Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived - But Unreal - Risk?
It pairs quite nicely with the recent blog post "I'm Scared To Leave My Kids Along In The Car For Just A Few Minutes"So here's another possibility. It's not that risks to children have increased, provoking an increase in moral outrage when children are left unattended. Instead, it could be that moral attitudes toward parenting have changed, such that leaving children unsupervised is now judged morally wrong. And because it's judged morally wrong, people overestimate the risk.
Why is society like this? Why is there so much judgment - typically directed toward women - over risks that aren't even real? Why do we as a whole believe it is acceptable behavior to to judge and even harass others based on nothing more than a personal fear?It’s legal — or rather notillegal — in my state to leave a kid alone in the car. But we have child endangerment statutes, and those have been used to arrest parents under the pretense of ignoring the threat of kidnapping. Which is ridiculous. According to Free-Range Kids, only 115 children per year (in 1999, the last year we have stats for) are abducted by strangers. “Murders of children by abductors,” says the site, which compiles crime statistics against children, “constitute less than one half of 1% of all murders in America.”The sanity doesn’t matter. As so many sites claim, including the Brennan Foundation, public perception of crime is up. We helicopter-parent our children under the assumption that we’re keeping them safe. Helicoptering means keeping them in view at all times, and public perception says it’s the only responsible way to parent. Leaving your kids in the car is the ultimate in anti-helicoptering.