Earlier this week, I penned a Meddler about charges that were laid against a parent in regional Queensland.
The parent’s crime was polarising: the person let their 8-year-old child take the journey to school unsupervised.
Boy, did this get the people talking.
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Some of you were outraged that parents could be charged for something so innocuous.
Some of you raged about the government being a ‘nanny state’ and parents becoming helicopters, and said we should be able to decide when and where our kids are old enough to have a little independence.
Some of you agreed with me, and said you wouldn’t be in a rush to send your kids out in the world for a walk or ride unsupervised. There’s nothing wrong with walking in pairs until you’re, well, I don’t know, 25?
And some of you were really angry with me, for bringing up the weekly route of a friend of mine, whose eight-year-old son rides his bike alone to karate each week.
You were angry because I’d shared this weekly routine, which somehow put my friend’s son at risk.
For those who were worried that my story may have encouraged predators to lurk by the freeway at 6pm at night waiting to snatch him, you can calm your farm. I changed all of the details of the story before I published it.
I may be many things – frustrating, annoying, belligerent and opinionated – but I’m not stupid.
But the other thing I am is outraged. I’m outraged by your outrage!
If you’re going to get that upset about children’s rights, why don’t you redirect your outrage towards child abuse?
Hetty Johnson from Bravehearts spends her days on the frontline, helping people to repair after the devastation of abuse – and just as importantly, educating kids in an effort to help them protect themselves from predators.
Who, by the way, are much more likely to be known to victims as a friend or family member.
Predators are everywhere – in our homes, our schools, our sporting clubs, our churches. We can’t protect our kids from everything. But we can walk with them to school a little longer, if that’s what we choose to do. I’m not saying any parent who chooses to encourage independence earlier is doing the wrong thing – I’m simply saying that in my view, what’s the harm in holding on tight for just a little longer?