It’s been about four hours since I saw my mom drive away with my 7 year old in the front seat and I think I’ve finally calmed down. She picked her up to take her to a museum for the evening and I just happened to glance out the window as they drove down the street and was shocked to see a mopsy head of blonde curly hair sitting in the front seat. I called her immediately to tell her that Addie needed to be in the back and tried to contain the panic in my voice as I left her a message. When she called back seconds later she sounded genuinely shocked that Addie needed to be in the back.
As I hung up the phone I tried to reason with how panicked I felt, after all, I made it to adulthood without ever using a car seat or even a seat belt.
Cars may be safer than ever these days but that’s only when used properly. The airbags in cars can seriously injure and even kill little people who are sitting in the front seat. I would never send my kid out the door thinking that my mom was going to get in an accident but suddenly ‘what if’ scenarios flooded my head, because the one time Addie sat in a front seat would be the one time she’d get in an accident. I can’t imagine trying to cart a baby around without a car seat but I can see how my mom may have thought that Addie was big enough to sit in the front. (I’ll be having a talk with Miss Addie tomorrow about telling people she is to sit in the back.) I think the panic in my voice was enough to convince my mom never to let Addie ride in the front again until she’s 25 so I didn’t bring it up with her when she dropped Addie off.
Say “My mom took off with my 7 year old in the front seat” to a parent with kids under 12 and they’ll probably gasp with horror. Say the same thing to their parents and they’ll shrug and wonder why you’re freaking out. A lot has changed with this parenting gig over the last 20 years and with my parents not being around kids much at all it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t know the new norm of car seat safety.
What generational challenges have you come across with your parents in regards to child rearing?