Let your kids do dangerous things part (1)


My wife and I wrote this book, "Fifty Dangerous Things-
( raising children)". We wrote this book, and... A child psychologist in Australia said that the book was actively encouraging children to participate in activities that could scar, hurt, and kill! And this is without ever having seeing the book— never read it— he completely missed the point that the book is actually about safety. So, let's look at topic number one in this book of scar, hurting, and killing. Take something like "Licking a V battery". We chose this as the first topic in the book, because we thought that everybody would have done it. Wrong! It turns out that ideas about the risk of licking a V battery include things like death by electrocution, burn your tongue off, permanent loss of sense of taste. And the actual risk it's harmless. According to the Centers for Disease Control, who track these kinds of household accidents, there has never been not one single recorded incident of anyone being injured by licking a V battery. So where did these kinds of mythic false perceptions come from? And I think it's pretty easy to see where they come from these days ( raising children).

I don't have to tell you how much the media loves the story about a child in peril. People in Kazakhstan were watching this story unfold at AM their time. Is it any wonder that children in our society are over-protected? This kind of inundation of stories about children in peril and danger creates the illusion that children are actually in danger. And our perceptions of risk are based more on hearsay — a news media confabulation, really — than any rational analysis. And to talk about this, I've coined a new term. Dangerism. I want you to remember this term. This is based on the word carnism, which was coined by Melanie Joy in her book, "Why We Eat Pigs, Ride Horses and... Pet Dogs". But it turns out that our family histories and our cultural context, and our personal experiences in childhood and so forth have more to do with how we perceive danger than the actual measurable risks involved.

And like our phobias and our choices about which animals to eat, there may be no rational basis for this, and this has gotten to the point where our fears are so tainted by this exposure to the media, that the top five things parents are worried about in regards to their children — and you'll notice ninjas aren't on here — do not overlap at all with the five things that children in America are actually dying of. And what is so criminal about this is that the thousands of hours we spend talking to children about stranger danger would be so much better spent encouraging them to get outside, doing family interventions, or teaching them how to swim ( raising children).