Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Parenting Fears

I'm not a parent who's really into the fear thing. Okay, yes, I worry--after all, that is one of my top five activities, after "haranguing" and "nagging"--but I wouldn't say that one of the hardest things about parenting is how terrified I am that something bad will happen to my child. [Knock on wood! God! Obviously!]

So when I read this article in BabyCenter's Big Kid Bulletin, I wasn't surprised that my "Top Five Parenting Fears" didn't match up.

Here's what moms are worried about nationwide:

1. Not measuring up.

Apparently parents are worried that their kid isn't reaching his/her academic potential and will fall by the employment wayside as a result. As someone who TOTALLY reached her academic potential, complete with a mind-bogglingly expensive ivy-league education, and STILL managed to fall by the employment wayside, I tend to scoff (gently) at this one. Of course, I still stress and moan about my children's educational opportunities, but I stress and moan equally about how the educational opportunities I do get them are crafting them into little entitled snooties.

2. Stranger Danger.

I HATE it when people say things like "THESE days, you can't be too careful" and "when I was growing up, the world was safer" because NO, IT WASN'T. Not if you grew up in the seventies, anyway. Stranger danger was FAR WORSE, then, and okay, that's probably partly due to the fact that parents today are totally paranoid and feel the need to escort their children to the actual physical custody of teachers, babysitters, etc., and so pedophiles just don't have a chance to do their thing. But it's also true that it's far more likely--FAR, FAR more--that my kids will get molested/ abused/ mentally scarred by teachers, friends or relatives (grownups AND KIDS) than by someone just happening by them in the street. So, yes, in fact, I DO let my kids play out front without (much) supervision. If they had friends who lived in our neighborhood, they could bike/ walk there alone and I would be okay with that.

3. Accidents and injuries.

This one matches for me. My number one fear: that my kids will d-i-e. Duh. Or become permanently incapacitated. And that it will turn out to be my fault.

4. Bullying.

I do worry about this one, but I also worry that my kid (my older one, anyway) will BE the bullier. He's kind of bossy, and he's discovered the secret to most humor: make fun of someone else, and everyone will laugh. GOD. Asshole, right? And unfortunately, there are lots and lots and LOTS of examples of this in real life (meaning TV, of course). Now that we all watch prime time together, Hubs and I find ourselves having to explain that while yes, we just laughed at that joke on The Office, it wouldn't be funny if it were really happening, and also, how do you think Jan feels about having her expensive new stroller run over several times by Dwight?

5. Weight issues.

I don't worry about this one so much, but we do talk a lot about the need for a healthy lifestyle, one that blends couch-potatoing with biking and swimming, and the need to eat healthy food, which blends the Easter candy with the veggies. In fact, this is a favorite "harangue" topic in our house. That doesn't mean I'm afraid of it, though.

What I DO worry about (besides the ones hidden in the responses above):

1. My kids will grow up to be entitled jerks.
2. My kids will become drug addicts, or drug dealers. Although actually the last one worries me less. At least it would be a JOB.
3. My kids will grow up to be bankers. GOD, that would be awful, wouldn't it?
4. My kids will grow up to be vaguely clueless automatons who aren't so much "insensitive" to the feelings of others as "unaware."

And truthfully, in numbers one to four above, you could replace "my kids" with "my oldest kid" and they would be just as true. I.e., I seem to have some ISSUES with parenting him. Hmph.

Top TOP Parenting Fear: I will so totally bog my son down in my issues with parenting a boy that he will a) be ruined and b) hate me forever once he figures this out.


Jess said...

I am totally with you on all this stuff. I mean, hypothetically, since I don't have kids.

Oz said...

My current top fear is that my son will move halfway across the country and have the sort of distant, vaguely loving, talk once per month relationship with me that my husband has with his own mother.

The drug addict/general delinquent fear is right up there, too. First, biting, then sling shots, then BB guns, then lord knows what.