We, as parents have to become more aware. We need to recognize that our neighborhoods have the potential of being a dangerous and deadly place and as parents, it’s our responsibility to get that fact through our childrens heads. Now, before you start screaming about the good ‘ole days- take a deep breath. This isn’t 1960 or 1970, even if it was- the dangers back then are still the same dangers our children face today. Pedophiles didn’t just drop to earth in the late 90’s, dangerous dogs didn’t just spring from the ground in the mid 2000’s, swimming pools (empty or filled) didn’t just grow over night, bad people didn’t just start sprouting all over town recently- alllll of these things have been around since… the dawn of mankind?
A young 6 year old boy died the other day. This young boy climbed the fence into a yard with a dog running around in it. Whatever happened- no one knows- but the child was viciously mauled and killed. Yet, another 100% preventable death- which makes it even more heartbreaking. Over and over I read BSL advocates typing, “ I remember back in my day- we climbed fences into EVERYONES yard without asking for permission. We were boys just being boys!” I must say, those BSL advocates must have had some truly crappy parents. Now, I don’t know about you- but if I caught one of my children climbing the fence into ANYONES backyard without permission- well, it would not be a great day for my children. Why? Because my neighbor could have dirty aids infested needles scattered in their backyard. My neighbor could have dead bodies laying around. My neighbor could have an unfenced backyard pool, filled or not- both can be deadly. My neighbor could have a dog, snake, tiger, komodo dragon, goat, pig running around in their backyard and might not take kindly to a kid running around in the backyard unsupervised. My neighbor could be a serial killer, a rapist, a drug dealer, a pimp, a sex trafficker, a pedophile or just not a very nice person. The bottom line is- my or your neighbor could be ANY of those things and by giving your child the dangerous idea that going onto peoples property without permission is just “kids being kids” can be deadly.
There is nothing wrong with installing a healthy sense of fear in our children Our children need to know that the world can be a dangerous because it’s the truth. We are hurting our children by giving them unrealistic view of the world and sometimes it leads to a deadly consequence. I’m fine with my children being cautious of strangers- hell, I’m an full grown woman and I’m cautious of strangers. I’m fine with my children having a healthy fear of being in the water unsupervised- we live in a state were we hear about unsupervised children drowning in pools almost weekly. I’m perfectly fine with the fact that my children pause before they do something and ask themselves- “Is my mom going to kill us for doing this?” because I know if they are pausing to ask themselves that then they already know the answer to that question.
As much as people want to believe that the world has changed, that it has somehow evolved into this super safe place where our kids can just run around unsupervised- I hate to be the bitter pill of truth. The world has not changed. The world stays the same, the dangers evolve but never disappear and what cave men did to keep their children safe is exactly what the parents these days need to do. Just be aware. Take the time to yell at your kid to get off the damn fence, put down the iphone and tell your kid to leave the dog alone, shut the T.V off and ground your kid for behaving recklessly. At the end of the day, our children’s lives are in our hands and their future depends on just how aware you are of them.