Most definitely teach them to be safe. Teach them to trust their intuitions, teach them about friendly interactions from neighbors vs. invitations that are inappropriate, and teach them that there should never be a need to keep a secret from you. Remind them that no grown up they don’t know should talk to them without first talking to you. Ever. Help them learn to look out for each other. (See what I did there? Community!)
We need to pay attention to each other’s children. It takes a village, blah blah blah. Okay, it’s true, it does take a village, but that’s not actually why I’m paying attention. One really good reason is that I’m bossy, but another good reason is this: We can’t watch our children all the time! We need to be able to rely on each other. We need community.
We’re not soldiers in some fictional “mommy war.” We’re all on the same kid-raising team.
This is a dare. It’s a call to action (or inaction, depending on how you look at it).
Let’s stop judging each other, let’s let our kids have the childhood that we claim we had, that our parents claim they had. Things are not more dangerous today. Statistics show they really are not. We want our kids to get dirty, climb trees, and scooter-gang around the neighborhood on their own. Here’s how to do it: meet your neighbors, all of them. Your mail carrier and your UPS driver. Also, the guy that does the lawn next door every Wednesday. And the other parents at the park. Meet those people. Make eye contact every time you see them. Introduce your children to them. Add as many adults to their worlds as possible. Be the other parent looking out for kiddos that aren’t yours. Then let your kids run amok all over the place. That’s community, and community matters.