How much is too much?

23 Mar

I’m all for protecting my children and keeping them safe, but how much information is too much?

In the article below, “Jendayi” writes in length about all the things we should be teaching our children, because “sex predators are everywhere, in church, in school”. When i was young we were just told “Don’t to talk to strangers.” Ok, considering that most crimes against children are committed by someone they know this probably doesn’t cut it anymore. But somehow I don’t feel comfortable sitting a small child down and going into detail about what is and is not acceptable behaviour from an adult, and how some people might be out to hurt them. I don’t want my child growing up believing that there are loads of “nasty people” out there.

Contrary to what Jendayi and the Daily Mail would like you to believe, we don’t live in a society where you need to be afraid of everyone and everything. There isn’t a paedophile on every corner, an axe murderer waiting to chop your granny up into small pieces. All children are not booze fuelled maniacs. The majority (if not all the people you will meet in your lifetime) are fairly decent and wouldn’t intentionally hurt your child. (well until they’re older and getting into drunken fights anyway). So, surely you would want to preserve that innocence and faith for as long as possible?

Am i burying my head in the sand? being dangerously naive?

I’m not for one minute suggesting it is not incredibly important to instill the right values in your child, to teach them all manner of sensible precautions for keeping safe – road safety, fire safety, personal safety . I’m just not sure it requires the kind of lecture that Jendayi is talking about. Does a child armed with all this information really become less of a target?

It reminds me of a documentary i once watched about women who wanted to, or had already microchipped their children. I clearly remember one particular mother telling her daughter why she had a microchip cut into her arm “anyone you meet might want to hurt you. You can’t trust anyone”. The girl was clearly traumatised. I wanted to weep and /or throttle this woman.

I don’t want my children thinking that anyone and everyone could be bad and nasty and intent on causing them harm.

So how much information is too much? I just don’t know. I’ve told my eldest that his “bits” belong to him and he can do what he likes with them. (although we are now trying to teach him that this shouldn’t really be on the sofa when we have guests). But that others shouldn’t.

I haven’t made a big issue of it, haven’t had some kind of “big talk”. I would rather leave it at that.

Jendayi’s article.

It’s very sensitively handled, I just can’t help feeling it’s all a bit much…..

4 Responses to “How much is too much?”

  1. Jenni March 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Hmm…well, I think it is important to explain good touch v. bad touch to your children when they are old enough so that they know they can come to their parents if something is happening that is uncomfortable. I think that is the most important thing, really – they know they can and should and need to tell their parent if anything bad happens, even if the person hurting them is a friend, or threatens them. I think the amount of detail you go into depends on the child.

  2. hpretty March 23, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Thanks Jenni. You might be right. I just really strongly feel that I want my children not to grow up with a disproportionate amount of fear. And certainly in the UK there is a growing tendency towards this, perpetuated by the tabloid media.

  3. bsouth March 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    I certainly don’t want my children believing that every adult they don’t know is a potential threat but I also want them to keep themselves safe. I have had a fleeting chat with the girl about not talking to adults she doesn’t know unless I’m around but that’s as far as it’s gone really.

    I think we are particularly bad in this country about demonising things and this is down to the tabloid media and also our “24 hour news” culture.

  4. Simone March 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    Hi, I just found you via the British mummy bloggers club… I think I’m with you on this one, pretty much. My children are 7, 5 and nearly 2. My husband is the Brit in our family – he is so security conscious and worried that ever person in the park could be a predator. I am a Kiwi girl, we grew up roaming the streets barefoot. I DID actually meet some “scary strangers” at the bus stop when I was 7 (and ctahcing the bus ON MY OWN with my 5yr old sister!)… they offered us sweets to go with them. A nurse saw what they were up to and intervened. I knew not to talk to strangers but my sister was tempted. YES there are bad people, but lets not take away our kids’ innocence and kid-ness by making them fearful and distrusting of everyone they meet. Lets tell them enough to keep them safe without going over the top. I’ve had conversations with my kids, I’ve told them that story. We don’t let them go into public toilets alone… but I want my kids to grow up thinking people are by and large good, with a few bad eggs thrown in to keep things interesting. I HATE all the fearmongering and paranoia.

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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