Parents: Am I a Paranoid Mom?

Protecting your kids without being overprotective is a struggle.

I often wonder if other parents worry about their kids as much as I worry about mine. Sometimes I think I'm paranoid about illnesses, child abduction, or just danger in general.

Am I the only one?

I'm afraid to let my nearly 6-year-old use a public restroom by himself. I won't drop off my kid to birthday parties without staying to chaperone. I still have nightmares about a school bus accident. My kids are not even allowed to cross the street by themselves to play with the neighborhood kids. And my heart sinks every time my caller-ID names my son's daycare.

I don't know if I'm overprotective or just cautious.

I know that bad things can happen to good people. And life can go terribly wrong when you let your guard down. So, do you think I'm overprotective?

In my eyes, they will always be my babies. And honestly, I don't know how to loosen the reigns.

For instance this past Friday night, we went to "Hot Dog Night" at my son's school. Naturally, I finally get my toddler to eat, and my oldest has to go to the bathroom. So, my first instinct is to pack up and go with him. Then I thought twice, it's a school function, he knows the school and the bathroom was only 100 feet away inside the gym. I let him go.

Five minutes passed, then almost 10 minutes—he was still not back. I picked up my toddler, marched into the gym, called into the boys room. No answer. I looked around, called in again, still no answer. A father helped me out by walking in to the restroom, and told me no one was in here.

I started freaking out.

I was trying to recall what shirt he was wearing, while reassuring myself that he knows all about stranger danger. Panicked, I went to the main hall—no sign of him. I looked for his teacher who had been right near the gym door, but she wasn't there. After about 10 minutes of frantic searching the school and the field, I finally found him on the playground. Instantly, I felt relief, then found myself mad at him because he just went straight passed me and went to play with his friends.

My husband says I coddle the boys and placate their every boo-boo. He also thinks I don't allow them to be rough and tumble boys.

Maybe I'm a tad overprotective, but truthfully, the world is a scary place. And the later my kids discover that the better. And while I wish I were more relaxed about some situations, I fear that the one time I do, the worst will happen.

But hey, I'm a Mommy. My job is to soothe, comfort and guide them, and I might as well soak up every minute they allow me to do this.

Do you think you are paranoid when it comes to your parenting tactics? How do you balance letting your kids grow up with protecting them from society? Share your thoughts in the comments.

LisaN October 02, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Not paranoid at all! Too many bad people out there to not be cautious. I am the same if not worse. I do not want to be on the 6 o'clock news asking if you've seen my child.
Tim October 02, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I fall somewhere between the two of you, Stacey. One thing is for sure: It is a real adjustment though at age 5-6 when they start elementary school. I think back to the millions of opportunities I had as a kid to be abducted, seriously injured, or even killed while I was out playing with my friends over the years. Part of the problem is the media being what it is, broadcasts every horrible thing that happens, and feeds this paranoia. For every child that's abducted, there are millions who never are. Just Sunday our son wanted so badly to play with some other kids across the street. He was a good boy though, and despite the fact his one friend went right over (her mother approved of her kid walking across the street), E didn't go because he knew we wouldn't approve. Good kid :) Of course, this is no solace to the parents of one who happens to be struck by lightning. I've already had a 'one in a million' scenario occur to me in my life, so I know it can happen.
morgan October 02, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Not over protective at all. I was at hotdog night and that school was wide open and anyone could have walked in there. I also went to honeygo park for movie night and was AMAZED at all the 5 year old running around or going to the bathroom completely by their selves. Even if my 6yo daughter doesn't see me, I always have my eyes on her.
VWK October 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM
My kids are much older now but I was the same way. I freak out now when I see very young elementary-aged kids on the bus stop with no adult. I always waited at the bus stop with mine, or watched from the front door as they got older. (Of course, I stopped that when they went to middle school!) The public bathroom thing was also one of those gray areas when you don't have your husband with you. I didn't like sending mine in alone but he was getting too old to go into the ladies room. It's sad, but you really have to be careful. Now...wait until you have to hand them the car keys!!!! There is always a new "stage" to get used to.
Paul Amirault October 02, 2012 at 03:46 PM
- Having to stay at a 6 year old's birthday party to chaperone - overprotective unless asked to stay. - Not allowing them to cross the street alone - smart - but teach them how to do it. Crossing driveways is just as dangerous as is standing behind cars. Too many kids have been hit by cars in reverse. - Worried about child not returning from bathroom - smart - a little scolding would be in order for him going to playground without permission. When the conversation starts with, "Mom stop nagging", you probably have pushed the limit. Bumps and bruises, both mental and physical, are part of growing up.
Tim October 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I'm not convinced kids under age 8 or 9 can cross the street on their own. It's not that they can't learn, it's that I believe depth perception is an issue even for children with good/normal vision. I suppose it'd be one thing if it were a quiet street outside of your house, and you were nearby outside assessing the situation with your child.
Paul Amirault October 02, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Tim, I believe you are agreeing with me?
Tim October 02, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Paul - you said teach your children how to cross the street/driveways. My feeling is this is, to some degree, pointless as I don't believe they are visually capable of doing so until 8 or so. Don't get me wrong, start teaching them anyway. I'm teaching my soon to be 6 year old how to cross streets, but he's not going to be solo 'field tested' for quite some time.
Paul Amirault October 02, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Used to, they're big now. My point was she was smart in not allowing 6 year old to cross street alone, but teach them how every time you walk over with them. I am not encouraging 6 year olds to cross streets alone, maybe I wasn't clear enough.
Karen Walter October 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I have a wide range of ages amongst my kids (my oldest is alost 15 and my youngest is 7) and I think I am a bit more relaxed but yet still watch my kids carefully. The one thing that you said that I will comment on is where you stated "The world is a scary place and the later my kids discover that the better". If you prevent them for understanding the dangersthat are out there, they won't be equipped to deal with situations as they arise.
Stacey Schantz October 02, 2012 at 05:56 PM
You're right, Elementary school sure has been eye opening!!!
Stacey Schantz October 02, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I agree, I'm prob pushing the limits with the birthday party, but it's hard. Just a month ago, we were at a bouncy house party, a kid got injured, fortunately the parents were there. So I ask, how can you leave??? As for the crossing the street, I too think that I'm being smart, not over protective. We have a few neighbors that drive FAR FAR FAR too fast on our quiet street, and despite asking and asking them to slow down, they seem to drive their own speed. One almost hit me once. And Paul, I'll watch for the "mom stop nagging" comments. that's a great litmus test!!! :)
Stacey Schantz October 02, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Karen, we do talk about the scary world, stranger danger, etc. We use news examples, like the PH High shooting, weather (tornado, hurricaines), robberies, etc. to talk about the dangers of this world. I just hope and pray our conversations prepare them, while I pray they don't actually experience any real dangers.
Stacey Schantz October 02, 2012 at 06:03 PM
VWK, my goodness, car keys, I can't even imagine... :) I'm glad I'm more than a few years from that!
PerryHallParent October 02, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Growing up within the city limits before escaping in the 80s, I got quite a lesson about who is out there. I had several encounters even as a young teen, being asked for "directions" or if I "needed a ride". Thankfully, I was educated enough by my parents to know to back away or yell for help. However, I was a bit older. I have school aged children and I try to balance somewhere between allowing them some independence and watching over them as best I can. I allow my daughter to walk to her friend's house, but I stand and watch her go and until she gets there and waves with her friend. Same thing on the return trip. She crosses one small side street and has learned how to stop, look and listen for traffic. You just have to do the best you can and be there with good instruction and teaching.
Jeanne October 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Stacey my son is in college now but when he was younger he had to be ableto answer all the "W" questions befor ehe could go out. (who will you be with, when is this going to be date & time, what is the chaperone policy, etc.....) When he was younger I did stay with him, even at birthday parties. Of course then it wasn't a big deal so nobody saw a problem with it and the parent/parents of the birthday child liked the help. This year has been a real challange for me because it is the second time in his life I didn't either know or have an idea of where he was & who he was with (the other time was a 2 week hiking trip) We keep in touch buy text once in awhile and that helps. As I told other parents high school is practice for college, college is practice for the real world so let your kids make decisions with you their if they need you. You have awhile to go for high school so enjoy these years and yes keep and eye on them.
margaux zoe February 16, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Hi there! Being paranoid isnt easy. I am a paranoid mom too. I used to keep everything to myself because i have fears on people laughing at me. I am a stay at home mom of a 3 yr old boy. It was just last yr that i started to pack energency kits because i feared on doomsday. Yeah, i know this is absurd. I just dont know. Last month, i started to fear on earthquake. Our country is just waiting for the faultline to move, which last moved 300yrs ago, they said it will be stronger than japan's 2011 quake, with an expected magnitude of 8-9. worst the epicenter is said to be here in my area. So, now i quit going to malls, get worried whenever my son stay outside with his grandparents who lived 4 houses away from us, never leave him alone inside the house, and bring him anywhere i go. Sometimes, when he is at church with my parents, i get so paranoid that he might get out of their sight and be kidnapped. Now, thinking about the possibility of world war 3 kills me, our country has been in a dispute with china over a tiny island. Oh my god, are they serious, they will fight over a land as small as 150 meters?? I also feared when north korea made a nuclear test. I dont fear for myself. I am afraid for my son. Am i sick? I just want my boy to live in a peaceful world. I have never been afraid all my life than this. Pleade give me advices. Thanks


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »