You’re a parent, and you know what it’s like to worry. It never leaves you.
Your friend who watched the kids all day says she’ll have them home by 6 o’clock. At 6:01, you’re already concerned. By 6:10, you’re imagining that they must have been in a car accident on the way over. By 6:20, you’re calling local hospitals.
Then your friend pulls into the driveway. They were having fun and lost track of time.
You act like it’s no big deal, but it is. You worry about injuries at school, injuries in the car and injuries on the bus. You worry about friends and games and playgrounds.
If you’ve ever wondered why you do this, below are four interesting facts that can shed some light on it.
1. The lack of control is terrifying
People like to be in control. Your kids are in far less danger when they’re flying in an airplane than when you’re driving them to school in your car, but you feel far better in the car because you’re in control. It’s a false sense of security.
2. Man-made issues seem more dangerous
We have a sense that natural risks — too much sun leading to skin cancer — aren’t as frightening as man-made risks. You’re more worried about what other people are going to do, mistakes drivers are going to make or negligence from the staff at school. These things seem inherently more dangerous to your child.
3. A new risk always seems worse
For instance, your child has always lived with the threat of the flu. It takes lives every year. You probably don’t think of it very much, but when there is a new disease you’ve never heard of, it seems vastly worse. It doesn’t matter that the old risks are still there or that the new risk doesn’t impact as many people.
4. The media causes a panic
When the media picks up a trend, it’s in every story. That makes you worry, even though the problem isn’t technically worse.
For instance, drunk drivers are a threat on the roads. You’ve always known that, but then there are three drunk driving accidents near you. In one, a child on a bike is hit and injured. Last year, your child started riding his or her bike everywhere — it was fun and exciting for the whole family. Suddenly, even though the odds of that accident happening were the same last year, you’re deathly afraid to let your child ride. Nothing changed, statistically, but the media showed you the danger.
After an injury
There certainly are risks to your children, and they face them at school, at home and in the car. The key is not to worry constantly. Instead, just focus on being safe when you can and knowing exactly what to do if your child does get hurt.