edited my post because I could see that I at least was implying a judgement about you when I don't know you and have no right to make such a judgement. I usually stay away from that kind of thing and honestly don't know why I did it that time. (I edited it sometime before you reposted, but maybe you had not seen the edit.)

You are responsible for your life and certainly have the right to make your own decisions. I should not have been so personal, and I was hoping I edited before you (or too many other people) read it. Obviously, I was not fast enough.

I apologize.

While I am not a parent myself, I think when possible, it is best for a child to be in the care of his parents. This does not give me the right to tell others how to make parenting decisions, especially when I have never taken that step myself.

However, I still do think we are overprotective of our children and smother them in a lot of ways. (not carseats and bike helmets) There is probably a middle road where there is enough supervision to keep kids away from alcohol and drugs (in my case, I did way too much of this kind of thing in my high school years and am lucky I did not get into big time trouble) and a situation where the kid is so overscheduled that he makes no decisions for himself ever.
 

globetrotter

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by forsbergacct2000

Bwep, I edited my post because I could see that I at least was implying a judgement about you when I don't know you and have no right to make such a judgement. I usually stay away from that kind of thing and honestly don't know why I did it that time. (I edited it sometime before you reposted, but maybe you had not seen the edit.)

You are responsible for your life and certainly have the right to make your own decisions. I should not have been so personal, and I was hoping I edited before you (or too many other people) read it. Obviously, I was not fast enough.

I apologize.

While I am not a parent myself, I think when possible, it is best for a child to be in the care of his parents. This does not give me the right to tell others how to make parenting decisions, especially when I have never taken that step myself.

However, I still do think we are overprotective of our children and smother them in a lot of ways. (not carseats and bike helmets) There is probably a middle road where there is enough supervision to keep kids away from alcohol and drugs (in my case, I did way too much of this kind of thing in my high school years and am lucky I did not get into big time trouble) and a situation where the kid is so overscheduled that he makes no decisions for himself ever.

this is, like many parts of life, a huge problem with no easy answer.

I regret the fact that my son will not have the same type of childhood that I had, in some ways. I am happy that, in many ways, he may have a better one.

I certainly broke enough, and scraped enough, and did enough stupid things, and it was basically good for me. it is a hard balancing act to help him put himself in a little harms way, but not too much.
 

bwep

Super Member
forsbergacct2000: Thanks for your response. I did not see before the edit or repost. Having children definitely changes one's perspective. I used to feel that we, society, smother them with protection these days. I think that we do in some ways and we are better in others. I understand the spirit that I think (again personal interpretation) JLibourel intended his post, but I do not necessarily agree with some of the details. I am a big proponent of helmets, car seats, safety devices around the home and safety devices on toys etc. It is odd how many children do not run and play through the neighborhoods anymore. The likelihood of being picked up by a total stranger is exceedingly low. The risk that they can get hit by a car etc, much higher. We must use common sense.

Along the same lines of overprotection, parents are doing more for their kids. I mean I cannot tell you the work that is being done by parents rather than the child for homework, on a pre-school or elementary school level. Do parents think that teachers can't tell who did the work?

Or, what about the overbearing parent that forces their child to attempt to be a prodigy in an activity that they have no interest in participating in. Trying to get your three year old to be the next Tiger Woods or Mary Lou Retton is a little sick to me. We are starting children in sports at much earlier ages than we used to and I am not sure what they get out of it.

Basically, society and its relationship with children has changed. We just need to apply some common sense.

"...always aspire to live simply and elegantly." - Madeleine Finn
 

Acct2000

Connoisseur - Moderator
I agree that it's best not to push kids too much. I was precocious musically and adults made too much out of it. I played piano and keyboards professionally as an adult (on the side) for a long time, but adults took all the enjoyment out of it by the time I was a teenager.

They probably meant well.

Your dreams are not necessarily your child's dreams.

We agree about a lot more than we disagree.

Thank you for accepting my apology.
 

Horace

Senior Member
quote:Originally posted by bwep
As one half of working parents, the hardest thing that my wife and I have done was to leave our children in the care of a nanny. Hey, I would love it if we both didn't need to work, but we do.

I thought your message cogent, but this in particular caught my eye. Some have a different idea of "need". I wouldn't mind begining a discussion of whether we really "need" to have two parents working as often as we think we do. That last phrase being the important qualification, as I am sure with the rise of health costs among other things (such as the decline in real wages and buying power), those in the middle and working class have had to have both parents working. Often, I think those in the upper-middle class and above have both parents working out of choice or to finance artificial wants and, er, needs.
 

tiger02

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by Yckmwia
That is why I noted that it is "always Indian country someplace." Both here and abroad, there are always places of nameless dread where "merciless savages" plan the "undistinguished destruction" of good Americans of "all ages, sexes, and conditions." These enemies are implacable, irrational, and can only be dealt with by fire and sword. A common feature throughout the ages has been that these "merciless savages" are never provoked and are never aggrieved; they work day and night for our "undistinguished destruction," motivated by sheer bloodlust and evil. Thus, we are always innocent, always violated, always at the mercy of the unreasoning monsters, the "evildoers," who will attack us for no cause, and without warning. With the "war or terror" this form of collective derangement has been taken to a new level of abstraction; marry this to a both a professed worship of "the market" - a commodification of everything, such as Liberty Ship notes - and an infantilized news media that devotes endless hours of coverage to lurid crimes, and what do you have? A nation of terrorized money-grubbers, who amass private arsenals and won't let their children out of sight for fear of "sexual predators." It is both amusing and instructive to observe this contrived climate of fear backfire, as it has with the recent UAE/port imbroglio.
Y: First off, I'm not saying you're wrong. I think the climate of fear engendered by the media is distressing at best, dangerous at worst. I'll add that it's not uniquely American, nor uniquely Western. The fearfulness espoused by religious leadership in the Middle East would offend even you. Americans eat babies type stuff. Take a look at the recent Turkish film depicting an (actual) American raid mistakenly targeting Turkish soldiers and a (fictional) Jewish doctor taking organs from innocent Iraqi prisoners for sale in America and Israel.

I also believe that the preponderance of fear mongering comes not from either political party (though both sides do their best) but from the media. After all, it's what sells papers. So instead of reporting on the nearly unreal calm that broke out over Iraq following the bombing of the golden mosque, USA Today and all the others told us it was the first shots in all-out civil war.

That's why I get all my news from an unimpugnable source--the internet ;)

Tom

PS I should update my profile to show that I'm not in Germany nor particularly impressable by German advertising.
 

Hugh Morrison

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
The postings on cycling helmets are a prime illustration of how obsessive we have become in cossetting our children.

I am going to stick my neck out and say that bicycle helmets for children are in the main, useless, and are peddled (no pun intended) by their manufacturers as a way of cashing in on our fears about child safety.

Now, I am sure the gentleman who is a neurosurgeon has seen a lot of nasty cases of child head injury. One would expect that, but these things have to be kept in proportion.

The efficacy of cycle helmets is much disputed - they are polystyrene and plastic hats, not a magic talisman against injury. Assume, however, for the moment that they are.

If children should wear helmets while bicycling, surely they should wear them for all activities - walking, climbing ropes, swimming, boating, building treehouses, even sleeping in bed (might fall out on the floor - I did that often as a child). They should CERTAINLY wear them while sitting as passengers in a car as anyone who's seen a car crash will know what head injuries can ensue.


And while we're at it, why should helmets just be restricted to children? Surely adults should wear them for all activities, just in case they are injured? Why restrict themselves to helmets - why not body armour too? OK this has been a reductio ad absurdumbut you get the point.

I will, no doubt be attacked for wanting to 'see little kids get injured' etc. I'm just glad I had my childhood before all this hysteria got underway!


'The casual idea is the triumph of misguided egalitarianism. By playing to the desire to seem non-judgmental, the Slob has succeeded in forcing his tastes on the world at large (because to object to inappropriate dress would be judgmental)'- Patrick07690
 

globetrotter

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by Hugh Morrison

The postings on cycling helmets are a prime illustration of how obsessive we have become in cossetting our children.

I am going to stick my neck out and say that bicycle helmets for children are in the main, useless, and are peddled (no pun intended) by their manufacturers as a way of cashing in on our fears about child safety.

Now, I am sure the gentleman who is a neurosurgeon has seen a lot of nasty cases of child head injury. One would expect that, but these things have to be kept in proportion.

The efficacy of cycle helmets is much disputed - they are polystyrene and plastic hats, not a magic talisman against injury. Assume, however, for the moment that they are.

If children should wear helmets while bicycling, surely they should wear them for all activities - walking, climbing ropes, swimming, boating, building treehouses, even sleeping in bed (might fall out on the floor - I did that often as a child). They should CERTAINLY wear them while sitting as passengers in a car as anyone who's seen a car crash will know what head injuries can ensue.


And while we're at it, why should helmets just be restricted to children? Surely adults should wear them for all activities, just in case they are injured? Why restrict themselves to helmets - why not body armour too? OK this has been a reductio ad absurdumbut you get the point.

I will, no doubt be attacked for wanting to 'see little kids get injured' etc. I'm just glad I had my childhood before all this hysteria got underway!


'The casual idea is the triumph of misguided egalitarianism. By playing to the desire to seem non-judgmental, the Slob has succeeded in forcing his tastes on the world at large (because to object to inappropriate dress would be judgmental)'- Patrick07690


about 10 years ago I was hit by a car while riding my bike. the car hit me directly from behind, at about 20 mph - it had slowed down as it saw me. the angle was perfect for me, luckily. I was thrown foreward, in the air, landing on the rear wheel of my bike, and then the bike kept going forward and I landed on my butt, rolling back and hit my head on the asphault. the impact crushed my helmet, as it is supposed to do - the force was obsorbed by the helmet which cracked. although stunned, I was able to roll out of the road, at which point the car that hit me was hit from behind, and shot forward and rolled over the spot that I had been lieing in the road, and rolled right over my bike.

If I hadn't been wearing the helmit, I would have certainly gotten a concussion. much more importatnly, I do not believe that I would have been able to roll out of the way and I would have been crushed by the car while I lay on the road.

I have no doubt that bike helmets save lives.
 

Hugh Morrison

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I have no doubt that bike helmets save lives.

Certainly there are instances where a helmet could reduce injury, or even save someone's life - though I would argue such instances are rare, and the statistical, as opposed to the anecdotal evidence would appear to bear this out. If helmets do save lives, then we should also be wearing them just to cross the road or drive our cars, but we don't, do we? I have been cycling in London for twenty years and never injured my head, but I've injured it quite badly while putting up a shelf at home - so should I wear a helmet while doing DIY?

My point is not to do with the efficacy of helmets however, it is to show that many activities in children's lives which once aroused little concern (eg, cycling, playing without adult supervision) are now perceived to be more dangerous than the statistics bear out. A hysterical news media that feeds on fear promotes this, manufacturers of safety equipment promote this, etc etc.

Yet we are oddly selective about what we get scared about. Statistically a child is most likely to be sexually abused by a close relative, yet we persist with fears of strange men lurking in bushes waiting to pounce on them; statistically the number of child murders has not increased in about thirty years, yet we still assume children are at risk of being slain, we assume second hand tobacco smoke is 'killing kids' while ignoring the carcinogenic gases being pumped out by our cars, etc etc.

It all comes down to an irrational view of life as something to be feared and cowered away from, that seems to be becoming more and more prevalent.

'The casual idea is the triumph of misguided egalitarianism. By playing to the desire to seem non-judgmental, the Slob has succeeded in forcing his tastes on the world at large (because to object to inappropriate dress would be judgmental)'- Patrick07690
 

jeansguy

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Many tough questions here.

I'm 29 years old, I have never worn a bike helmet except when BMX racing as a child. I played with Lawn darts, had a BB gun and never shot an eye out or killed a neighbour.

It's easy to blame the overprotectiveness on the media, but it's difficult to ignore the parents role in all of this. It is fear. Too many people work hard today to get 'the Perfect Life' and will do almost anything to protect it. That means forcing your kid to wear a helmet on a scooter, not letting them out after supper and a whole host of other things.

It's indicitive of society as a whole I think. Too afraid to do the RIGHT thing, so we do whatever seems easy.

www.thegenuineman.com
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
Concerning a "climate of fear" and to what extent it is media fuelled, it may be instructive to note that parents over years have often used fear as a tool to control their children. My grandmother used to tell my uncle that if he strayed far from the house he might be abducted by the gypsies. When the gypsies ceased to hold much terror for him, she warned him that the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan might "get" him, this being the 1920s when the Klan was numerous and powerful nationwide. Why an Aryan white boy like my uncle would run afoul of the Invisible Empire she probably never bothered to explain.

I have read that for centuries after the Crusades, Arab mothers would warn their errant children that "Malik Rik" (King Richard the Lion-Hearted) would get them. Given that he has been dead for about 807 years, using old Coeur de Leon as bogeyman seems comparatively innocuous compared to Arab parents warning their children that the Jew would get them to grind their bones for the Matzoh of Zion, as I have heard is not uncommon!
 

Horace

Senior Member
quote:Originally posted by JLibourel

Concerning a "climate of fear" and to what extent it is media fuelled, it may be instructive to note that parents over years have often used fear as a tool to control their children. My grandmother used to tell my uncle that if he strayed far from the house he might be abducted by the gypsies. When the gypsies ceased to hold much terror for him, she warned him that the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan might "get" him, this being the 1920s when the Klan was numerous and powerful nationwide. Why an Aryan white boy like my uncle would run afoul of the Invisible Empire she probably never bothered to explain.

I have read that for centuries after the Crusades, Arab mothers would warn their errant children that "Malik Rik" (King Richard the Lion-Hearted) would get them. Given that he has been dead for about 807 years, using old Coeur de Leon as bogeyman seems comparatively innocuous compared to Arab parents warning their children that the Jew would get them to grind their bones for the Matzoh of Zion, as I have heard is not uncommon!

JLib -- what are the stand-out works that you've read on the Crusades?
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
quote:Originally posted by Horace

quote:Originally posted by JLibourel

Concerning a "climate of fear" and to what extent it is media fuelled, it may be instructive to note that parents over years have often used fear as a tool to control their children. My grandmother used to tell my uncle that if he strayed far from the house he might be abducted by the gypsies. When the gypsies ceased to hold much terror for him, she warned him that the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan might "get" him, this being the 1920s when the Klan was numerous and powerful nationwide. Why an Aryan white boy like my uncle would run afoul of the Invisible Empire she probably never bothered to explain.

I have read that for centuries after the Crusades, Arab mothers would warn their errant children that "Malik Rik" (King Richard the Lion-Hearted) would get them. Given that he has been dead for about 807 years, using old Coeur de Leon as bogeyman seems comparatively innocuous compared to Arab parents warning their children that the Jew would get them to grind their bones for the Matzoh of Zion, as I have heard is not uncommon!

JLib -- what are the stand-out works that you've read on the Crusades?

I honestly don't know if I could name a "standout" work I have read on the Crusades. I am not sure I have ever read a comprehensive work on all the Crusades, but I have read quite a few touching on various aspects of the Crusades, such as histories of the Templars and the Hospitalars. I have enjoyed several works by Steven Runciman, but I don't remember reading his multi-volume history of the Crusades. If I had to recommend a single work, that's probably what I would recommend.

I might mention that I never could claim a specialist's knowledge in the Later Middle Ages. It was a period I only studied superficially/
 
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