Etan Patz and the helicopter parent fear of stranger danger(Read article summary)
Etan Patz disappeared 33 years ago; the case is not good cause for today's continued anxiety and helicopter parent fears of stranger danger.
Hi Readers â€” By now Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve heard ofÂ new leads in the Etan Patz case, the missing child case that may have marked the beginning of our obsession with stranger-danger. Now comes this â€śfollow upâ€ť in Psychology Today, of all places, reminding parents to be worried all the time about abduction.
As if this fear had slipped most parentsâ€™ minds. As if itâ€™s helpful for anyone to focus on the idea of their children being murdered. As if stranger-danger is even a valid concept, considering that the vast majority of crimes against children are committed by people they know.
It is so easy to send parents into a tailspin of terror by mentioning the Patz case. Iâ€™m one of them. Thatâ€™s why I try not to think about it too much. Not out of any â€śdenial.â€ť Just out of emotional self-preservation, which in turn allows me to preserve my childrenâ€™s freedom.
At some point Iâ€™ll address the latest iteration of this stranger-danger obsession of ours: A recent magazine show featuring a creepy ice cream man trying to lure children into his clutches. The idea that there are any non-psychopathic ice cream men in America is becoming increasingly hard to grasp.
But thatâ€™s for another post. Right now, letâ€™s just take one quick glimpse at the Psychology Today piece, by a woman named Susan Newman, who writes:
â€śYes,Â childhood is supposed to be a period of innocence, but as long as people who prey on children exist, parents must be watchfulâ€¦. Reopening the public to the Etan Patz case hopefully will caution parents to dangers sadly still present.
Leave it to others to parse why a crime that happened 33 years ago is a good way to remind parents of dangers â€śstill present,â€ť Iâ€™m going to go get some ice cream. (If I donâ€™t ever post again, alert the police. And Psychology Today.)
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