Unattended Children & Perceived Risks

Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived – But Unreal – Risks?

A good article exploring the “evils” of leaving children unattended. I know I supervise my children more than I think is necessary due to the fear of being reported by some busybody.



  1. This s a very important article. Having lots of kids & an unorthodox lifestyle I could comment all day. But some highlights:

    1) The main reason parents are overprotective today is very rational: 1.8 kids per woman average is below replacement and thus kids become sacred objects. Those busybodies think they are protecting their collapsing tribe (why priests are rare from small families; eating seed corn is not genetically wise).

    2) Second is massive immigration means we lack social trust. Our crazy fear of strangers is just a rational response to the unknown, even though it does stunt kid’s growth. It’s very true that we are no longer one people. We simply don’t know the unknown unknown risks.

    3) People fear planes not cars (the article mentions this as irrational) is because we cannot control a plane but can control much of a car. So a very, very careful driver in the right car and right roads can be safer than the plane passenger (and he also controls many of the risks). This is rational.

    4) We get our kids official babysitting classes as soon as they hit 11 yo in anticipation of getting reported, and make sure there is always an older kid around. It’s worked so far, and we let our kids do lots of crazy things.

    5) Most of the irrationality today is over water, animals, biking, or being alone. Knowing this and watching where we go helps avoid “that call”, as well as kids who a) are big, b) act mature, c) travel in packs, d) dress well, e) and stay “on the move” so they won’t even be around when that call gets made.

    Yes, the Police State is real. But it’s easy to avoid being a target. And as the demographics change & families implode there are more and more real cases (drugs, violence, whatnot) to distract the authorities. So it’s getting better not worse where I live.

  2. By the way, it is not an irrational fear, for those who don’t *get it*. You could have a neighbor you think is perfectly fine and dandy then have CPS show up at your door simply because said neighbor saw your kids outside for more than half an hour but never saw you out there even once.

    She would never do that, because it’s neglectful! And you know the post modern mantra: “Somebody should DO something!”

  3. E, CPS simply because (good) neighbor saw your kids outside for more than half an hour but never saw you out there even once.

    I never thought of that one. Trust my neighbors, but now getting even more paranoid.

    Fave story: Kid walks alone to hockey practice at night (where he gets slammed against the boards daily, has concussions, daily sprains, bruises, fights). Hockey coach (with scars & missing teeth, natch) warns me about my kid walking alone ’cause he and all the other parents are soooo concerned. World = insane.

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