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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 10, 2006 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5766

Overprotective? Who me?

By Marybeth Hicks



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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The light from the bathroom cast a green glow across the room, which otherwise was pitch black. I sat up in my hospital bed, my eyes fixed on the shaft of light that fell across the tiny face of my newborn daughter, committing her perfect features indelibly to my memory.

She had fussed, then nursed, then napped in my arms. I would have let her stay with me until sunrise if I had been a less experienced mom, but I knew my opportunity to rest was waning. The next day we would be going home, leaving behind the staff of nursery nurses and their round-the-clock assistance.


Reluctantly, I pressed the call button, and soon enough, the door opened and a shadowy figure approached my bed. "Ready to send your sweetie back to the nursery?" she asked.

"Who are you?" I asked her, searching for the hospital ID that should have been affixed to her scrubs. She wasn't the nurse I had expected to see.

"I'm Nicole, an aide. I work the night shift." She reached toward me to take my baby in her arms.

Suddenly, a potential headline flashed across my mind: "Mom gives baby to phony nurse's aide; kidnapping confirmed."

"Um, thanks anyway, Nicole. I think I'll keep her with me."

Hey, call me overprotective, but at least you won't be reading about my misfortune in the Sunday paper.

That incident pretty much defines my approach to parenting. For nearly 17 years, I have made decisions with regard to my children that are intended to eliminate the possibility that a chipper news anchor can ever begin a story about my life with the phrase, "And here's one that will baffle you moms and dads."

Thus, while parents from coast to coast are convinced there is nothing they can do to prevent their teens from engaging in hour after hour of online socializing, our house rules include "no instant messaging" and "no blogging or participating in social sites."

A few weeks ago, I realized my overprotective nature might have kept me off the front pages once again.

It seems a 16-year-old Michigan girl met a man who claimed through the social networking site www.MySpace. com to be a 25-year-old West Bank resident. If you don't know what this site is, you are either (a) not a parent or (b) comfortably resting in a coma.

Approximately 72 million people use MySpace to post photos, blogs and personal diaries. Supposedly the site allows open access to users older than 18 and has "closed" sites for younger users (meaning the pages of younger users can be opened only if you know a password available from the page owner).

Yeah, right. Teens never lie about their age. But I digress.

The Michigan girl, having fallen deeply in love with her West Bank Romeo, trumped up a lie about traveling to Canada with friends so her parents would allow her to get a passport. Then she managed to fly all the way to Jordan before authorities caught up with her and persuaded her to turn around and go back.

A wire story quotes her dad as saying his daughter is a straight-A student and student council member who is a good girl. "Never had a problem with her," he said. Maybe not, but there's a problem somewhere.

Some people think the central issue is one of homeland security. After all, with safety measures that include X-raying our flip-flops before we depart on an aircraft, it seems someone would have noticed an unaccompanied teen boarding a plane destined for a danger zone.

I think the security problem lies closer to home. In fact, I think the security problem is at home. In short: Too many parents are too comfortable with the Internet and not nearly protective enough about its role in the lives of their families.

Being a "good kid" is no guarantee that a child won't use the Internet inappropriately — or even innocently with all good intentions. That Michigan girl apparently didn't do anything but fall in love for the first time. Unfortunately, in the Internet age, even falling in love can be dangerous.

For years, our family has been among a handful we know that don't permit our children to use instant messaging or social networking sites to communicate with or make friends.

Though our policy sometimes has meant our children are out of the loop socially, it also has protected them from encounters that could corrupt their innocence and even endanger their personal safety.

My children haven't always been thrilled that our Internet rules are stricter than those of "everyone we know," but when the story broke about the good girl from Michigan, they finally understood how serious an issue online communication can be.

There are people who think our house rules about the Internet are unrealistic and unnecessary. I even heard from someone that our strategy of sheltering our children "can't be done." Really? Ask my teenage daughters.

We don't just set rules and leave it at that. We talk openly about the reasons behind them, and we maintain vigilant supervision so that our children can enjoy the Internet safely.

This way, if there's ever a headline about us, there's a chance it will say: "Overprotective parents keep dangerous strangers away from children; raise happy, wholesome young people."

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 19 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


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© 2006, Marybeth Hicks