Parenting in a Fear-Based Society
Written by Brittany Shenk
Parenting expectations have shifted with each new generation. Parenting in the 1960s was different than parenting in the 1980s, and even further removed than parenting in the 2010s. We are living in an age of fear, where mothers and fathers are expected to provide child supervision 100% of the time.
I remember in the early 1990s my own mother letting my sisters and me run around our neighborhood unattended, playing TAG with our friends until the stars came out. We would stay home alone during the summer, promising our parents we’d keep the doors locked and call if we left the house. My mom would often leave us in the car for a few minutes while she ran into the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs. It was easier to leave us safely locked in the car than battle the stress of three young, hyper, wandering girls grabbing at sugary cereals on the shelves, pleading for the treats we rarely had the opportunity to eat.
I’m aware that society has shifted since the early 90s, crime seems to be running a bit more rampant, we hear more stories of children disappearing, shootings taking place in schools and public places, and fear about letting children out of our sight has settled in as the norm. The New York Times posted an opinion piece about Motherhood in the Age of Fear, which dives into the challenges mothers all around the U.S. have experienced while parenting in this era. This woman shares her story about being a mother in today’s fear-based society, the harassment she’s dealt with, and the advice she was given to overcome feeling ashamed of her parenting style.
Let us know what you think! Have you experienced anything similar to this article as a mother? We love hearing your thoughts and experiences.