Parents' Top Ten Fears

The other day my five-year-old son had surgery. Even though it was minor, I was still a little worried thinking about everything that could go wrong, as any surgery has inherent risks.

When Slim was just four months old, he had surgery to repair his cleft lip. After the surgery, he struggled to breathe on his own, and had to be monitored in the PICU. It was a scary situation that left an impression on me.
As I waited for my five-year-old to return from the operating room on Friday, I reflected on the fact that surgery worries aren’t even a blip on most parents’ radars. It’s more of a situational fear.

An informal poll of some of my friends and acquaintances on Facebook revealed what parents worry most about concerning their children. According to Allison of Motherhood WTF, it's "basically any bad thing that can befall a person." But here are the top ten responses:
10. Dating. Parents are already looking ahead to their children’s dating years and worrying about the choices they will make regarding sexual activity, especially parents of girls. Frugie from Frugalista Blog says, ". . . at some point [my daughter] will date and I know it's not for a while, but I just keep thinking of her with guys when she's in high school."

9. Drugs. “Just say no” doesn’t seem so easy anymore. Ilana of Mommy Shorts stated that, "Someone mentioned recently that kids today are doing heroin like it's no big deal. That freaked me out. I always thought when I eventually have the drug conversation I'd be talking about pot or something I could wrap my head around."
8. Driving. Many parents expressed fears as their children approach driving age, especially if they have friends in the car with them. Will they avoid texting and driving and drinking and driving? Toulouse of Toulouse and Tonic said, "Every time my husband pulls out of the driveway with both kids and I hear a siren somewhere, I'm afraid they've all been killed."

7. Accidents. Freak or otherwise, parents fear their child getting hurt. Meredith of The Mom of the Year, whose young son broke his femur and had to be in a body cast most of last year, said, "I always have this underlying sick feeling that they will somehow seriously hurt/maim themselves. Scary how quickly their lives/your life can change in the blink of an eye."

6. Bullying. It’s a sad fact that -90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying. Steph from I'm Still Learning, mom of two boys, says, "I worry about them being mean to others. I try so damn hard to teach them empathy and thinking of others' feelings, but kids can be so cruel -- especially as they get older."

5. Peer pressure/self-esteem. Many parents remember their own experiences in this area and hope to teach their children. Keesha of Mom's New Stage mentioned she is worried that her daughter will get her "shit body image." 

4. Medical diagnosis. With increasing awareness of many childhood diagnoses such as cancer, autism, and severe allergies, this is heavy on parents’ minds. Anna of My Life and Kids noted, "I used to work at a children's hospital, and I still carry around about 15 horror stories - they will haunt me forever."

3. Molestation. I shudder every time my boys are out of my sight with other people.

2. Kidnapping. When it happens, it’s all over the news; and every parent’s heart skips a beat.

1. Death. Obviously, I have first-hand experience in this area. I never thought it would happen to me. Exclusive of a severe genetic birth defect, what parent does?

My friend Kim from Rubber Chicken Madness, single mom of two teenage boys, summed up the whole parent worry issue perfectly when she said, "While I'd like to keep them both under lock and key in an ivory tower until they're at least 25 and past most of these terrifying things, I cannot. I must do my best to guide and educate and love and nurture and (carefully) build trust and love some more."

Thanks to all my friends who helped with this post. Please go visit them and give them some love.
Did this list include some of your biggest fears? If not, what are they?

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