Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Parenthood in an Age of Fear

By every objective measure, unless you live on the Southside of Chicago, the world is a safer place today than it’s been for long time. As people like Steven Pinker have repeatedly pointed out, almost every form of violence is less today than it was 50 or even 100 years ago.

So why is everyone so afraid, especially parents? Sure we’re afraid that our kids won’t have opportunities greater than ours, and we’re afraid about being ready to pay for their education, and we’re afraid that they will fall in with the wrong crowd.

But we’re also afraid of them going out to play, of riding a bike, of them being alone, or just being on a playground that doesn't have the proverbial good housekeeping seal of approval.

We want our kids to succeed and ultimately to feel at home in the world. But does mean overprotecting them in ways driven only by fear? Those are some of the questions that Kim Brooks as in Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, based on and motivated by her own awful experience.

My conversation with Kim Brooks: