Parent Paranoia

10 Signs You Suffer From Parent Paranoia, Also Known As Parent-anoia

Mom Jeanine
August 19, 2011


10 Things..., Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards, Safety

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For the most part, I would say I’m a pretty chill mom. Actually, you be the judge. I have my moments of paranoia, but doesn’t every mom? If you ask me, there are two things that truly terrify moms: their child getting hurt or someone taking their child. I think being cognizant of those things and parenting accordingly is what makes us good parents. But I was recently told that I sometimes take it too far. Actually, that I have parent-anoia.

Ouch. Maybe I do have parent-anoia, but I’d venture a guess and say I’m not alone. Here are 10 signs that apparently classify me as a paranoid parent:

1. The whole personalized backpack warning scared the crap out of me. When my doctor even hinted that my daughter’s adorable monogrammed backpack could make it easier for her to be abducted, I freaked out and told my little girl we could never take it outside again.

2. Me + the ER = BFFs. Earlier this summer my daughter fell down three stairs–that happened to be concrete–and had two nasty scratches on her face. My first thought when I heard what happened? “OMG, you might have a concussion. We have to go to the hospital!” 5 hours and $600  later, turns out she was fine.

3. Code name Pooch. Yes, for a while I tried using a code name with my daughter when we went outside together. Again, this stemmed from something my pediatrician told me. My daughter and I basically follow the same routine every day, so some random pedophile or child thief could easily learn our pattern and in turn my daughter’s name because I speak to her out loud. My doctor’s solution? Use a code name when in public, so if anyone other than me called my daughter by this name she’d know something was up. Like I said, I tried, but this one didn’t last very long.

4. You know those caves they have at some playgrounds? The ones kids can crawl through like a maze? Yeah, I don’t let my daughter go through them. Actually, I do, just not without me squatting right next to her squeezing through the tunnel. I know the chances are slim, but an abductor could theoretically be waiting in there to snatch up my kid.

5. I won’t vacation without my daughter. I also won’t let any loved one take her more than 2 states away. When her dad’s side of the family was planning a trip to Disney earlier this year, I just couldn’t wrap my head around her being in Florida while I was in New York. So I invited myself on the trip. Yup. Her dad and I are no longer together, but I spent an entire week with him–and his entire family–900 miles away from home.

6. I tried to talk my daughter out of getting on a rollercoaster. I know–it’s embarrassing. And in retrospect I really regret it. But that rollercoaster was so old and rickety and I honestly thought there was a good chance my little girl would get stuck on the track somewhere. Of course, she made it safely off the rollercoaster–and loved it–but the thought of her being on one of those rides still makes me queasy.

7. Confession: Part of the reason I still co-sleep with my daughter is because I’m terrified someone will kidnap her in the middle of the night. I know I will eventually have to get over it, but for right now she stays–in the bed–with me.

8. Given my… protective… ways, you would think I’d be all for child leashes. Turns out, I’m not, but it’s a very rare occasion to see my daughter and I walking down the street without holding hands. Tightly. On the even rarer occasions that I let her walk without holding my hand, she is already well-trained and knows that if she falls behind me or gets more than 5 paces in front of me, she will not have dessert that night. It’s kind of shameful to admit, but yes it’s true.

9. The open door policy. In addition to my habit of walking around my daughter naked, we also have an open door policy in my house. That means when anyone uses the bathroom, the door stays open. She can’t use the bathroom with the door closed and neither can I. I know it’s weird, but if she needs me or something happens to her I don’t want a closed door standing between us.

10. Please don’t report me to the authorities for this, but when I shower, I bring a bunch of my daughter’s toys in the bathroom so she can play in there while I’m showering. And yes, I lock the door. I just don’t think I could enjoy a shower knowing that my daughter was in another room… and that someone could get to her and me not know it until I was out of the shower. Scary.

Okay, so tell me. Am I taking it too far or just being a concerned, protective parent? Are there any unusual things you do in the spirit of keeping your kid safe? Share in the comments.

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  • erin
    August 19, 2011

  • You are right, Abduction is every parents biggest fear. We shouldnt judge another mother for doing what she needs to do to feel in control. I think a reason why you are a bit paranoid, is it sounds like you are a single mom and are doing this on your own. That makes a big difference. I can easily take a guilt-free shower if I know that my husband is in the living room with my child. Not every mom has that luxury.

    My only caution to you is the affect this may have on your daughter long term. We all want out children to be independent beings in the long run and i would just say to be careful your fears do not affect her from living a full life.

  • Tara
    August 19, 2011

  • We all, I hope, worry to some degree. I am a safety first person. I have explained how fire safety works. I also did a puppet show so my child could see what should happen if mommy or daddy were sick and could not get help or didn’t know where we were. (DC must not of listen when I said I was checking the mailbox, started to cry and proceeded to carry the baby to find me.)

    But there are times to let go. For instance, if you check that all the doors are locked you should be able to let your child play in the apartment and not the bathroom. Leave the door open. This might be a good first step. Remember, you want her to learn safety not be afraid of the outside world, or worse…you keeping her from the world.

  • Amy
    August 19, 2011

  • How about offering more rips that provide your child her own tools to be safe. Gawd forbid your not always around. Protecting our children is the single most important thing we can do. Installing fear or handicapping them without necessary skills may put them at greater risk.

  • Danielle
    August 19, 2011

  • I have some of the ones that you have listed like the co-sleeping but one of my big ones stem from my whole childhood being told someone will steal me or molest me. I am terrified that someone will molest my children, so I will not let my children go with any family members not even there father anywhere without me. I know that not everyone out there is going to molest my son and daughter, but having it drilled in my head everyday as a child does not help. My mother was molested by her father for years as a child so she drilled it into my head that you have to be very careful. I am now trying desperatly to let go of this notion because I know there father will not do this. we are together also. so it is a huge problem for me. I should trust him. My children are two and a half and three and a half. It affects every aspect of my life from grocery shopping to walking to the store down the street. I alter everything to be able to take my children. Its very difficult because we do not have a car and use the city bus. My boyfriend has severe social anxiety, so he does not ride the city bus to often. Its actually damaged pieces of are relationship. So I am working very hard at letting go and “chilling out” on it. It is very tiring and stressful for me. Plus it would be nice to not get kicked in the middle of the night or squished because there are four of us in our king size bed.

  • able mabel
    August 19, 2011

  • Hmmm, I do think you’re too paranoid. I agree with Erin, this could affect your daughter long term. There is nothing wrong with taking certain steps to keeping our children safe, but you still need relax and let your child live. It’ll do wonders for both of you if you could relax a bit. (I mean that in a nice way.)

    Is there more that you aren’t telling us? Do you have reason to be so worried that she’ll be kidnapped? Remember, stranger kidnappings are rare. Most often they are done by someone the child sort of knows.

  • lesa pinker
    August 19, 2011

  • I think we all have our fears and worries about our kids; I for one cringe everytime my kid takes a strawberry or melon from a cut fruit try because my big fear is food poisioning.

    People think it is so much more dangerous “these days” but crime has gone down since the 70′s and 80′s! Our kids are safer outside than we were!

    Did you know that the chance that your child will be abducted by a stranger is 1 in 1.5 million? Looked at another way, let’s say you willfully tried to get your child abducted by leaving him alone on the street unattended. Do you know how long, statistically that would take? 750,000 years!!!

    The number one killer of young children is motor vehicle crashes, but that doesn’t ever seem to make anyone’s list of fears that keep them up at night.

    The media does a good job scaring us about abduction, but how many people reading this post know someone whose child has been abducted by a stranger? If it was happening “all the time”, wouldn’t you know someone, at least casually, who this would have happened to? We are raising a generation of timid babies who are so frightened of taking risks that they never want to stray too far away from their moms. Maybe, just maybe, we kind of want that? Maybe we don’t want them to grow up and move away?

  • A mom in Ireland
    August 19, 2011

  • Did I miss where you said how old your daughter is? Because if she’s older than 3 or 4, I think you’re taking it way too far. And if you think you’re pretty chill, I’d hate to see your definition of high-strung.

    Despite what you may believe, stranger child abduction is actually quite rare, even in the US.

    I understand that you love your daughter and are trying to do right by her, but you might benefit from visiting a therapist and learning how to manage your fears. Fear is contagious and the messages you inadvertantly transmit to your daughter will be with her for a long time.

  • Alex
    August 20, 2011

  • I do think you are being WAYYYY too overprotective. Your child needs to learn to stand on her own two feet and take care of herself. Maybe you can focus some of that energy on teaching her some strategies to employ IF on the rare chance that something BAD does happen.

    It will give her confidence, and it will help you to focus that anxiety somewhere positive.

  • Ann in L.A.
    August 20, 2011

  • You really should get her a hat with lightning rod on it, because the chances of her getting struck by lightning are greater than the chance she’ll be abducted.

    You should also:

    Never put her in a car; they’re like little rolling slaughterhouses.

    Never let her cross any street…ever. Doesn’t matter if you’re with her or not–if you are, you’ll just get both of you killed.

    You let her use a stair?! What were you thinking?!!

    Bathrooms are death traps; teach her to use a bucket in the living room.

  • Beth
    August 20, 2011

  • I don’t know where to even start, because most of these things are beyond paranoid. You need to start taking baby steps to set both you and your child on the path to confidence and the ability to handle the world.

    One baby step might be giving both you and her privacy in the bathroom (you seriously change a tampon with her watching?). For heavens sake, close the door. A closed door isn’t going to prevent you from getting to her should anything happen in there.

  • ank
    August 20, 2011

  • Is this real? I have girls myself, ages 3 and 9 months. Look, I understand your concern about wanting your daughter to be safe. But maybe when you read the things you’ve written down, you’ll notice that what you are doing in the name of child abduction are pretty extreme. 50 children in this country are abducted by strangers and G-d forbid, killed. 1500/year are killed in automobile accidents! I suppose you never let your daughter in a car? And I hope you are never planning on being in another relationship, because the VAST majority of kids molested are by boyfriends and stepfathers. Something tells me you don’t live in downtown Beirut. How old is your daughter? Do you want her to grow up afraid of the world, afraid of being on her own and standing on her own two feet? I think you need to learn to take a breath and let some things go. I’m sorry if this sounds judgy but hey you asked! It’s okay to be afraid, but you need to learn some kind of coping mechanism to take a breath and learn to just LET GO.

  • sylvia_rachel
    August 20, 2011

  • Sorry, yeah, I think you’re being paranoid. (Although I do have to give you props for recognizing that the — very tiny — likelihood of your child’s being abducted by a stranger isn’t actually any lower in your apartment than out in the big bad world, I think you probably need to focus more on the part where that risk is VERY TINY.)

    You don’t say how old your daughter is, which makes it hard to gauge how paranoid some of your points are. (There are lots of things I let my now 9-year-old do now, or when she was eight or seven or six, that I didn’t let her do when she was five or four or three. A year or two makes a big difference.)

    Intent also matters. My daughter also co-slept until she was four — not because we were afraid she’d be abducted but because we only had one bedroom in those days. And we also routinely pee and shower with the bathroom doors open — not because we’re afraid anything will happen to her but because we’re, um, not very modest people. And we wouldn’t vacation without our daughter — not because we’re afraid of leaving her with someone else but because … we just don’t really want to. (We like family vacations. We’re weird that way.) IOW, I don’t see anything terribly wrong with much of what you talk about doing, but I would be worried about why you’re doing these things.

    The risk of someone kidnapping your child is so tiny, you really can’t base your whole lifestyle on protecting her from that and still stay sane. As for the fear that she’ll get hurt … yeah, she will. Sooner or later, all kids do. But if they’re never allowed to take small risks as small children, they’re more likely to take big risks as they get older, from not having first-hand experiential knowledge of where the line is for them between “This is tricky, but I can do it” and “This is crazy dangerous, so I’m going to pass”.

  • Stephanie H
    August 20, 2011

  • 1) The whole personalized backpack thing I can understand; however, I think decorative packpacks are still great…just with out the real name plastered all over it. In middle school, I would decorate my back pack with all sorts of things from marking my favorite band names, my friend’s would mark all over it with sayings or quotes or sew in my favorite music bands logos etc. Key chains was also a big thing on mine as well.

    I worked to pay off my back pack. Once I was bought with my money, I could decorate it. Back packs would last me forever, but each year I wanted something different to decorate for the year. My earned money so my mom didn’t care. But I had a rule I had to follow, never placing my name and address on it. I agree with that rule. Don’t have anything in there you can’t replace or be costly to replace.

    2). When a child falls, it is a scary thing; however, a parent needs to be updated on signs to look for. If a child has no signs of sever injury, the likely of something wrong is way low. but I am not to judge a parent to do it as most likely, my instincts would kick in and I would rather pay for the assurance of my child being okay than to do the ‘wait and see’. I also have insurance and the small co pay would be worth a scan to show no cracks or bleeding on the brain. Just have to judge how the injury happened and see if it warrents a doctor visit. I been bucked off my horses, ran into fences, off road quad run over me by flipping it etc. I rarely went to see the doctor as I knew I was just sore and still breathing. If by day 3 I was in a lot of pain and hard time breathing, I would go into the doctor. but the first few days are the sorest. Many people panic too quickly.

    3). Code names are great ONLY if it is used in certain situations. If you are having someone else pick your child up from school, that person can give the after school teacher the secret code name that only the parent, the after school teacher and the child knows. Of course, a show of ID and the parent notifies the teacher of who on the roster of “okay list” to pick the child up. This was extremly common when I was working as an After school teacher’s aid. I adored it. If the person could not say the code name, I would not release the child. Rules are rules to assure the parents their child is in good hands.

    but if done in public everyday…call the child by the child’s name you gave them.

    4) If a parent is supervising their child as they should on a playground, I would not be tailgaiting them on each obsticle. The child should play with their peers at this point with out mama or daddy interfering. If a obsticle is off limits, be reasonable as to why it is. A child will learn fear by their parent’s own fear. (sometimes very irrational). The likely of someone to snatch a child in broad daylight with a parent 10 feet infront of them, would snatch a child regaurdless if the parent was holding on to them or 1 foot from the child. Snatchers pray on children who are not being watched or children alone. This fear is a little over the top.

    5) If you can’t trust the dad to care for her on his own with his family at hand, then there is some serious issues. The dad and family should have time with her with out you always involved. Envasion of privacy and bonding time. Please reconsider this situation. This isn’t about you. This is about her and her time with her “other” family besides yours.

    6) Rollercoasters are safe for the most part. she is more likely to be in a wreck than to get hurt on a rollercoaster. There is always a risk on anything we do; however, rollercoasters are inspected more than what your vehicle is. In bigger case, your home is. I LOVE rollercoasters and so happy my mom never told me no to a rollercoaster because of fear of getting hurt or stop on a track. If she told me no, it was because horrible ratings and factual information on the ride by being investigated. At that point, they would have shut down the ride. So, never a no was told on that. If the ride was ouchy (six flags magic mountain the old wooden roller coaster ride was pretty rough), i learned by experience it was not fun for me. No need for my mom to make a learning decision when I could easily do that on my own.

    7). If you can not feel safe in your own home, then there is something wrong. My home is my territory to feel safe and secure. If I don’t, I do something about it. Install alarm on the house. My brother (which I am really into this idea) installed an alarm that will tell you which door and window is open. (guest room 3 window is open) or something. Some different programs and voice abilities are available. I 100% recommend to look into it. Teach your child where the appropriate defensive objects are and they are only to be touched IF she is placed in a situation with a stranger to cause harm (seriously, a child 10+ should be able to use sharp objects to defend themselves). Make sure all doors are locked at night and windows shut. Make sure if sliding glass windows have secured locks beyond the factory locks that are EASY to break into. If someone wants to break into your home, they are more opt to go after electronics and things to steal than to just go after your child.

    8) Hand holding and leashes is something hubby and I do in public. My daughter is 2 years old. We would be irrisponsible if we didn’t do it at this age; however, a child that is over the age of 6 shouldn’t have to be on a leash or hold hands all the time (holding hands in a very public place where the streets are crowded. I would not object too. but a neighborhood side walk is over board). Once the child learns appropriate distance and behavior, it is okay to let them be independant with you still having safety control. Safety isn’t always about physical. It is mainly installing proper information about why being safe is important. Once the child starts to understand that information, you can let up on the physical part of it (leash/holding hands, tail gating their every move).

    9) I have a big problem with this by the reason you give. Where is the privacy? Where is the respect? What about when guest are over? My daughter being 2, it is a great tool for her to know what the toilet is for. Making the potty training great BUT, after she is potty trained, she will close the door for herself. For me, I close my door if her daddy is home and we teacher her to NOT open the door. It is mommy’s time for potty privacy. A great tool to teach her that she isn’t always welcome to go anywhere she wants to. Especially if guest are over and they close the door to the bathroom or their own guest room. she has to know that privacy and respect has to be given. When hubby isn’t home, I put her in a safe area of the house. sounds like your child is at a stage they know better than to do certain things. It is about dicipline and teaching that while you are in another room, they are to behave themselves.

    10) This all goes back to being safe in your own home and your child knowing the boundries. I used to shower with my mom up til I was 7 in the mornings because it was easier for her to get ready for work and me for school. I then started to take showers at night once my sister was out of the house after my brother would take one (or visa versa). No way to leave a child alone at the age of 2 or even 4 or 5 for long periods of time in another room because to make sure they are being supervised for choking hazards or injuries BUT to fear someone to take her from you while you are in the shower is irrational. Unless she is the not listening type to want to get out the door once you turn your back, I would suggest lighting up slightly.

    Each reason is based on someone kidnaping your child in some way or fashion. I wonder if you or someone else close was kidnaped before. This is a big fear of yours and there is a reason behind it. What you do as a parent is none of my business. but you did want some feedback. My main thing is what impact is this doing to your child with the fear of her being kidnap being placed in each decision you make. I understand wanting her to be supervised 100%. BUT, to not allow her time with her dad/family with out you (which I can imagine his side of the family is annoyed by that) and you can’t even enjoy your home with out constant fear, leads me to believe this can impact your child more than you think if she has to be sheltered in her own home from her own family….The world is a scary place…but her home shouldn’t be nor should she fear the world or to try something new or something fun because of “potentional” dangers that surround us regaurdless if we are in a padded room or not.

  • Stephanie H
    August 20, 2011

  • One thing I would like to mention is if something happened to you (whether long term injury or death), how would your child cope? You haven’t gave information on how you are teaching her tools to be safe or learn from her own mistakes. If she depends on you to protect her, even from her own family and home, how will she handle your death? (yes, death is something to talk about and to face one way or another. We all have a birth and we all will have a death. Not everyone will live past 80). Hard topic to talk about about, but a topic that is a must that we can’t get around.

  • Allison
    August 21, 2011

  • If a closed door in your own home is a scary thing, you have way more problems than should be addressed in a blog forum.

  • Melissa
    August 21, 2011

  • I hear you on a lot of those things. I was considering the harness until I saw a kid with one up close and it totally changed my mind. I’ve been having serious talks with my 3 year old about staying close and not running away from us when we’re out.

    My husband recently took her on a roller coaster made for small-ish kids and I freaked out the entire time, especially once I noticed that he got the front car for both of them! I mean, seriously??

    When we’re home alone and I have to shower, I’ll have her play with her toys in our bedroom, with the door closed, and I have to door to the bathroom open so that I can hear her if she needs me.

    We don’t co-sleep but those stories that appear in the media about children who get abducted from their bedrooms definitely freak me out. How does that happen?

    I also get anxious when she spends part of a weekend with her grandparents. I’m afraid she’ll be on her grandfather’s shoulders and he’ll have a heart attack, or he’ll be driving and…have a heart attack. Or she’ll choke on something, or they won’t put sunblock on her (the list goes on and she always comes back in one piece and always has a blast with them).

    The problem with all of this is that I’m afraid to voice these fears with anyone lest they think I’m crazy!! Thank you for your post. I know it’s a balance but I don’t feel so parent-noid anymore!

  • mayra
    August 21, 2011

  • This is over the top paranoia, get some therapy – talk to someone about these issues and chill out! You need some help…you daughter will soon need help too.

  • AnonD
    August 24, 2011

  • Yes, you are being overprotective. Your child has a better chance of being struck by lightning than being abducted. Seriously, you’d be better off getting therapy for your anxiety disorder than trying to figure out ways to prevent what is a statistically insignificant risk. Certain privacy precautions are worthwhile, not so much for abduction risks but just for all the other scam-related and identity theft concerns that are more likely to be a problem for you and your child. However, this clinging to your daughter is only going to teach her to have an anxiety disorder, too.

  • Cathy
    August 28, 2011

  • Yikes…you have some major issues you need to work on. If you continue some of them your daughter is going to be really messed up and, worse, extremely fearful of the world. She will never be able to enjoy life because you are putting these insane thoughts in her head that if she’s not with you 24/7 something bad will happen. That’s the way NOT to parent, because what you’re doing is raising her to be utterly and completely dependent on you and fearful of everything and everyone else. No way will she grow up to be a mature independent happy adult with you beating all this fear and dependency into her head. If she’s potty trained she should be allowed to have privacy in the bathroom. That’s not only paranoid and insane, it’s gross and must be so embarrassing for her if she’s school age! I am sure you’re doing the best you can but you really need to seek some professional help I think to try to figure out why you are so terrified of your daughter being abducted or harmed. Yes, it’s a fear every parent has. But to stifle not only your own life but keep her from having a happy childhood is very unfair to you both. Please seek help. You’re not crazy or wrong, but there’s obviously some deep issues going on here that need addressed so you both can live happier and more stress-free. Good luck.

  • JennLee
    August 30, 2011

  • Remember that scene in “Finding Nemo” when Marlin says, “I promised I’d never let anything happen to him!” Dory replies, “That’s a funny thing to promise. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.” Relax just a little. I know you’re scared; fear is a normal reaction to the horrific things we all know happen in this world. But ask yourself: do I want my daughter’s life to be ruled by fear or ruled by hope? Don’t teach her that fear wins. That outcome is a tragedy that you have every power to avoid.

  • sarabethany
    August 31, 2011

  • I’m also a single mother and I do all of these things. There are 56 registered sexual offenders in my neighborhood. And I can’t afford to move. Better safe than sorry.

  • TaraK
    September 22, 2011

  • I don’t know how old your daughter is (I assume preschool or early elementary school?), but yes, this is over the top. Kids are not getting abducted left and right! Your daughter is going to grow up thinking that there is a boogey man around every corner. She will not have the skills she needs to be a successful outgoing adult if you continue to OVER shelter her in these ways.

  • Steph
    September 22, 2011

  • Ok, I have to say this not as a parent (since I don’t have kids) but as someone who’s had first-hand experience with an anxiety disorder. Please, please, please consider seeing a therapist. It’s not healthy to let fear of the what-ifs, especially the what-ifs that are so rare as to present what is barely a negligible risk, rule your life. It’s one thing to be aware of potential dangers, but you have to consider the actual risks, and that includes the risk of your daughter growing up afraid and codependent.

    And children DO pick up on parents’ anxiety. My mother has the exact same disorder as me, and in retrospect she recalled me displaying symptoms from the time I was a toddler. But because she thought her own behavior was normal, I spent the first 25 years of my life crippled by constant anxiety and thinking that was how life was supposed to be.

    So again, please consider seeing a therapist. Not just for you, but for your daughter, too.

  • Marion
    September 22, 2011

  • Lady, you’re beyond paranoid. You’re harming your child with your irrational fears.

    I don’t give a damn if I’m ‘judgemental’. Your pedeatrician should get his butt kicked for feeding you media-influenced crap like that and you, young lady, should get your proverbial butt-kick as well.

    Did your mother ‘co-sleep’ with you? No, you were told you were a Big Girl now and had to sleep in your own bed and wow, didn’t you felt like you’ve grown an inch everytime your mom or dad told you that you were a Big Girl Who Could Do Things? Think about how ‘small’ you keep your Big Girl every time you tell her that she is helpless, gormless and only interesting as bogeymen-fodder.

    Did your mother crawl after you in your hideyhole or playhouse for fear that some bogeyman hid inside them? No, of course not, your mother had better things to do with her time and a better grip on reality.

    And don’t give me that tired ‘times have changed’ line. Times HAVE changed. Crime has *gone down*. The chance of your kid is going to be kidnapped is slighter than it being hit by lightning. (oh dear, NOW you’re going to strap a lightning rod on the poor kids’ head, I’m sure)

    So get a grip, lady! Grow yourself a spine, grow some common sense and stop harming your child!

  • Silver Fang
    September 22, 2011

  • The things about being in the playground apparatus with the daughter and not allowing her to lock the bathroom door seem extreme to me.

  • Jenne
    September 22, 2011

  • Instead of being paranoid about other people knowing your kid’s first name, wouldn’t it be better to teach him or her that not everyone who knows their name actually knows them or is a safe person?

    Are there actually studies that show that kids assume that someone who knows their first name is a safe person? Or is this something people just made up? (My kid ignores his name most of the time, whoever says it, but is very clear on who he knows– on the other hand, he’s a special case.)

    And, given the tiny number of stranger abductions every year, it may well be a good idea to talk to a counselor about your worries. It sure doesn’t sound like you’re completely comfortable with them either.

  • Lisa
    September 22, 2011


  • Anxiousforyou
    September 22, 2011

  • I feel really sad for you that you that the media has you so concerned about child abduction that you, and by extension, your daughter, cannot even feel safe in your own home. It’s our job as parents to give our children the tools they need to go out into the world and prosper. If we teach our children that they are unsafe everywhere, at every moment, there is no way that this will ever happen. It seems that you are teaching your daughter that she cannot even feel safe with her father. At this rate, your daughter will trust no one but you and will be paralyzed by fear.

    I would also caution that when you are dealing with divorce and potential custody issues down the road, displaying paranoid behavior could be construed as a form of child endangerment. It is serious stuff. Treatment now would be a very good idea. Never letting her go to the bathroom with the door closed? We aren’t talking about a teenager with a drug problem or an eating disorder that you are trying to protect from harming herself. If she were 1 or 2, then playing on the floor while you shower might be reasonable. But I get the idea that your daughter is quite old enough to play on her own in your apartment for 10 minutes without being 4 feet from you.

    Yes, all moms fear bad things happening to their kids. But balancing that fear is usually a healthy dose of rational reasoning that tells us what is reasonable precautions and what is above and beyond. What concerns me is that you aren’t talking about things that you imagine and then realize wouldn’t be reasonable. You actually punish your daughter for getting 5 steps away from you. You deprive her of independence and privacy of even going to the bathroom in private. How is your daughter supposed to learn appropriate boundaries, respect for others privacy and personal space? What really are the chances of something happening to her in the bathroom while she is peeing? I could understand asking her not to lock it, but forbidding a closed door? You are hindering her healthy social development because of your fears. And your pediatrician isn’t really helping your paranoia either. She’s fueling it.

    I really, really hope that you get some help. I don’t think you are a bad mother, I just think you have some serious anxiety issues that need addressing so that you don’t do serious harm to your daughter’s mental health. You don’t have to live with that anxiety. The risk of abduction is so low, it is so awful to know that you are torturing yourself over this and losing so much enjoyment in life, and your daughter too. I hope you are able to get some treatment so that you and your daughter can live a normal life.

  • T
    September 22, 2011

  • I mean this in the nicest way. Please get help. No, you are not paranoid. You have gone way beyond paranoid and it isn’t visible in the rear view mirror.

    You are doing a huge disservice to your child. Get help.

    (how is it possible to describe yourself as a ‘chill mom’)

  • J
    September 22, 2011

  • Am I the only one who thought this was deliberately over the top and tongue-in-cheek?
    Not actually meant to be serious?

  • Beth
    September 22, 2011

  • @ Silver Fang….the daughter is not only not allowed to lock the bathroom door, she is not allowed to CLOSE it! “…. if she needs me or something happens to her I don’t want a closed door standing between us.”

    For the love of all that’s holy, tell me when it became so hard and so challenging to OPEN a door. There is no way on earth you can refer to yourself as a “chill” mom, when you can’t even open a door. Please get help.

  • Anderlie
    September 22, 2011

  • You’re insane. End of story.

  • Ellen
    September 22, 2011

  • Two things. First of all, to the person who said there were 56 sex offenders in your neighborhood so you do all these things… does not allowing your child to shut the door while peeing keep her safe from sex offenders?

    Second, to Jeannine the original writer. Get the book “The Winters in Bloom” by Lisa Tucker. Read the first chapter – it’s written from the vantage point of an 5-year-old who has been overprotected all his life. You don’t have to read the whole book, but read that chapter. If that doesn’t scare you into changing how you interact with your daughter, then nothing will, and I feel very sorry for both of you.

    Are you ever going to respond back to the people who have taken the time to answer your question and respond to your blog?

  • Brenna
    September 23, 2011

  • I am really hoping this is tongue in cheek, because if it’s not you’re doing your daughter a grave disservice.

    sarabethany – You say there are 56 registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. Some day, take a look at who ends up on that list, and do a rational analysis of how many of those people are actually a risk. I know one woman who ended up on the list because she showed her teenage sister how to use a tampon and the school counselor disapproved. My next door neighbor is on it because as a 18 year old he got into a fist fight with a 17 year old. Most people on those lists are not in any way a threat to kids. Especially kids they don’t know. Stranger molestations are the rarest type. If your kid is going to be molested, it will most likely be by your next boyfriend. Don’t let Nancy Grace raise your kids.

  • Name (required)
    September 26, 2011

  • Yeah, this is overkill. I have (sorta ‘had’, I try to keep as much distance between us as I can) an overprotective and deeply controlling mother. She also walked around naked (horribly embarrassing, as far back as I can remember), she also didn’t like me closing doors to my bathroom or bedroom (big arguments as I grew older over this and even when I would insist on closing them, she would just open them and walk in whenever she wanted) and I was rarely allowed out, had to tell her every place I went, with whom, call nonstop, etc. It was crazy. I hate her now. Absolutely hate her. She smothered me, embarrassed me, invaded my privacy (she went through my belongings, talked to my teachers and friends about me behind my back; I did nothing wrong, she just wanted to “check”) and I absolutely have no respect for her and no love for her. I realize she is toxic in her control issues and views me as some kind of extension of herself hence feels entitled to try and control my every action and thought. I wasn’t a stupid child, I knew about “stranger danger”. not to answer the door for people I didn’t know, don’t go off with strangers, if I’m lost to find a police officer or fire fighter, etc. She still smothered.

    I suggest you find some kind of balance between educating her and teaching her to make the right decisions and have an action plan and being reasonably informed about her daily routine and activities/outings and beyond that giving her privacy and decision making powers of her own (that graduate as she grows older). Otherwise you WILL lose her, I promise you that.

  • Brooke
    October 8, 2011

  • You’re effin crazy. Please, please, PLEASE get help before your scar your daughter for life. Get a new pediatrician too…he shouldn’t be feeding into this insanity.

  • Becky
    October 8, 2011

  • I think it is good to always be on your toes about your child’s safety, but as the little girl gets older(if she is really young) maybe it is a good idea to educate her on handling scary situations. I know I need to plan this for my 2 year old

  • sueb262
    June 14, 2012

  • You are certifiable. Your poor daughter will have much to recover from as she matures (maybe one day you’ll mature, too).