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:
2. School snipers
4. Stranger danger
7. Playing in the front yard/walking to school
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: www.paranoidparentsguide.com.
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?