My brother has been out of high school for about 9 years now, but It took me 6 whole years to consider the possibility that something was wrong. I was in undergrad and focused on my studies, and then moved to NYC, so my time wasn't really spent at home with my brother, which should never be an excuse when it comes to family. But I let it be. Until my child was born.
9 years ago, my brother dropped out of high school and started seeing a therapist with the help and support of my dad. Both of them hid this from me until a month ago. The details of his high school days weren't revealed, but my brother has spent 9 full years dreading human interaction. I scolded him a year ago for not wanting to come to my wedding, and a month ago, begged him to come celebrate Christmas with my in-laws so that he can meet his nephew. He didn't end up coming, and that's when my dad finally revealed the details of the past 9 years.
It doesn't have to come to death to point out our primal fears as fathers. I used to be ambitious for the sake of being ambitious, but the arrival of my son, confounded with the revelation of my brother, has lead to a change in perspective. Everything can change in an instant, and contrary to the popular opinions of HN, the largest changes in our lives are beyond our control. The utter powerlessness of not being able to rewind to 9 years ago to be there for my brother gets at me. As does my fear and uncertainty of the life my son will be subjected to.
1. Forget the term "playdate". Don't schedule your kids' time to play with other children. I know it sounds strange, but adults used to have adult lives and people would just go visit each other. Their kids would play together while the adults did their thing.
2. Don't post pictures of your kid all the time on social media. No one really cares. Sorry. Send those pictures to your parents or friends directly. Better yet, go over to visit them and show them pictures in person. If you can, drop social media as much as you can stand, and just enjoy the fact that you love your child as much as every parent without turning parenting into social signalling and narcissistic indulgence.
3. Remember that your kids will leave you. They will go away to preschool, grade school, maybe college. And then one day, they will leave for the last time to set out on their own. Yes, you need to protect them, but if you are fearful and see the world as ugly, your kids will sense that growing up and most likely feel the same way. Do you want to send them out to the wide world with a viewpoint that the world is a scary place? Is the world a scary place? Why did the world turn ugly and scary when you had a child?
These are just my opinions, and there is no wrong way to do it. There's all sorts of ways of living. I just hope you find something that gives you some faith in your ability to raise a child that will turn out just fine. Because he or she will.
For many people, social media is how you send things to parents and friends. It's more straightforward than managing an email list, and needn't be any less real a connection.
I don't deny that ubiquitous social media is deforming our interactions, but I think a lot of people don't understand why Facebook et al got so popular in the first place. It's not just email for idiots. It's a tremendously useful tool for maintaining connections with a large and changing group.
The connection via Facebook is so trivial and transient but it is better than no connection to people I'd have no contact with otherwise.
The people I email photos too will probably look at them a few times and may want to print them and will send an email response. Via FB it's all seen and then forgotten in 30s
For me to send a birthday card to my friends I have a reminder that goes off a week before their birthday so that I find the time to go out get a relevant card. Then writing something of purpose inside the card and sending it with enough time to get there. So it's a week's worth of remembering their birthday vs the 30s that occurs in FB before reading all the other news.
So not worthless, but certainly worth less, to almost zero.
But I was recently at a wedding, and was prompted to post a few photos up (more to share the photos with the bride/groom in a way that can also be seen by their friends too). It surprised me the number of messages I got saying how people loved seeing pictures of the kids and how they'd grown etc etc.
I don't have time to keep up with a lot of these old friends (many live far away) so I count this as a positive interaction on facebook.
Every time we get into a car, we are choosing to take a risk not only with our own life, but with the lives of everyone else near the road. I mean, we kind of choose that by continuing to live in areas where our density makes public transit less practical, but there's a lot to be said for just taking the responsibility of driving a lot more seriously, and treating driving as something risky, and taking steps to drive less.
The message was something else - sometimes, bad things just happen to people, and there is little you can do about it other than move on, and learn from the experiences.
It is also very controllable.
That is why it gets the focus that it does.
The trouble is, it's easy to get distracted by speed as a coefficient in collision intensity, and not pay attention to what causes that collision in the first place.
People often think that because speed is such an important factor that they shouldn't drive faster to help traffic flow, or even that they should block faster traffic. Those actions are very likely to cause collisions, which is more important than the factor they are trying to minimize.
The likelihood of a collision causing death is just as proportional to mass. A semi hauling a trailer cannot stop in a short enough distance to prevent some collisions, and can be deadly even at very low speed. Even so, we realize the impracticality of reducing mass, so we focus on speed instead.
The real problem we need to focus on is collision prevention, not collision mitigation. Let's stop ignoring the reality of "bad fate", and do real work to minimize it's occurrence instead.
There's a whole slew of other pedestrian-friendly street design that we could & should adopt as well, but that doesn't make speed any less of a valid approach.
I'd wager, also, that speed itself is rarely the direct cause of an accident. High speed, though, will make an accident more severe. My bet is that distracted driving is the #1 cause of accidents. On my daily 2-hour round trip on Chicagoland highways, I usually see 4-6 accidents each involving >2 cars. The shear amount of people I see on their phones is staggering. Hard to tell if it's social media or texting, but you can always tell because their head is staring at their lap, or they're holding their phones at the top of the steering wheel for all to see. I also see people with their phones mounted on their dashes watching movies or TV shows. Playing with your phone while driving is far more dangerous than paying attention & speeding.
That sounds like an extraordinary statement to me, by which I mean that you need to support it.
First, let me make a distinction between crashes where drivers lose control after the collision, either due to shock to the driver or damage to the car, and crashes where they don't. In the latter case, I agree with you; a freeway scrape where both cars can slow in a controlled manner is probably pretty safe. And you are more likely to have that sort of accident when you are going at similar speeds in the same direction. But it's not a certain thing;
Cars are complex systems, and designed to operate without colliding with other vehicles. Cars are also much more likely to lose control when they are operating closer to their speed design envelope.
However, in the case where either the car or the driver is incapable of continuing to control the vehicle, at that point the car continues to hit other things until it's stopped (and is often hit then by traffic that isn't stopped.) At that point, total speed matters a lot.
There is just a whole lot more energy involved when you are moving fast than when you are moving slowly, and when energy is dispersed in an uncontrolled manner near people, those people tend to get hurt.
Certainly! Falling from great height isn't dangerous either, you know.
For example, a 4-lane road that I drive on to get to the city will usually have two cars in the front driving practically the same speed, and slower than the traffic behind them. To fix this situation, the car on the left should speed up and get over, so that traffic can flow around it and spread out. Unfortunately, there is so much educational focus and enforcement on speed limits that the driver on the left believes [s]he is driving correctly.
In addition the density of the traffic can be so high that just a single wrong step can decide your destiny every minute.
> In large central metro areas, those aged 35–44 years (2.08), 45–54 years (2.60), 55–64 years (2.60), 65–74 years (3.36), 75–84 years (5.19), and ≥85 years (5.24) had statistically higher death rates than those in the same age groups at other urbanization levels. 
The road system is designed with inherent danger. The street she was driving had a high speed limit with children near the road. If we design better systems, then no one has to live with needless guilt. And, even better, less people die.
However, the message I take away from this is that somehow we have accepted into society this incredibly dangerous thing which while convenient it not necessary at all. While we make everything else in society safe, we seem to ignore the most dangerous thing around us, that kills around 1.3 million people every single year.
We treat automobiles as a necessity of modern life in all places, but it wasn't always this way. In the 1910s and 20s, many writers excoriated all of the roads bringing dangerous cars into places where people live and play. It turns out they were right, but we just became blind to the danger.
Read Super Freakonomics for the interesting data that they observe between the two.
(My assertion is that if we had a place where we had US standard driving safety requirements but more than half the miles traveled were via public transit, we would have fewer per capita injuries. Or more generally, that the per capita injuries goes up with miles driven in cars. I have so far failed to provide statistical evidence of this.)
I drove a couple of times after that, but the screaming kids in the back of the other car was enough for me.
Now I cycle everywhere. Or get the train. I was not prosecuted or anything but I didn't want to almost kill anyone (and their family) ever again.
I consider myself lucky.
Point being: cycling is good too.
Even so, cycling is wonderful. I certainly recommend it.
It's possible that local traffic circumstances invalidate these for many locations, but at least the "generally" part of your claim seems to be reaching too far.
Out of interest, do you have a citation for that in European countries?
Danger goes both ways. If you are on a bicycle rather than in a car, you are more susceptible to the danger created by the cars around you. In effect, all of the cars around you are more dangerous than they were before, because there is a cyclist (you) on the road.
Two things greatly increased the probability of a fatal incident in this case:
1. Mailbox across the street from the home: If the mailbox was on the same side of the street as the home, there would be less cause to cross the street.
2. High speed roadway in a residential area: 45 mph is much too high for a residential neighborhood; 25 mph is generally regarded as safe.
I'd be hard pressed to call a rural area a residential neighborhood.
I used to live on a road like this, it's not exactly a neighborhood like in most cities (so "residential neighborhood" may not have been accurate) - it's a linear neighborhood along the road. We were lucky enough to have our mailbox at the end of our driveway, not across the street; if our mailbox had been across the street, it would have been unsafe to walk and get the mail.
The proper engineering solution to this is to have an angled turn-off on to a side road (either perpendicular or parallel) which /is/ limited to a "safe residential speed".
You may be correct about the authors intent; I maybe should have attached this to one of the threads where fathers talk about their vigilance in protecting their young, but I usually avoid talking directly about children and how they should be raised, because being someone who doesn't have or want children, my words often sound more offensive than I intend.
It is true that we should take "the responsibility of driving a lot more seriously, and treating driving as something risky" but treating this as a story about driving less broadly misses the point.
It is terrible that a child did not get to live his life, and there is nothing we can do in hindsight to bring that opportunity back to him.
It is also terrible to torture this woman over a flaw in the system. She was paying attention, and driving the speed limit. She was not at fault. Her actions could not be changed to lower the likelihood of her accidentally killing another child. Only the surrounding circumstances can be changed.
We do not accept how dangerous this is. This is severe carelessness. We should all recognise that driving more than 30 mph when there's houses around has the real possibility of killing someone. We shouldn't need the Government to tell us, we should be aware every time we step in our car that it can kill.
Plus the woman makes no indication of how close she was to the other cars. I will never believe that she is completely blameless.
The people killed by cars are the most cruel, because in every other way they were healthy.
I don't know how you can possibly think it's appropriate to tell somebody who is suffering through the grief of accidentally killing a child that "it IS your fault".
Striving to drive less is a great thing to do for many reasons, but the vast majority of people will still be required to drive regularly. Some of those people will have genuine accidents. We don't currently live in a world where it is possible to completely prevent traffic accidents (which, for the record, are also occasionally caused by cyclists and frequently caused by pedestrians)
It is inevitable that some people will be involved in tragic accidents, and your comment does nothing to prevent that. It just makes life worse for the people in that situation
Wd usebplastic, wrong for ecology. We wear t-shirts, manufactured by poor people in China. We watch TV, whuch uses electricity bad for the environment. We drive i syead of walking, we eat non-sustainable stuff.
I could go on, and show how much of our "choices" are wrong and how, everyday, we "decide to make them".
So this boils down to either mental sanity or some kind of Amish life.
It's seriously this stupid. There's no driving test after you're initially licensed, nor any recurrence training required. All you have to do in most states is pay a fee to get a license renewed, and you can do it online. They just want the money. Some states will want your vision retested, in my state that's only once every 10 years.
My elderly aunt could teach me how to drive, start to finish, exclusively. That's legal. Her view is that driving is a right, not a privilege. The government's role is only to prove that you're incompetent to hold a license, otherwise it's between you and your insurance company.
I don't see this worldview changing very soon. I'm not confident autonomous vehicles will take over any time soon, but whenever I think of the reality of car driver incompetency it makes me wish it could happen much sooner.
This, if enforced, would internalize the externality of injury into the cost of driving, and probably would make driving dramatically more expensive, which would hopefully create demand for alternate systems.
I learned from that. I won't tolerate no amount of bullying, shaming, or excluding of an individual of groups I take care of or am part of. If they'd care it is not difficult for adults to stop bullying of kids by kids.
Even in your peer group it isn't always difficult to block bullying. If you are open, direct, loud, and confrontential enough against the transgressors, they usually stop. Though, care must be taken to not bully themselves.
I think that those that bully have themselves been hurt before or have other issues, and bullying is just a way to deal with. So, having that in mind can make it easier to deescalate these situations.
It becomes even more difficult if you finally decide to open up about how hurt you are, and you are brushed away, and not taken seriously.
As weird as it sounds, it helps to read a comment like yours to see that there are people that care, so thank you for sharing.
I agree with you that bullies themselves have been hurt and bullying is a way to deal with it. Ever since I found out my brother was bullied, I came to the realization that this social interaction may be a situation where your best defense against bullies is actually being a bully. I don’t want to believe that, but deterrence is a real thing. For me personally, I simply laughed off the bullies when I was young, and that worked. But that was my genuine reaction to the bullies, and I just happened to have it in me to just laugh.
I'm not bullied any more, and can effectively defend myself now.
I'm not sure I learned to cope with having been bullied, or if I ever will. It is an invisible scar that shows itself in counterintuitive, suprising, and sometimes creeping ways. I don't know how to generically deal with it. Self-chosen social isolation is an intuitive way to deal with it, though I don't want it for myself.
I'm quite stubborn and don't easily give in to social pressure, so that might have made it easier for me. I'm also curious and want to try out new things, so I try to benignly ignore social conventions to see what happens and learn from that. This has made me in some aspects very social, because consciously refusing or experimenting with implicit social norms can lead to behaviour that is not often seen. For example, a coffeehouse is not for people to drink coffee even though that is the implicit convention; It is much easier, cheaper and more comfortable to drink a coffee at home. People go to coffeehouses for social interaction. I realize that and act accordingly. I just go to people I'd like to talk with and ask them if they feel like chatting. My experience with that has been astonishingly positive, so I assume my understanding is correct. But doing that is not easy for everyone because the fear of rejection is so strong, even when the decision to try it was made very consciously. Humans are masters at unconscious interpretation of behaviour and social situations. We know when and who to talk to about what because we dread social punishment so much. This is just one example, and I don't understand psychology very well including my own, but hey, at least I can share my experience. :)
I learnt how to act as a bystander from many experiences. There is a good german explanatory video that gives an introduction. Key to stop bullying is to understand that passive bystanders make the situation for the victim significantly more painful. Those around can easily and effectively stop most bullying. If you are bullied it can help to call out passive bystanders directly and individually.
Deterrence absolutely works, and it is not necessary to bully others to build up deterrence. For instance adults can easily seem like demigods for children; unsurmountably strong, more knowledgeable and experienced, larger and heavier, with deeper lower voice and unmatchable social standing. This is why children don't often pick on adults.
My radar is up whenever I am in public with my daughters. I notice if strangers look for too long in their direction or if I see someone hanging out where children are, without a child of their own.
Occasionally, I'll spot another father like me. We'll lock eyes for a moment and it's clear that we recognize each other (for what we are, not necessarily who we are) and then go back to scanning the area.
I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your brother. Kids can be horrible to each other. I don't say that to minimize his experience but to say that I understand.
This heightened awareness that you feel, it comforts me to know that there are others out there. Obviously, there are no guarantees in life but your vigilance will give your son a better shot at safely reaching adulthood than many other boys who don't have someone looking out for them like that.
A very young child needs supervision and precautions to prevent them from hurting themselves, as this article sadly shows, and even then, its blind bad luck sometimes.
But otherwise I can’t think any of my family (two young kids, 1 year and 8 years) or friends (many kids of various ages) being super cautious about their kids in public. I don’t live in the USA, mind you.
We let daycare staff care for the little ones, which includes daily walks through the downtown core. We let kids walk to school on their own when they turned 10, we let them play unsupervised outside around age 7, or go for a bike ride with neighbor kids, etc. It’s not that different from when I was growing up. Hanging out and playing the at the park is probably less of a thing, perhaps, but that’s more because of iPads and Xboxes than safety.
A small boy had wandered off and was found dead in a pond, he had fallen in and drowned because he could not swim. It turned out that the child had been seen by a labourer cleaning a ditch, but he had no cellphone and did not intervene because he feared the pedophile hysteria and did not want to be seen with a child that wasn't his.
It's understandable if you remember what Rupert Murdoch's Sun was like.
The original group of kids played across a very large area (something like a couple square miles of woodland) and roamed across their hometowns with little oversight.
Two decades later their children by comparison were very closely monitored and played in controlled areas or fenced yards only.
The reasoning of the parents being that crime and abduction have risen when in fact they’ve fallen by a huge amount.
There’s no real sane reason behind it - I’m a parent and there’s no way I’d let my kids play in the local woods alone despite doing so myself as a kid. The world ‘feels’ less safe and it’s very hard to overcome our feelings even when we know they’re irrational.
This really resonates. My kid for example has wanted one of these little scooters which you see toddlers riding around everywhere. I've been refusing up until recently when I realized that by denying her access not only am I excluding her from a valuable social experience with her friends who own scooters but I'm quite possibly harming her ability to master and safely ride the thing.
It's important to realize that sometimes when you're saying to your kid "I don't think you're ready" you're really talking about yourself as a parent.
New father here...do you feel comfortable talking about what life skills / experiences you missed?, so I can (try to) avoid making the same mistakes?
Yes, we did, and the media-driven false perception was already well-established 20 years ago; I saw papers about the media-driven false perception in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
Media sensationalism isn't new. Even the heightened form driven by the 24-hour news cycle is older than that (CNN, the 24-hour news network that drove the 24-hour news cycle, is 37 years old. Fox News and MSNBC, the two competing general 24-hour news networks that made that cycle competitive were each founded 21+ years ago in 1996.)
Obviously with little kids in an urban environment we kept them pretty close to home. Once they were in 7th and 8th grade then the ranges got longer. And honestly, it was a challenge dealing with my spouse and other families who insisted on hover-parenting or refusing to let their kids walk 3 blocks to our house. To a certain degree, that is to their detriment because it doesn't allow kids to learn and explore.
Of course, my argument, along with the article above, was "They sneak out at night and wander all over multiple neighborhoods, so why do you feel the need to keep them in your sight at all times?" But that leads to lots of other parenting stories that I'm not going into here.
I balance the likelihood with the potential consequences when making my decision.
For example, logically, I know that there's no danger of contracting anything from sitting on a public toilet seat but I still make a bird's nest when I have to poop in a public place.
Intellectually, I know that the world is now statistically safer than it was when I was a child but I still do not allow my children to roam unsupervised in public places.
I choose to guard spend more time being vigilant against the former.
I imagine it's the deceptively mundane that is the true danger, automobiles being the most obvious.
A few months ago, I discovered that one lived on my street. He has since been arrested and is no longer in the neighborhood.
But, it's not just out-of-place perverts. I am also on the lookout for under supervised children who "play" too violently.
I knew that I would be concerned about vehicles, so I was sure to buy a house with a large, fenced in, backyard. It's away from the street and even adjacent to a small patch of woods. They can have outdoor adventures and I can have peace of mind.
They're also not left unsupervised with clergy.
Can you expand? What type of father are you?
Honestly, you'd do better to be more vigilant of bees and mosquitoes, both of which are much more likely to kill or harm your child than a stranger abducting them.
Try not to worry so much. ;)
BTW if you want to give your kids the best chance at later childhood, select their school not based on hearsay or image, but based on how resilient, motivated and kind/warm their teacher-to-be is. Those teachers keep bullying at a minimum, and let kids keep their natural curiosity. Spending 4-5h every day in class can make or break you at 6-8y old.
Everything I know suggests to me these two things are profoundly interrelated and that if you can sort out how it is you did not see your brother's distress and/or did not understand that it had to come from somewhere, you will feel more comfortable as a father.
That isn't a personal attack. I was molested as a child and I knew how to protect my sons from the same. I did not live with the kind of fear as a parent that you describe.
I never seem to know how to say such things properly. When I try to comment on it, it is frequently taken as an accusation and that is not remotely my intent. My hope is to help you find a constructive path forward so you can make your peace with the past and make your way more confidently into the future as a parent.
I don't want to have children, and very large part of that is the fact that I don't want to cause someone to hurt as intensely as many do growing up. I know I and my siblings had a very difficult time.
In other words, it's out of love. I am keeping someone safe.
I very much respect anyone who has chosen to have children and is dedicated to protecting them and keeping them safe. The world needs more people like you.
Maybe you view the world as peaceful and rosy, and that's a good view to have, but always have a fallback.
Speak softly but carry a big stick, you know.
People get bullied all the time. Even as adults, just in different forms. Resorting to authority early on is not the best solution.
And as adults, every day can be a battle, if you can't hold your own, you have societal resources to back you up.
Of course, this needs to be taught as being a last resort, otherwise they may grow up to be bullies themselves. Having children is hard.
> the largest changes in our lives are beyond our control.
My brother and I started a very small humanist school in Hungary to give my nephew a better education and yes, to shelter my nephew from being bullied. Yes, quite a lot of things in our lives is beyond our control but with a lot of perseverance you can wrestle back control. Although the necessity to do this is exactly beyond our control...
Edit: just wanted to add, spend the most quality time you can with your kids. I resigned from my job when my eldest was 1 year old to be able to spend more time with him. Best decision of my life in retrospect.
If you have not read the story yet, don't it will stir shit up.
Most importantly I am sorry for your lose.
Edit: I'm not one to shy away from something difficult but i won't be reading this story either.
When my grandfather died, we thought she was going to go ballistic. But she didn't even cry, she took it better than anyone. I asked her how she was able to handle it so well. She told me the loss of a child makes anything else in life seem trivial, even the loss of a decades long spouse (I'm paraphrasing). It's like a scar so big you don't have room to feel anything else, or the ability to. So thankfully, I don't truly understand, but it put the fear of God in me.
People in their 20s often care about their career. People in their 80s often do not. Who's right? It's often a trade-off. The goal is not to be happy on your deathbed; it's to be happy throughout life.
I personally agree with this sentiment and am striving towards a better work life balance, but there is at least one person who has apparently said that:
"I have only one regret... that I have not worked harder." - Henry Royce (of Rolls-Royce) - https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Henry_Royce
edit: yes yes, harder != longer
We could speculate that nothing was enough, he was never satisfied and never happy (despite all he achieved).
Contracting services that could you could otherwise do yourself (e.g. cooking, cleaning, renos, repairs, etc) and spending that time with your son seems to fit the bill.
I'm sorry. That's awful. That's beyond awful. There are no words.
I travel a ton for work and take the earliest flight out in the morning so I can tuck them in the night before. Then I get back late so I'm there when they wake up the next morning. Physically painful but worth it.
Just a concerned stranger. I wish you well.
There’s always more work (it honestly never ends if your skills are valuable). But time with your kids is very precious - and that becomes very clear in retrospect.
I’ve noticed my relationship with my three year old has become closer as I’ve put more time and effort in engaging with her. There is really no replacement for quality time with your kids - no amount of toys or treats makes up for it.
Since then, two close friends have lost their children under tragic circumstances. You can't really put it into words what you'll feel for them. The only thing I try to take out of it is to be kind to others (you never know what they are going through or have gone through) and to live in the present, because you never know what can happen in the future.
I often think of how Tycho from Penny Arcade describes this phenomena: "Children carve something out of you, a place for themselves; people can twist the knife in that spot, and it just bleeds and bleeds."
In the past, stories like that would make me angry, but that's about it. Now that I have a kid, my brain plays through the scene with him as the baby being taken. My response is violence. I'm not a violent person at all, but I think I'd probably kill those kidnappers in the heat of the moment if I realized what was happening. I mean I would find anything to use as a weapon, and I'd just beat the everliving crap out of them. It's probably the worst reaction I could have, as it would mean me spending my life in jail, my son growing up without a dad, etc. Just a terrible, terrible decision, really. But I think that's what I'd do in the moment unless I could manage to overcome emotions with reason.
It's hard to express how having a kid changes your perspective on things like this.
I don't understand this approach. Alternatively, find a place to live, and a lifestyle to live, that lets your children develop without your anxiety weighing them down. You leave them unattended for hours and hours at a time while you sleep. The only difference your mind isn't racing with potential threats, it's asleep.
I don't know. all kids are different, mine too.
Yeah, I have 4 kids, and this right here, in my opinion is the core of the current trend to overparent. Let your kids play where you played. Let them have their own life outside of your control and influence. There is something very unhealthy about the way we have started viewing children and childhood in the USA.
Regardless, the story wasn't the point of my comment. The reaction I have as a dad vs pre-parenthood is the point. Where I live is the sex-trafficking capital of my state, which probably heightens my reactions, too. The problem is real and pervasive, fake news not withstanding.
Everyone could let their kids walk to school and chances are nothing bad will happen. Though it may lead to those kids being a bit healthier, more independent and more confident. And less likely to die in a car crash - which is far, far more probable than kidnapping.
Walking to school is an interesting scenario. I hate the car, so I'd probably walk with them or ride bikes together.
Side story: My dad had a friend who was almost kidnapped while on the way to school. The only reason it didn't succeed is that my dad and another friend grabbed their friend by the ankles while the guy in the car was tugging on their friend's arms. The kids all screamed bloody murder, and the men in the car gave up and drove off.
In most areas of life I like to think that I let statistics drive my thinking (e.g. I don't try to beat the stock market no matter how bad things look, unless I'm gambling for the fun of it). But in the case of kids, man... it's just much harder to overcome emotional biases.
It doesn't look that way:
>...During the study year, there were an estimated 115
stereotypical kidnappings, defined as abductions perpetrated
by a stranger or slight acquaintance and
involving a child who was transported 50 or more
miles, detained overnight, held for ransom or with
the intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
So, 115 children were abducted by strangers that year.
The national weather service estimates that 300 people are hit by lightning a year.
Like you said, it's hard for people to overcome emotional biases.
As a comparison, sharing a bed with a baby (which many people think is safe) is implicated in thousands of deaths a year:
>...After analyzing data on 8,207 infant deaths from 24 states that occurred between 2004 and 2012, researchers determined that nearly 74 percent of deaths in babies younger than 4 months occurred in a bed-sharing situation, according to the study published Monday in Pediatrics.
>Among older infants – those aged 4 months to 364 days – the rate was slightly lower at nearly 59 percent.
As another comparison, over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year in car accidents.
I mean, either way, it's exceedingly rare, but the odds of a young child being abducted is a good bit higher than the odds that they are struck by lightning.
Both odds are really rare. But my point is that it's just logical to take precautions. Not leaving your kids unattended in public places and not leaving them out in thunderstorms... both strike me as reasonable advice. :)
Edit: throwing in the link that shows ~20% of lightning fatalities are for people between 0-19 years old.
Your link is talking about fatalities. Just as the number of fatalities from lightning is much less than occurrences, the same applies to kidnappings. The probabilities for the two things aren't that different.
>...But my point is that it's just logical to take precautions. Not leaving your kids unattended in public places and not leaving them out in thunderstorms... both strike me as reasonable advice. :)
Yea, the low number for lightning strikes is likely due to the fact that people do avoid going out in lightning. Also while it is reasonable to not leave kids unattended in public places, kidnappings of children have always been very rare and the extra paranoia people have about it today isn't helpful and as posters have pointed out, actually makes the world a more dangerous place.
Because it's not pervasive, it's a false panic.
Trafficking is a problem that impacts runaways and immigrants. If you want to help, help them, don't get hysterical over imagined babysnatching.
Have another one.
There are plenty of these examples over the years. It is not that it does not happen, it does happen, but it is pretty rare. My point was that you can not simply dismiss all these cases out of hand as fantasy.
It does very rarely happen. But even of the subset of events that aren't totally fabricated, many turn out to be more innocent than they are made out to be.
People getting their worldview from these sources are going to be unnecessarily worrisome about such things, which is really the point of the grandparent.
The story in my original comment was reported in a local news paper's website, which my wife assumed was reliable... So who knows.
Never? Come on, how far are we going to take this? Not sending them to school so you can stay home and watch for kidnappers? Never sending them to grandpa's house because grandpa might bring the kids to the grocery store and turn around for a second to pick up some carrots?
Perspective! Assuming that its not a fabricated story the risk of this sort of kidnapping is so incredibly low it might as well be zero. This sort of anxiety about it is unhealthy and unproductive. Never bring them outside because a stranger may snatch them out of a stroller? If you go to the grocery store your going to turn away for a quarter of a second to grab something off the shelf, it's a fact of life.
One of the biggest risk to children is car crashes. In which case an equally ridiculous but much much better piece of advice is "NEVER allow your children to ride in an automobile."
Traffic is a far bigger danger than kidnappings, and the biggest danger to a child who walks to school is the parent of another child who insists on driving the kids to school.
Kids are unpredictable. I remember being 7 years old and waiting with my mom to cross a busy street. For some reason that today is unknown to me, I decided to just run across the street as soon as the lights turned yellow. I almost got hit and my mom almost had a heart attack. I use this example to keep me alert when I'm with my daughter in a potentially dangerous but seemingly safe environment. You never know what's going on in their little heads.
Children need to live in an environment where they can have adventures make mistakes and get hurt. Even badly injured. But not killed.
Your post complains that helicopter parenting causes broken bones, meanwhile other anti-helicoptering activists argue that breaking bones is a necessary part of healthy development, that helicoptering prevents.
>meanwhile other anti-helicoptering activists argue that breaking bones is a necessary part of healthy development
Who says that? The fact is, the broken bones came, in her case, from the fact that she has no experience or confidence in things kids her age are able to do but ends up playing with other children (often younger!) who can. My kids already had their falls and scrapes when they were younger and closer to the ground. Now they know how to swing on a swing, roller blade, etc., without getting terrified and falling over. They also know better how to fall to minimize damage because they have experience with it.
Look, over-protection is simply bad . That's why it's called over-protection. If you're doing it, you're harming your children and you need to stop.
I still force him to hold my hand when we're anywhere near cars, and I worry when I can't hear him. But I also look the other way when I know his step-brother is playing a little too rough with him. And I let him bang hammers in the garage when I'm working in there. I guess I'm trying to find a balance, but I'm sure I make some mistakes.
Some age over 12 is well into the age where anti-helicoptering advocated would be likely to expect the harms of early helicoptering to have manifested, so the description in GP does not, to me, seem at all inconsistent with the common anti-helicoptering argument.
The primary risks to children are traffic, drowning, and as a teen and preteen suicide.
This gives you and your kids a pretty small number of things to be scared of, and consequently a small number of important safety lessons to impart.
I have on occasion experimented with public transport in the country where I live and it simply does not work at a reliability level that I can trust not to result in regular embarassment due to inability to be where I need to be when I agreed to be there. This is a pretty bad state of affairs but I did not create that state of affairs and the day that this is fixed I will be more than happy to stop driving.
As it is, between email and driving I do not know which I hate more and as soon as I shut down my business and can retire I will be happy to get rid of both.
Please do not make assumptions about other peoples lives.
Powerful stuff. It feels vitally important to confront this fear. But I do feel deeply unsettled.
That fear doesn't go away, and, as I indicated, it actually got worse over time for me. Not crippling/anxiety or anything like that, but comes out at random times, not to mention all the expected times (e.g., reading news, watching media, etc.).
That feeling of utter panic and helplessness watching him run while my wife and I screamed for him to stop will never, ever go away. It still pains me when the memory comes up, of what could have been.
He stopped 3 feet from an oncoming 18-wheeler and turned around in more fear than I've ever seen in a little kid since.
But then maybe it's good to have a dose of it once in awhile, to keep me from getting to comfortable with his safety.
In otherwords, most people would agree with it, but then comes the hard part. Fundamentally transforming default thinking patterns that have been etched deeply through years of habit and experience.
Why leave out step 2? Can advice on step 1 be helpful without a plan for step 2?
...and hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We are hard wired to spend an inordinate amount of time and attention on averting losses of all kinds, often to a degree that confounds any sort of cost/benefit analysis.
This is bog standard behavioral economics. I highly recommend Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow".
I try to use it to motivate me to be mindful of enjoying this time and grateful for my luck.
A Freudian slip that exemplifies even more how it feels to have a child.
I know several people that get really angry when they are subjected to a movie with this in it.
A few weeks later I was watching I Am Legend in the theater, and when (spoiler alert) I could see what looked like the inevitable demise of Will Smith's dog, I hoofed it out as quickly as I could. I was completely unprepared to deal with that, and to this day I've never finished the movie.
I'm sorry you had to have your dog put down. It's an awful decision. When my parents decided to do that for the dog I grew up with, I really hated them for awhile. I didn't have a dog for a long time after that, but now I have a one year old Shiba, and I dread the day when I'll have to make that decision. Hopefully that won't be for a long time from now.
That may seem a morbid thing to think about, but everything happens for a reason ... circle of life and all that.
Most of the time when harm to a child is depicted in a film or television show, it is sort of a cheap, unfair way to get at the viewer's emotions.
What is suggested here is nowhere near the same thing as having a "safe space" which restricts the speech of others.
Additionally, the first article linked is one of the worst long-form stories I may have ever read. It's scattered, making a claim and then jumping to another without justifying it in any way, shape, or form. This is the furthest thing from being scientific, and having looked at the authors, I see why. One is "president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education" and the other is "Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University Stern School of Business and the director of Heterodox Academy". The Heterodox Academy is a right-wing group trying to de-left college campuses via bullshit propaganda. They don't care about diversity of views, they just want college kids to take up their antiquated mantle.
Regardless, there may be something harmful that comes from the (over)abundance of trigger warnings, and there may have even been some science along those lines, but it certainly isn't present in or referenced from these links.
I don't think Haidt is some sort of evil troll, are you sure you've really listened to him?
You can say what you like about Jonathan Haidt but he's a credited psychologist who's simply going to know more about this subject than you do (or what that troll in the 3rd link did). Your assessement of Heterodox Academy is also, itself, bullshit propaganda of the worst order. (1) I don't believe Haidt is actually right wing. (2) Social justice is a fringe thing on the left, not all (probably not even most) liberals actually subscribe to it (see Bill Maher). (3) They're not trying to "de-left" colledges, they're trying to ensure colledges remain a place of debate and sharpening of ideas instead of pandering to spoiled helicoptor children. (4) The statement "They don't care about diversity of views, they just want college kids to take up their antiquated mantle." is a bold face lie. Please edit your post to remove this, or I'll be forced to conclude you are a liar.
How about not having a 40 or 50 mph speed limit on a residential street?
For example all of the things nickspacek mentions here would be brought in in due course based on pressure from the drivers themselves: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16107645
Legal driving does not mean I have the ability to repeal basic physical laws like inertia. If you're trying to legislate cars off the road altogether, then this is probably one way to do it, but good luck with the general program.
No, that is not how you build a culture. :)
Well, for one thing, putting rural mailboxes on the same side of high-speed roadways as the houses they serve would seem to be an obvious mitigation, though it would probably have some additional mail delivery costs.
The road should not have had such a high speed limit, should have had speed bumps, and possible the little boy's parents should have had a fence.
Punishing the driver in this case doesn't fix the problem at all.
In this particular case, there is one thing that stands out to me above all others: the mailboxes were on the opposite side of the road from the houses. The second thing that distressed me was that the cop, after investigating and deciding there was no reasonable suspicion that the driver was criminally culpable, went on to lecture the driver anyway.
The road should have had a high speed limit, with no speed bumps. And there should have been no reason for pedestrians to ever set foot on it. Those mailboxes were on the wrong side of the road, because the postmaster decided that the driver on that rural route should not have to turn around twice or exit their vehicle to service those addresses. That boy died to save $300 in postal employee wages per year.
The homes should have had a gravel frontage road--behind a guardrail, bollards, cable, or Jersey barrier--with the mailboxes on the same side of the main road as the buildings.
And the cop should not have been lecturing anybody. That's the judge's job. No arrest? That means no judge, and no lecture. "Here's the number of the guy we called out to tow your vehicle, and the department's photocopied resource list of local businesses that may be helpful to you today, in the aftermath of your incident. I can give you a ride back into town, where you will have an opportunity to give a written statement for the accident report. Then you can use one of the payphones in the lobby to call somebody."
I can't imagine.
By your standard we should all jump off the nearest bridge for living our lives in a way that we can not guarantee that something bad will ever happen to children, our own or someone else´s.
Attempting to guilt trip people for taking part in society is pretty low.
Instead, let´s try to live within the law by the rules set by society, accept that life is risk and will never be risk free, no matter what rules we decide to live by and let´s strive to make society incrementally better rather than to pretend to live a life that is ´better´ by our own standards and to recognize that for every item that is better in our lives there are probably plenty left in which they are still worse.
In other words, get off your high horse, and recognize your own shortcomings rather than to ram your personal view of the right way to live down others' throats.
So, let´s campaign for more bike paths, other means of separation of traffic streams, safer vehicles for outsiders, pedestrians, bikes and occupants of other vehicles. But spare me the self-righteous holier than though attitude. It reminds me of militant vegetarians, they tend to give other vegetarians a bad image. If you are trying to make the case for cycling you are doing a piss-poor job of advocacy.
40,000 deaths a year in the United States, top cause of death in every age group to 1 to 44 (killing someone with your car counts as "unintentional injury" in the CDC's reporting) is an ongoing moral tragedy of huge dimensions.
So sure, life can never be "risk free" but to equate that with the total carnage and destruction on the road, is frankly evil.
- mixing different kinds of traffic
- the existence of different kinds of traffic
- speed differences between the various kinds of traffic
- situational elements such as poor visibility
- not adapting to circumstance
- breaking the law
and so on.
Where I live cycling is common, we have a cycling culture. Almost nobody wears helmets. Even so, people drive quite a bit too, and the cyclist of one moment is the driver of the next. Accidents - while not as common as in the states - can and do happen. And just like we are not going ban children from traffic we are not going to get anywhere by demanding we ban cars or cyclists. That is just this side of silly and will not get us anywhere. Improvements are made because of reasonable argument, not by shrilly demanding society stops working to comply with one´s personal demands.
The number of my assumptions about you is three:
1) You feel guilty about driving and good about biking. Source: your words.
2) You care about human life. That's just extrapolation from 1) and from the fact that you were interested in (at least the comments on) this article, and is moreover, charitable towards you. Take that away and I'd be assuming you're something much worse.
3) You feel conflicted when you get behind the wheel. Probably the least fair assumption of the three. No real grounds for it, other than 1) & 2) and the fact of how strenuously you defend driving (but not in a way that proclaims it's right and just, rather in a way that says I'm wrong to remind people about it).
The rest of it is about people in general, people I've witnessed talking about this in various contexts in the past. I see I used the pronoun "you" occasionally in that portion, so if that was confusing, I apologize, it's the usage of "you" that means something more like "one" or "someone."
You've also made some assumptions about me, which I don't find "ok" at all, but I let most of those go as the cartoons they are. My flaws that you want me to enumerate (which would in no way affect your own, even if it turned out I was a mass murderer or an angel) do not include driving a car, and as I said, that's relevant because that's how I know it's possible to avoid it. And it's also the source of some other flaws you're witnessing, including being rude, pissed-off and fresh-out of patience with people saying how messed up the world and the roads are, while contributing to the problem. People hate being confronted with that shit, more than anything else. I don't care, this is not your "safe space" any more than the roads are mine. Nor am I an ambassador or an advocate trying to gently coax and sell people on something. I know most of them would sooner jump off a bridge than change voluntarily, and you implied that very thing. I just want to be a pain in the butt and remind them they're doing something that benefits themselves at the expense of others, and pissing people off like me in the process who have kids and lives also.
In the UK we have 1 child killed and 37 seriously injured every week.
In the future, little Johnny and grandpa are fishing on the lake, after being driven there by their self-driving car.
"You see that car there Johnny? When I was young, we had to drive these ourselves if we wanted to go fishing. It was great! You felt the wind in your hair, you could go wherever you want, whenever you want, you could make out with your sweetheart in the backseat, you would never feel so free!"
"Whoa, grandpa! Wasn't that dangerous, going so fast without the help of a computer?"
"Oh yeah, millions died".
A better solution would be to set towns and cities up in such a way that the various traffic streams are separated vertically.
Sold my car, moved to Europe, commute by bike. I do rent a car now and then when it can't be avoided and in those scenarios I drive with extreme caution.
The US has a 9/11 every month on the roads and almost nobody there gives a shit. I never understood it.
Besides the homicide rate is not far of a 9/11 every few months is it?
Think about this. If you want to increase your probability of dying in an car accident to about 100%, then you need to drive roughly 100,000,000 miles. Of all the things to worry about, this is pretty low.