Parenting: Protecting and Empowering Children
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For the past few generations, Americans have been told to worry about “Stranger Danger,” the idea that mean people are roaming the streets, the malls, and even the aisles of the grocery store ready to snatch, hurt, and traffic children. The crime rate has plummeted since the early ‘90s, but fear for the safety of children has not. Instead, we have seen ever-increasing supervision of our children. Adult supervision has become so expected that parents can find themselves torn between upholding new social norms regarding supervision or feeling like they are unfit or negligent parents because they favor giving their children more freedom. Where do we draw the line between protecting our children and supporting their independence?
Let's Get Started!
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Parenting: Protecting and Empowering Children (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. The group may choose to have everyone answer: A) whichever question speaks to them individually or B) the same question with an option to pass. Once everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for any clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring with other topic or related questions as time allows.
- At what age were you allowed to walk or play outside without an adult?
- How have you seen adult supervision become more intensive than it used to be? Where have you seen this play out in your own life?
- When have you felt safe giving your kids unsupervised time?
- What are the upsides and downsides of walking and playing outside without constant adult supervision?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?