Have We Become a Generation of Paranoid Mummies?

by 21stcenturymummy on March 19, 2010

From the minute my daughter was born, I developed a fierce sense of protection for her, as I’m sure most new mothers do. However, I have become a paranoid mummy (as it seems many of us are). There is story after story in the media about child abuse, paedophiles, kidnapping, the list goes on. And it can happen anywhere, even on holiday or at nursery. These horror stories are heart-breaking and can make you feel like you shouldn’t take your eyes off your children for a minute, in case it might happen to them. It’s hard because you have to put your trust in other people too, whether it’s a nanny, a nursery, or a kids club on holiday.  It’s sad that this is the world we live in.

I am terrified that if she wanders off in my local supermarket she might be snatched. I keep her right by me, and if I look round and can’t see her then my heart stops for an instant, until I spot her again. In reality, if she wanders off she is more likely to be found by an assistant. But, it’s hard to look at it rationally, just in case.

Things are different now when you go on holiday too. I think the Madeleine McCann disappearance has heightened everyone’s awareness of what can happen. I know Dads feel it too. We were in the Maldives last year and my OH wouldn’t let me put our daughter down for a sleep in our locked room, whilst we sat on the beach near by in case someone might kidnap her. (We were on an island in the middle of nowhere!).

There is a fine balance between wrapping your child in cotton wool and giving them their freedom, so they can learn to be independent.

Have we become a nation of paranoid mummies? Has it always been the same throughout the ages, or is it because we are now exposed to tragedy after tragedy in the media which makes us more aware?

Could it be to do with age? I’m now in my 30s and much more aware of things that happen in the world. When I was younger I rarely even watched the news or picked up a paper. I didn’t really pay attention to what went on in the world.

What do you think? Are you a paranoid mummy?

{ 16 comments }

The Mad House March 19, 2010 at 9:22 am

I think we are more aware of this now, but I dont think it is more prevelant.

I try to be relaxed about things especially nudity when we are at the beach and in the garden etc. I will not project my issues on to the boys.

They are both aware of stranger danger, but childhood is precious, I want it to stay as innocent as possible for them both

The Mad House March 19, 2010 at 9:22 am

I think we are more aware of this now, but I dont think it is more prevelant.

I try to be relaxed about things especially nudity when we are at the beach and in the garden etc. I will not project my issues on to the boys.

They are both aware of stranger danger, but childhood is precious, I want it to stay as innocent as possible for them both

muummmmeeeeee...... March 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Oh God I definitely am… it drives the husband nuts! I’m irrationally terrified of them choking, being abducted, run over…you name it, I’m scared of it. It’s unhealthy but I just can’t help it.

muummmmeeeeee...... March 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Oh God I definitely am… it drives the husband nuts! I’m irrationally terrified of them choking, being abducted, run over…you name it, I’m scared of it. It’s unhealthy but I just can’t help it.

Crystal Jigsaw March 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I think I can be a bit paranoid but I’m not feeling bad about it. I’ll protect my daughter to the ends of the earth and if that makes me paranoid then so be it.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned we are more aware because of media attention. I should imagine parents have always been paranoid but now we now what we need to be paranoid about.

CJ xx

Crystal Jigsaw March 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I think I can be a bit paranoid but I’m not feeling bad about it. I’ll protect my daughter to the ends of the earth and if that makes me paranoid then so be it.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned we are more aware because of media attention. I should imagine parents have always been paranoid but now we now what we need to be paranoid about.

CJ xx

Louise March 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I think we are more aware of things now, via the media mostly, so that makes us more paranoid. I’m in my 30’s too and I think I’m less paranoid than when I was in my 20’s, because I understand now how the media can manipulate us and scare us.

However, I think we all have our limits and things we find acceptable. Living in an urban area I don’t feel happy letting my kids out of my sight (they are 8 and 2), I think its natural to always think of the worst case scenario.

It would be nice if we got back to a more community focussed way of living where we all kept an eye on each others children, then maybe some of our paranoia would disperse.

Louise March 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I think we are more aware of things now, via the media mostly, so that makes us more paranoid. I’m in my 30’s too and I think I’m less paranoid than when I was in my 20’s, because I understand now how the media can manipulate us and scare us.

However, I think we all have our limits and things we find acceptable. Living in an urban area I don’t feel happy letting my kids out of my sight (they are 8 and 2), I think its natural to always think of the worst case scenario.

It would be nice if we got back to a more community focussed way of living where we all kept an eye on each others children, then maybe some of our paranoia would disperse.

Luschka March 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm

This is actually an issue that Sue Palmer addresses in her book ‘Toxic Childhood’. It’s really worth a read. I totally agree though – it’s incredibly hard not to feel terror at the mere thought. My daughter is asleep in my room at the moment, the room next to where I’m sitting, and since her birth I’ve thought a million times about the baby that was kidnapped from her room in the US about 10 years ago. It’s totally random that I would think about that now, but whenever I put my daughter down, I glance at the window to make sure it’s shut – and we live on the first floor!

Sue Palmer puts it down to media coverage, and the ability to see ‘bites’ of disaster played over and over on our screens. I don’t know, but I know I’d rather be careful than be going through what the McCann’s are going through.

Thanks for the introspection

Luschka March 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm

This is actually an issue that Sue Palmer addresses in her book ‘Toxic Childhood’. It’s really worth a read. I totally agree though – it’s incredibly hard not to feel terror at the mere thought. My daughter is asleep in my room at the moment, the room next to where I’m sitting, and since her birth I’ve thought a million times about the baby that was kidnapped from her room in the US about 10 years ago. It’s totally random that I would think about that now, but whenever I put my daughter down, I glance at the window to make sure it’s shut – and we live on the first floor!

Sue Palmer puts it down to media coverage, and the ability to see ‘bites’ of disaster played over and over on our screens. I don’t know, but I know I’d rather be careful than be going through what the McCann’s are going through.

Thanks for the introspection

Luschka March 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Another thought – I think that the fact that we see what COULD happen if our baby was kidnapped in shows such as CSI, Criminal minds and so on, and I think that increases the fear.

Lucy Quick March 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I’d like to think that I’m not overly paranoid, (perhaps only healthily so?) but I definitely am very careful. It’s a tricky balancing act, I want my children to be safe, but I don’t want to scare them unduly.

My two are still very young so it’s not too much of a problem right now; but I have been thinking about the sorts of things I used to do as a child – e.g. playing out on the street with other kids from my neighbourhood. Will I let them do that when they’re a bit older? I’m not sure. I worry that maybe they’ll resent that. I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

Very thought provoking post, thank you x

Lucy Quick March 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I’d like to think that I’m not overly paranoid, (perhaps only healthily so?) but I definitely am very careful. It’s a tricky balancing act, I want my children to be safe, but I don’t want to scare them unduly.

My two are still very young so it’s not too much of a problem right now; but I have been thinking about the sorts of things I used to do as a child – e.g. playing out on the street with other kids from my neighbourhood. Will I let them do that when they’re a bit older? I’m not sure. I worry that maybe they’ll resent that. I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

Very thought provoking post, thank you x

hpretty March 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I definitely see it from the other side. Of course bad things are happening in our world, but we are living in a media society that loves to create fear. I don’t want my children to grow up in fear, believing that there are lots of bad things that could happen to them. That makes me very sad, and i don’t think it’s necessary, yet. But maybe i’m dangerously naiive????
i actually wrote a blog on this subject titled “how much is too much”. would love your opinions on it as my own views seem to differ so much from yours.
http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com
btw love the blog have signed up for updates

hpretty March 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I definitely see it from the other side. Of course bad things are happening in our world, but we are living in a media society that loves to create fear. I don’t want my children to grow up in fear, believing that there are lots of bad things that could happen to them. That makes me very sad, and i don’t think it’s necessary, yet. But maybe i’m dangerously naiive????
i actually wrote a blog on this subject titled “how much is too much”. would love your opinions on it as my own views seem to differ so much from yours.
http://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com
btw love the blog have signed up for updates

cherishedbyme March 30, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I have definitely become a lot more worried about things that ‘could’ possibly happen as I have got older but I like to think I keep it in check. :0)

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