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Ten Things Parents Don't Need to Worry About

By paulabernstein |

healthy childrenDo you worry that your kids will get kidnapped? Do you fret about terrorism and school snipers? Do you warn your kids about talking to strangers? If so, you are officially a paranoid parent.

Author Christie Barnes has good news for you: You don’t need to worry about kidnapping, school snipers, terrorism or stranger danger. Why? The odds of most of those things happening to a child are 1 in 10 million.

In an attempt to feel as if we can control our world and protect our kids, Barnes says that parents worry too much — about all the wrong things. She should know.

One day, her husband, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Barnes, took their one-year-old triplets and four-year-old daughter out for a walk in the park. The next day, tragedy struck and Peter died of a stroke. Barnes knew then that the real dangers in life are the ones you can’t necessarily predict or prevent.

So what else don’t we need to worry about?

Top Ten Things That Parents Don’t Need to Worry About:

1. Kidnapping

2. School snipers

3. Terrorism

4. Stranger danger

5. Drugs

6. Vaccinations

7. Playing in the front yard/walking to school

8. Bullying

9. School buses

10. Natural Disasters

She’s not saying that none of these things happen, but they are not as big a problem as you might conclude based on the attention they get in the media. Barnes new book, “The Paranoid Parents Guide: Worry Less, Parent Better, and Raise a Resilient Child,” is due out in September, but meanwhile, you can check out her website:

In general, Barnes says, we don’t need to worry as much about our kids when they are in elementary school “unlike the teen years when trouble is twenty times more likely.”

On average, according to Barnes, boys get into 75% more trouble than girls. Whereas girls shout for help when they’re drowning and run out of burning buildings, boys tend not to call for help and to hide in a fire.

So what should we worry about? Well, I don’t think there’s a reason to worry at all, but if you do want to fret, these are the real causes of death and injuries for most children: car accidents, homicide, maltreatment or abuse, suicide (teen boys), drowning (young boys), fire (young boys), suffocation, bicycle accidents (boys), unintentional poisoning.

Personally, I’m not a worrier. Why worry about things that may or may not happen? Sure, it’s good to be prepared, but I don’t want to raise my kids in an atmosphere of fear. Like Barnes, I find it liberating to let go of worries. “When I realized that shopping carts are scarier than sharks, we went scuba diving,” Barnes says. In other words, don’t let fear prevent you from living your life.

What about you? What do you worry most about?

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Are School Lunches Making Kids Fat?

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About paulabernstein



Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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0 thoughts on “Ten Things Parents Don't Need to Worry About

  1. Manjari says:

    I’m surprised that bullying is on the list. I must know every single person in the tiny percent of those bullied.

  2. Becky says:

    It’s not that bullying is all that uncommon, it’s that injuries/death from bullying is uncommon. If you’re paranoid of a kid’s feelings getting hurt…well, that’s another issue.

  3. nmcd says:

    I think the definition of bullying has shifted so that things we would have put down to simply not getting along with a nasty clique has been put on par with systematic persecution by a large group of people. Both are unpleasant but there’s a difference which I think has been lost.

  4. Christie Barnes says:

    Hi! I’m the author and I would love to fill in some bullying details. Yes most kids report they have gotten bullied–but it is low level bullying and not more than once every month or few months. But the extreme bullying, even that in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and worse, are extremely rare.

    Absolutely, definitions have changed. And children come to Kindergarten from a very ‘me’ centered world and suddenly they have to function as part of the group and learn to socialize. Character conflicts that are part of learning to socialize can look like bullying. It is so tough on us parents but we can’t socialize or learn compromising skills for our children. We can’t ‘buy’ them social skills.

    Extreme bullying has been on the news and is scary. It is one of parent’s worst nightmares. But scariest doesn’t mean that it happens all the time. In the book, I talk a lot about how to get to the real likelihood of the dangerous and safe. “How often did it happen last year or last month?” not how often is it on TV or how scary is it.

  5. ember says:

    I am such a paranoid mom! This book should be good for me!!

  6. Melissa Nichols says:

    I am a mother of three and the only thing I worry about is if they are happy.

  7. Anonymoous says:

    Bullying, it depends. Normal kid stuff isn’t a big deal, but when we’re talking full blown harassment (for religion, morals, etc…) that is when something needs to give. I got harassed constantly in elementary, middle and high school for being the wrong Christian denomination, and in college, I was constantly ridiculed for being morally conservative and believing in God.

    Also, I FULLY DISAGREE on drugs. Maybe it depends on the area, but I know so, so many kids who are the stereotypical “tried weed once-got hooked-now they’re a felon/have done time” stories that I can’t stand it. Drugs ARE a problem, and anyone who says otherwise needs a lobotomy or forced sterilization.

  8. adhocmom says:

    Huh. I spend loads of time worrying about things like strokes and aneurysms. My paranoia is now confirmed.

  9. bob says:

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

  10. emmavt says:

    Glad I have two girls!

  11. Huh? says:

    I’m mostly worried that I worry too much. Which, apparently, I am, and to no end. Great.

  12. Rosana says:

    LOL Bob. Yes, I am a paranoid parent and nothing will change that :D

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