Silly Shit Parents Fear (That Cool Moms and Dads Can Admit)

Fear and Child

  • If my child sleeps unusually long she may have suffocated on her blanket.
  • When I'm not looking, someone may hurt, abduct/kidnap my child.
  • Throwing my baby up in the air could constitute Shaken Baby Syndrome.
  • If I put pictures of my child on facebook, a pedophile will find them.
  • I'm going to forget my baby somewhere!
  • I pressed my baby's soft spot too hard, and now she'll have brain damage!

Hey, I'm not saying it's stupid to fear for our children's safety (or that these things never happen), but moms and dads can have sleepless nights over stuff that's not very likely to hurt our kids. I think I've grown more fearful with each child I've had (more children=more risk one will be seriously hurt sooner or later... right?). But, having three children has also forced me to be more efficient in how I

Budget Fear: 

I can't invest very much in things that are extremely unlikely to hurt my children when there are realistic dangers we're more likely to face.

Knowing that (for instance) 1 in 2 women experience some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime, I have significant reason to fear that my 2 daughters don't have very good odds, or that I may not be teaching my son NEVER to make any woman part of that statistic. 

Fear is not complacent.

And that's the type of fear that compels me to ACT: I talk to my three year old about her body, what's private, and how to protect it (without using language that communicates that everyone is out to hurt her). I create opportunities to frame chats with my teenage son about how he should be treating women in various situations. 

I try to find ways to teach my kids what they need to know so they'll be OK when I'm not looking.

I think fear is a gift, part of our natural instincts meant to put intuition into action and keep us safe. If anxiety, worry, and fear don't accomplish that, they're worthless to our kids. Worse, fostering fear without considerate action is one of the best ways to invite danger, mis-identify threats, and leave kids unprepared and fearful of the world. 

Ultimately I feel the most critical part of my job is to show my kids how to successfully, and safely interact with the world... without me, and in a world that seems to grow increasingly more hazardous. I know that I cannot prevent everything and that worrying alone prevents nothing.


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What do you fear most as a parent?

And what do you do about it?
Tell me in the comments below.