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Trust Your Children

Updated on October 10, 2010

It takes a village to raise a child.  A community.   

One day I was talking to my neighbor in Yorktown, VA. We were the only people in the complex who were younger than 60 years old...much less in their late 20's-early 30's. I loved living here! I was on the second floor and in both apartments on the first floor were retired women. These women watched our world. No-one could come into our parking lot without being seen, recorded, and catalogued.

Life is a funny thing. When you are a Mom, and you have to watch your own kids...and any extras that are around. That day, as she and I spoke, our children played near-by. Suddenly we both realized that there was no more squealing, poking or running going on. There one second, in sight, now both had disappeared.

We were not worried initially. It was a safe place, far from the main roads. As we called their names we walked through 2 of the buildings toward the front lawn. Then it hit...NO CHILDREN! We called louder. I ran down an embankment to see if they were on the other side. NO CHILDREN!

We started a search of the perimeter. No cars had passed that we knew of...but then again, the kids here a moment ago had now disappeared. Walking and calling we went around the buildings the long way.

The longer no answering cries came, the more our anxiety flared. We were now officially worried. WHERE could they have gone?!! "You didn't see a car, right?", we asked each other, both with negative replies. It seemed Scotty had beamed them up and we were on the verge of panic.

hehehe...hahaha....hehehe...hahah...We heard a slight sound coming from behind the door to the dumpsters. hehehe...shhhhh...hahaha....shhhhh...The sound became louder as we approached the enclosure. Hearing our approach, the sounds fell silent.

Later the kids told us they were just playing hide-go-seek with us. At first, not realizing the wrath of Mom, our children thought they had played the greatest joke in the world. Giggles, poking elbows and outright laughter exited the enclosure. With-in seconds us Moms were able to turn this into scared cries of, "We'll never do it again!"

Tales of children being stolen into slavery erupted from our lips. Intimidations of serial killers, rapists and pedophiles crossed the lines from our mind's eye to theirs...scarring them to strangers forever...just as we subconsciously hoped.

This story is to illustrate how we allow our fears of the world (as seen on TV) to contaminate our children.  It is a sad commentary to society that this has now become commonplace.  Don't let your children out alone...someone will steal them.  There are several ways that we, and the media, teach our children to be scared in our society.  

Is this right?  This living in fear of our fellow man?  We try to teach our children to love their neighbors, while in the same breath teaching them to fear adults (pedophiles), fear life (natural disasters) and to fear their friends (Columbine).  Don't get me wrong, fear is a very useful human emotion.  It keeps us safe at times.  However, fear of the rest of the world is wrong!

Our children are being consumed by a world lost in itself. Consumed by the newspapers, television and radio of distrust and disinterest. Why be interested in a world that is only there to harm you? Why trust politicians and celebrities who only think to forward themselves.

My father often told me that "life is not fair". It wasn't fair then and it's not fair now. But, community seemed stronger back then. Community watched your children when they were out of your sight. Community made sure they were safe and did not harm each other. Now it seems, community has become blind.

I remember playing outside everyday with other children in the neighborhood. We knew everyone on the block and they knew us. Even if it was only to yell at us to get off their yard, we knew each other. And if we were doing something we shouldn't have been we could be sure someone would phone or come by to tell our parents.

Who remembers when our parents shielded us from all that was wrong with the world? Who remembers when life was as simple as living up to the Jones'? What happened that we now need to fear all these social deviants? Is that the reality we want our children growing up in?!! One of fear and hate for their fellow man?


We still want our children to feel loved and safe. We still want them to live up to their individual potentials. However, we inhibit this by allowing ourselves to be sucked into the common fear of mankind.

The pendulum seems to be swinging again.  With the recent fall of the economy, I see society being a community again. To loving each other as a community. A community family that will look out for all children, even when we have none of ourselves. A community that realizes that children are our greatest national resource. A resource that needs to be nurtured and grown...not stifled and stilled.

I remember when my parents did not let me go anywhere or do anything without knowing who I would be with and where I would be. I could rot at home if I was unwilling to tell them the answers to these simple questions. Do you know who your kids hang out with? Have you at least met the parents?

Do you listen to your children's music? Do you watch their favorite TV shows? Do you see who they follow on YouTube? Do you you know who they e-mail? There are so many ways for others to subvert our kids. Who is safe?

I firmly believe we are all as safe as we see ourselves. Do not raise your children to be victims. The easiest victims are the ones who do not believe in the boogeyman. Tell your children of the boogeyman. He has existed since the beginning of time.

It's been the war cry of Moms for centuries. "You better listen or the boogeyman will get you!"

We all knew of the boogeyman. He was out there and he was NOT NICE! And even worse, he could be anywhere. He may be under the bed right now. What was that noise in the closet?! We knew instinctively it was safer to go in pairs and to stay out of the dark. But, did we learn to fear our fellow-man?


We would still talk to the new neighbors, asking them if they had kids or dogs. The only thing we feared being answered "No" to both questions. That usually meant one less yard of freedom.

Discuss the dangers in life with them and explain that although not every one is this way they need to be aware. Reassure them as you caution them. Yes we need to be wary at times and keep our wits about us, but we do not need to fear.

Raise them to ask questions. Teach them to judge situations and people for themselves, and not to blindly follow where led. Help them to think for themselves. Give them the freedom to explore on their own and learn self-reliance. Teach them to hold their heads high and walk with pride. The greatest gift we can give our children is the power to think for themselves.

We need to trust our children. Even though we know we cannot trust the whole world, we need to trust our children. We taught them how to think, how to feel. Society can only build on what we've taught.


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    • k@ri profile imageAUTHOR

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      I agree with the nursery rhymes and fables...these predators always have and always will exist. :D

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am soooo glad my kids are all adults now, but I do worry about the grandkids of course. There was a reason for some of those old nursery rhymes and fables. I also think that pedophiles preyed on children way back then and some monsters too. Why else did they come up with werewolves and children eating witches and vampires?

    • k@ri profile imageAUTHOR

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      KoffeeKlatch Gals, (BTW, can I say I love your name!) I really can't find anything to say there is more to fear now than then...I can find much that tells how TV's focus of the bad makes us think there is more so...

      I feel we could regain those days...we just need to make a few slight changes to our society. We need people to look and see the real news. Not the repeatedly repeated news.

      Thanks for the comment! :D

      Raven King, There is so much that confuses me these days! I have's a terminal illness for me (I hope!). That's because I'll (hopefully) have it till the day I die!

      My daughter has just turned 21...times are not the same as when I did. And we were in a recession at that time also. I find it important to instill our children with our values.

      I am proof that most kids, no matter how they act when they are acting out, will eventually revert to a culture close to the one they were raised in.

      As the song says...raise your children well...and learn from them! Thanks! :D

    • Raven King profile image

      Raven King 

      9 years ago from Cabin Fever

      This is wonderful Kari! You poured your heart and soul into this hub filled with a sense of hope. :)

      Happy Halloween!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I think the dangers have always been there but not to the degree they are now. It's sad that we have to be afraid for the safety of our children. Sad that some of them, many of them learn to be afraid. Wonderful insight into a large problem.

    • k@ri profile imageAUTHOR

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      ftclick, Most of the parents I have met are doing wonderful jobs. I understand parents can do everything that is right, and the child may still rebel. But, we need to let children make some of the decision. Give them choices. Let them know they need to live with their choices. Children will still rebel, but usually they will end up living a similar life to the one they were raised with...if they make it safely through the rebellion.

      dahoglund, I think overprotection is a growing trend. Kids don't go hang out anymore, they have "play-dates".

      jrbmft, It's very sad when what we fear most happens in what should be the safest place. I doubt if I could ever imagine what it is like. I have empathy for their pain. And it may be that our anxieties are a projection of our fears.

      I can't agree more that we need to get away from the drill-sargent parenting that is the norm. I like your idea of looking at the needs of all the members (adults included). We often overlook the needs of the adults in the family.

      I don't understand the "notion that punishment somehow gives life". I understand that when I break the rules of society I will be punished. I do not think that punishment helps us grow, or teaches us. Punishment is only a deterrent. It should not be the reason an action is not done.

      Thanks for your comment. You bring up some good issues. :D

    • k@ri profile imageAUTHOR

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      Mentalist acer, You are correct. And I hope that, as we teach our children, we will learn from them and continue to grow ourselves. Common sense and self-reliance are skills that are learned through living. No amount of "book learning" can teach us these.

      psychicdog, Thanks for reading! :D

      Haunty, It's great to see you! Sorry I've been MIA. Everything is great on the home front. How about with you?

      Maybe you should discuss your fears with your friend. Focus on how you feel and not on what she does. Let her know that you love her and fear for her. Tell her of your perceptions of how she puts herself in danger. These are your perceptions, not her's. If she has no fear, she may not need to have fear. It's a hard call, but if it's driving you crazy, you should probably discuss it with her.

      Shalini, It is so hard! That's why we need to stay balanced. Anxiety is a nameless's a type of fear of the unknown. It is better to fear concrete problems, than to wander with anxiety. I think today's society teaches anxiety. It is a very difficult obstacle to overcome.

      Tom, I was raised much the same way. I didn't believe I would ever meet anyone who was different than my family. I knew that there were things like drugs and abuse, I was just raised to believe it didn't happen often and never where I was.

      As I got older, I found out that I would know others involved in these activities. I felt betrayed by the knowledge, and guilty that I had it so good.

      I also will listen to my children's music. I may not always like it to begin with, but some of it grows on you...

      It's great that you held to your promise to listen. That must have been very hard. It is a wonderful gift for your children. We all need to know that we have someone that will love and accept us even when we are in trouble. I think this is one of the most important things to have in life. Unconditional love...

      dpinoy13, I agree also! :D

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      I have been working in the mental health field since 1967 and in private practice since 1982. I hate to tell ya, but an extremely small percentage of the children I have worked with because of some kind of trauma or victimization were "hurt" by a stranger or a weird pedophile roaming the neighborhood. Most of the wounded children I have worked with have been wounded INSIDE their own homes, and I think sometimes, as a society, we create this fear of what lurks in the shadows, as a way to keep anyone from looking right inside our own home.

      We have only just begun to really evaluate and begin developing a style of parenting that focuses on what each person within the family (including adults) NEEDS. For whatever reasonk, there is a long history of the drill instructor approach to parenting. Yes, we need to hold our children accountable and responsible, but we also need to give up the notion that punishment somehow gives life. It does not. And there are more "evils" within our own four walls, drill instructors, for one, than there are lurking outside our homes.



    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Actually we were somewhat unaware of the dangers around, especially drugs. It did not affect them but they were more aware than we were.It might be that they are a bit overprotective of their own children,though.

    • ftclick profile image


      9 years ago

      Parents do need to do their job more but there are some kids who will be rebels due to outside influences.

    • dpinoy13 profile image


      9 years ago from Antipolo, Philippines

      I agree with Shalini

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      9 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      My parents were very good to us. We learned about sexual and physical abuse in school, and really didn't believe it existed until we met people it had actually happened to.

      Still, there were two promises I made to myself on how I would raise my children differently than I was raised. First, I would listen to their music without condemning it. Second, I would encourage them to talk to me about problems by letting them know that they would not get in trouble for coming to me with issues, though they might if I had to find out about issues. The first promise was easy to keep. The second one wasn't always so easy.

      My kids are both adults now. They still talk to me about things I would rather they not have to deal with, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      9 years ago from India

      How true k@ri - and yet, it's so hard even though with worrying, we tend to pass all that negative energy to them too.

    • Haunty profile image


      9 years ago from Hungary

      How many times I asked myself these questions! Should we warn our loved ones of the dangers of the world or should we just let them live happily in blissful unawareness? Do we contaminate their life? I have a female friend in particular who has little fear of the world and I can't bring myself to scare her while in the meantime I'm going crazy in fear for her. Sounds like crazy already? Only she is an adult. If an adult has no fear of others what does that mean?

      Wonderful hub, k@ri. I hope you all are well. :)

    • profile image 

      9 years ago

      This is an awesomely insightful hub. Thanks.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      9 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Treating grown-ups as children and children as grown-ups is a philosophy that,teaching common sense and self-reliance to a child takes possession of these qualities by the parent.


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