Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being Overprotective: Is It Really That Bad These Days?

I pick and choose which stories I read (I don't watch television news unless E! counts, and no, I don't actually count that as real news either), clicking the links that interest me and skipping the headlines that make me uneasy. As naive as it sounds, my mantra is that if the headline scares me then I'm better off not knowing the story in its entirety, and that by not knowing what happened, bad things that happen to other people will not happen to me.

Three of the biggest stories in the United States right now revolve around crimes committed against children.  I have read the initial press on each of these stories, and regretted doing so immediately, therefor I chose not to read the millions of updated published seemingly by the hour. Reading the details of these crimes gave me nightmares. 

(I would caution you against reading them as they really are horrifying.):
These kids were hurt by teachers, parents, and neighbors and for what reason? Because the perpetrators viewed their lives as disposable, something that you discard after it's served its purpose. Perpetrators who at one point were trusted, even admired by the little ones that threw them away. It simultaneously chills me to the bone and makes my blood boil.

Also, it puts me in an uneasy position, choosing between warning my babies about situations that put them in harm's way or keeping them innocent and unafraid of things that they're too young to understand.

A part of me thinks that the best plan of action is to uproot them from life as they know it and start over in the middle of nowhere, like pioneer life, or something similar. Homeschooling them on topics that I feel they should know about and leaving the rest out. Feeding them food that have touched no hands other than our own, grown from the soil at our feet. We would have no television, no internet, no radio. Our clothing would be hand-stitched, and our closest friends not related by blood would be the squirrels in the yard. Even as adults, they would not be permitted to leave the homestead.

The other part of me realizes that a move like that would be selfish because it's pretty much like starting our own little cult... (I'd like to add in here that I'm not trying to equate homeschooling, gardening, sewing, family time, disregard for technology, etc to being in a cult in any way. Only the parts about selective teaching based on personal interest/beliefs and never allowing them to leave the family.)

Maybe it's me coming to terms with the fact that as my children grow up, I can't always save them. They will meet people and have conversations or experiences that I may never know about. They will be hurt, afraid, embarrassed, vulnerable in many ways and I won't be there to protect them. I don't even want to think about those instances. It's more comfortable for me to believe that my kids will always do as I say, with those that I know and trust, and will never hurt for any reason.

I will say this though, Hell hath no fury like the mama whose baby has been intentionally harmed. We'll leave it at that and consider it a warning to any twisted individuals out there - remember those words.

If someone hurts one of my babies, maybe they'll quote that as the headline when I retaliate.

I'd love to know everyone else's thoughts on this topic:

Should we hold them back for their own safety and our own peace of mind? (Even though you're choosey about who your child spends time with, please remember that these parents at one point felt comfortable with the interactions too.) 
Do you let them experience life as an independent thinker making their own decisions , then dealing with issues as they arise? (Everything in moderation of course, I absolutely do not mean that you should or would allow your child free reign at all times - you're the parent, set your own boundaries.)