Why Are This Generation's Parents So Over Protective?
Whenever I mention that I drive my kids to school to someone who is in my parent's generation they always bring up how they had to walk to school and every where else. The truth is so did I. But I don't look back at that with pride as they do. Perhaps when my parents were school age they lived in less populated areas and walked past farms and neighbor's houses they likely knew very well. When I was a child we lived neighborhoods full of neighbors we knew well and many we didn't.
When I was a child most of us did walk to school I personally walked 2 1/2 neighborhood blocks to and from school every day. After we moved I walked the same distance but most of it was through a forest preserve that was right behind my house and led right to my school. I would never let my kids do that alone as I did most often. Many other parents my age and a little younger likely would not let their kids do it either.
So why are we, as a generation of parents so over protective? The truth is things happened to us when we were kids and our parents seemed to be oblivious that I had horrible things happen to me at least a hand full of times. Thankfully none of those things were life ending or permanently scarring (physically) but they are things I don't ever want any of my children to endure.
The least bad thing that happened to me is there was a man who used to wait for us kids to get off of school and he would sit in his car naked and fondle himself. He would park at the corner a block away from school, choosing a different block every week to sit at. I don't know a single kid at our school that did not see this man. The really sad thing is we were not even scared.
We just thought it was funny. Thankfully this man never left his car but it could have been a lot worse, and the really bad thing is most of us did not even tell our parents. These days this man would have been reported on day one of his little adventure, and every parent in the school district would be called, the school locked down and man would likely be caught and arrested in a matter of hours. Didn't my generation of children deserve the same swift safety? Well we did not get it.
The truth is we had sick people right in our neighborhood whose homes we walked by every day. There were boys in our neighborhood that frequently grouped up and over powered girls and took advantage of them on a regular basis. There were people that drove around threw things at people who were walking. Once when I was 15 my boyfriend was walking me home for the night and two guys got out of a car and beat him up for no reason. So as you can see not even boys were safe.
In our generation 1 out of every 3 girls had been sexually molested in one degree or another. That is a pretty high statistic and the statistic for a full rape was 3 in 10. Our parents were for the most part oblivious. Thinking that it was character building to make us walk. Most of us gained a little more character than we bargained for. Our parents were not bad parents they just did what their parents before them did. Still I don't know how my parents didn't worry every day between the time the school got out and the time we got home from school.
When I was in Junior High I took a bus in the morning but walked home with friends from school everyday and it was probably at least a 2 hour walk. Many times I would stop and hang out at a friend's house and as long as I got home by 5:00 for dinner my mom did not worry. That was an hour and half of time that I could have been missing because a kidnapper or a rapist. I am not saying I don't let my kids hang out at friend's homes but they have to call me and let me know where they are, and most times I will insist on driving them there, or having that child's parents drive them there. Today, there are cell phones which can help parents stay in touch with their kids or at least be able to track them.