11 February 2014

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.


I wonder how many times you have read or heard words along the lines of, children don't play outside as much as they used too or we had so much more freedom when we were kids?  Familiar?  Ring true with you?

I played out a lot as a child, we had a large garden and lived on a road that was quiet, few people owned cars and we played in the street after school, at the weekend and during the holidays.  As we got older we roamed away from the street and wandered far.  There were no mobile phones but we always had a bag of small coins so that we could make a call from a phone box if we needed to.  As a teenager if I went out at night I had to be home by a pre agreed time but if I wished to stay out later I could ring home and negotiate to stay out later, provided my parents knew where I was, they usually agreed.  As a child I gave little thought to what this meant to my parents other than I never felt that they were restricting me or had what I felt to be unfair 'rules'.  It is only since becoming a parent myself that I have fully understood and am in awe of the freedom that they gave me.  Could I as a parent do the same?

The world I grew up in is different to one that my parents grew up in and so is the one my own children are growing up in.  There were no mobile phones when I was a child but as they were not part of anyone's life you couldn't possibly miss them.  But does having a mobile make a difference to ones decision making or does it make it harder, it is easier to stay in contact but what happens when you can't.  Has all the connectivity we have actually made it harder as a parent rather than easier, the silence is deafening and scary rather than business as usual.

The media would have us believe that the world is a place fraught with dangers. They would have us believe they are commonplace, far more so than they were in the past.  I cannot reconcile myself with that view of the world.  News travels fast and is easier to 'publish' to the world, instantly at the click of a button.  Have things changed or do we just know about more goings on now.  Would it be better if we didn't?

My children are still fairly young, at the moment they don't have a desire to venture far from me or their father.  But there have been a few occasions where my eldest has gone out of my sight.  Each time this has been at his request and we have discussed it.  This has felt totally natural, as I expect it was for my own parents.  He has yet to request this in a situation that I have not been happy with so it remains to be seen how I feel and react then.  I have come to realise it is impossible to know.

To give a child any degree of freedom I believe requires one to trust, that may seem obvious.  But I also believe that it is not possible to trust anyone if you don't believe and trust in yourself.  It also requires you to care, there are sadly many children who are given so much freedom that they don't know what to do with it.  The freedom is often from neglect.

It is a balance, I believe, between staying safe and trusting, between protection and over protection.  It's a fine line sometimes but one that I hope will feel right and stay instinctive for years to come, even if comes with the worry that mothers feel.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):
  • When Parents' Fears Escalate — If we didn't self-doubt, we probably wouldn't care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama's family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I'm a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Procactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son's future?
  • I Don't Homeschool to Manage My Kids' Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household - that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent - that most parents share - looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear...
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren't anywhere near as scary as she'd thought.
  • Don't fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me... — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.


  1. I keep wondering similar things. Was it difficult for my parents not to know where I was at every moment, or was it just normal then? I think the latter, as you say. I'd love for my kids to have freedom, but then I worry at being charged as a neglectful parent.

  2. You're right, it's a fine line that has to be walked. A great article SM.

  3. You know, I think you've hit on something about how connected we are leading to it being more difficult to dis-connect. I actually read recently that today's world is really safer in some respects, and that many of our present day fears are unfounded. But it's true - I can't imagine my kids having the same freedoms I had as a child. Partially it's because of where we live (close to a highway, no fields/forests nearby) - I had access to a much more rural setting. That's probably also one of the driving reasons behind my desire to move - I *want* my kids to be able to wander freely! (Or at least more freely than they can now.)

  4. We used to live in Paris until I was 8. Obviously our parents were always with us there but from the moment we moved to a very small country village my brother and I went across fields or on the coast for the whole day! Maybe the fact that everything is so more 'public' makes parents more scared now? Also like Lauren says there is the threat of being accused of neglect... Plus where children used to have liberty to explore (like scouting) it's getting more difficult because of health and safety regulations. There was a fascinating article recently about an Australian school where children have no boundaries during playtime, as an experiment, and they've seen bullying disappear and not more accidents than before!

  5. Gosh isn't being a parent difficult? I do think that we are doing our children more harm by overprotecting them and not letting them go "out to play" or teaching them Never to speak to strangers. Once my daughter (now an adult) was old enough to go places on her own I refused to tell her never to speak to strangers although I did of course warn her not all adults (or even children it would seem) are bad and that if anyone spoke to her it was fine to say answer a normal sort of question but just better not to get into conversation with them. Being a parent is fraught with problems and teaching one's children not to trust is wrong in my book after the dangers are fewer than we might think I am sure.

  6. I am right there with you. The world I grew up in was so very different - and in South Africa - to the world we have here in England now! My friends already talk about their children having play dates without them (at 4/5 years old) and my heart races. I am just not there yet!. I do think, however, that our children can 'feel' a connection with us, even when there's no phone around, and as you say - trust is the key to that!

  7. This is a discussion I've recently had with my 11yo. Times change and our expectations change. My daughter can't believe I didn't have my own cell phone until I was a married adult. Ha, that blows her mind! I strive for balance, though I'm not always there. Thanks for sharing.

  8. "The silence is deafening and scary rather than business as usual," so well put! I know the exact feeling of oncoming panic attack when you don't hear the phone ring or get the buzz of a text coming through. My kids are still quite young but this is an issue I know I'll have to deal with, as I grew up in an overprotective, fear-motivated environment and I want to balance that as you say. Thanks for sharing your perspective!


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