Hi Readers! I got this note and, in addition to being appalled, I was angry. The 10 year old in the story is literally being scared out of his wits by his mom. By”wits” I mean his brain, his senses. His mom is teaching him never to employ those, but to automatically go straight to fear. There is no way for this kid to learn how to distinguish between “pretty safe” and “dangerous.” It’s ALL dangerous. Good ol’ Worst-First Thinking, for a new generation.
At Free-Range Kids, we encourage kids to sharpen their wits, not snuff ’em out. — L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: Recently, we had a 10 year old over to play with my sons, ages 7 and 9. I realized, however, that I had an appointment to go to. I told this boy he could either go home or accompany us to my appointment. He said he wanted to stay with us. With this in mind, I brought a laptop with a movie to keep the three of them entertained for the 45 minutes I expected to be 5 feet away from them, inside an examination room just off of the waiting area. (This office is not busy and there is only one other practitioner, so I knew they would only possibly encounter one other human “stranger” in the time I was in my appointment.)
In the car, I explained to this 10 year old where I would be and that they would watch a movie. Unfortunately the preview threw this kid into a full-fledged panic. He said, “Oh, no, I can’t do that. Oh, no. No way. I’m not supposed to be somewhere alone or I’ll be abducted.”
I asked, “Who is going to abduct you?”
“The people,” he said.
I compassionately explained that I would be five feet away, simply IN THE NEXT ROOM, just like I am when he plays at our house, and that he would not be alone. If he needed me he could knock on the door or call out my name and I would come right out.
Unfortunately, my explanations made zero impression on this child. Apparently, his mother had drilled into him a fear of stranger abduction so deep that he could not fathom sitting in a room with two other kids only feet away from a trusted adult. I instead drove him home to his mother who thanked me and said she would never let him sit in a waiting room “alone.”
This world she is afraid of is not a world I care to live in, so I don’t. I choose to live in a different world. One in which my kids can feel they are safe. — A Frustrated Free-Range Mother of Two
Filed under: Crazy Parents, Uncategorized, Walk to School / Stay Home Alone / Wait in Car | Tagged: abduction, doctor, paranoia, sense, stranger danger, waiting room, wits, worst-first | 128 Comments »