Jen and Barb, Mom Life: Featured : Are You a Protective Parent?

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Are You a Protective Parent?

Jennifer Regan

Guest Blogger: Jennifer of Eighty MPH Mom

I usually cringe when I see a small child alone, without an adult in sight.  Sometimes I see this when I am driving, and I shake my head in disbelief.  Where are this child’s parents?  I look around a bit, thinking that surely someone is keeping an eye out for this child, making sure they are safe. More often than not, I see nobody else around.  Terrible thoughts run through my head when I think of what could happen to the child in a blink of the eye.

My husband and I have always been extremely cautious (some say we are overprotective) parents.  The way we see it is we have only one chance to do this right and keep our children safe.  Call us what you want, but we would rather be safe than sorry.  We never, ever let our children play in the front yard without one of us (or another trusted adult).  Some of our neighbors just couldn’t understand this, but we knew we were doing the right thing.

I am not sure if the world has changed since I was a child, or if we are just hearing more about heartbreaking incidents due to coverage on a variety news channels, as well as on the plethora of social media sites.  I believe that times have changed. I remember leaving the house early in the morning, for a fun-filled day of play with my friends.  I typically wouldn’t return home until I heard my mom call me in for dinner.  Did my mom worry about my whereabouts?  I doubt it.  It wasn’t for a lack of care or concern on her part, but more that heart-wrenching stories about abduction, pedophiles, etc. were not as highly publicized as they are in these technological times.

I think she also felt that I was protected as we  had so many neighbors that we were friends with, and all parents watched out for all of the kids – not just their own.  Someone always knew where the kids were, and they made sure all were accounted for at all times.  Part of the reason this worked so well is that almost all of the mothers were stay-at-home moms back then.  We took turns going to each other’s houses or sometimes we just played outside all day long.  We didn’t have to report in throughout the day, and our parents were okay with that.  My husband has the same story to tell – he could play outdoors all day every day, without a care in the world.

Most of the parents in our neighborhood (and our previous neighborhood) work full time.  We cannot simply send our kids out to play and assume that they are okay, and that neighbors are keeping an eye on them.  It does make me sad that my children cannot experience the same freedom that I did as a child.  Sure I could let them be free spirits, but at what cost?  I need to know where my kids are and who they are with at all times – and you can be sure that they will not be roaming the streets, parks or neighborhoods without an adult.  It’s just not going to happen on my watch.

So yes, please call us protective.  Overprotective would not be an accurate title for us, as there is no such thing when it comes to a child’s safely and well-being.

Do you consider yourself “protective”?  Do you think times have changed from when you were a kid? Is the world such a scary place that we cannot let our kids be adventurous without us watching their every move?

eightmphmom

2 Responses to “Are You a Protective Parent?”

  1. Anna says:

    I too have been called over protective. I don’t mind it either, nor do I believe it is appropriate when it comes to describing a parent. There is no such thing in my opinion. You are correct-we only have one shot to make sure each of our children are not killed, abducted, raped… I see children sometimes as well and worry for them. I actually stopped once because 3 kids (age range apr 3-6) were playing near a main highway with no adult in site. Unlike you, I live in a rural area and my kids have always had a pretty fair amount of freedom to play and roam-not for the entire day or anything though. But it is nice to live in one of the few remaining places where you can let your 7yr old play with neighbors and your teen walk down the tracks to a friends, and you and your daughter ride to “town” without fear of being ran over.

  2. Kari says:

    My husband and I are very protective over our kids, even now that they are getting older (11, 14, 16, and 19). Ever since our kids were born, I’ve had to deal with my husband’s family chastising us and telling us that we are too overprotective. I’ve never felt comfortable having anyone in my husband’s family watch my kids. I think in today’s world, you just have to be very cautious and it’s naive to think something can’t happen in your own neighborhood.

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