Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Just Call Me Granny?

03/12/2012 at 09:00 AM ET
Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her roles as Serena on Law & Order and Kate on Angel, just marked a year blogging for PEOPLE.com.

The actress recently appeared on CSI: Miami. She also has a role on The Client List and upcoming films Transit and Officer Down out later this year. She can be found on Facebook, Google + and @ElisabethRohm.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — realizes that by being overly cautious, she’s taking all the fun out of a family bike ride.

Please share your embarrassing tales of overbearing parenting with Elisabeth in the comments.

You know how we always look at other people’s less savory habits and think things like, “That would never happen to me,” “I’d never do that” or worse, “What’s wrong with them?” Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve done that a time or two. But we can get into that later — that’s another blog!

For today, I have important parenting advancement or rather regression to share … it has come to my attention that I have become “like them” — that person or parent I thought I’d never be. The above-referenced person that was way off-base, off-track and completely unlike myself. Meaning, I’ve lost a bit of the cool customer I once was.

I’m not saying that’s totally out of left field as a parent. I mean, c’mon — we are tested daily by our little ones. Not to mention they help us grow immeasurably. It would be pretty hard to stay free-spirited and mellow with them 24/7, or with ourselves for that matter. Gone are those reckless outings — sort of.

I am ashamed to say that I have morphed into a bit of a worrier. Truthfully, my poor girl can’t do anything these days without me saying, “Be careful.” I mean, I don’t want her to get hurt. Can you blame me? But I don’t want her to grow up nervous and tentative either. I just don’t like how uptight I’m becoming. I think I need an intervention (just kidding).

It really became clear to me the other night. At 5 p.m., we took a bike ride with Little Miss E., who wanted to cruise on her hot pink tricycle as the sun was setting. And who could blame her? It was a gorgeous late afternoon here in Venice, Calif.

Ron and I followed faithfully behind, enjoying her joy and athleticism. Easton loves to fly on her bike as if it were a horse. Think Every Cowgirl Needs A Horse (great book, by the way). By nature, she’s brave and likes to gallop free — only to be stopped every three seconds by my yelping, “Stop! Slow down.” Easton was just beginning to feel the wind in her hair, but had to bring her bike/horse to a standstill so that I could catch up.

“Okay, you can go now,” I’d say. So, Easton would start to peddle off into the sunset once again with a delicious smile spreading across her face and a winsome giggle — until I’d notice a driveway and shout, “Stop! Cars can’t see you when they are backing up.”

And since the houses in Venice are close together, there’s a driveway every 50 feet. She couldn’t get any speed. Whether it was the road, an alley or a driveway, I was running to catch up and urging her to slow down or stop all together.

Now, of course I was practicing safety, but I’m dialing it back to my childhood and thinking about how I could leave for entire afternoons to ride my bike or explore in the woods of upstate New York. My whole childhood was about freedom and scraped knees. I loved it. That kind of freedom made me confident.

Easton picked up her pace again as Ron pretended to race her — and I noticed that as she turned around to see her father on her heels, her bike began to wobble a little. “Careful, you could fall over,” I warned, as if that was the worst thing in the world. Yes, I began to notice my annoying and fearful warnings as exaggerated and stifling — but it didn’t end there.

Soon, Easton wanted off the bike to do some exploring. I mean, who wouldn’t want a little adventure if someone was calling out to you every couple of minutes to watch out, slow down or be careful? So she gets off her bike to say “Hi” to a seemingly sweet little pup that was in its yard, wagging its tail and basically smiling at us as Easton moved closer.

As she approached to say hello to the little fella I said, “Oh, don’t touch the doggie. He might bite you.” As the words came out of my mouth, I cringed. I was raised as and by an animal lover and even consider myself to be somewhat of an animal whisperer. I would constantly save strays, rehabilitate hurt animals and have been a horseback rider since I was five years old.

When it comes to animals, I am fearless. Why was I making my daughter afraid of animals? Who was this person that had taken possession of my body? Of course I was right, to a certain extent, considering that we didn’t know the dog or the owners, but the pup was harmless. I could have told you that. Yet, I had to pipe up and squash her fun for fear of a freak accident.

I mean, it’s my baby we’re talking about it. Even though I felt justified, I knew deep down that I had to get control of this new development in my parenting.

It didn’t end there. Oh no. Then there was the filthy shirt she wanted to examine and the shower that someone had left out for the trash pickup that she wanted to explore. “Don’t touch that, Easton,” I said. “Dirty. We don’t know who touched those last.” She recoiled as if I had saved her, because she trusts me. But what kind of message was I sending? “Be afraid.”

Ugh, by the end of the walk I had exhausted myself — not to mention Ron and Easton — with my litany of fears. The poor girl hadn’t been allowed to do anything adventurous at all. As we made our way back into the house as it turned dark, I thought, “Ah-hah, I have a blog to write.”

I mean seriously ladies, what the hell was wrong with me?! Who have I become? A mom. I get it. I’m supposed to protect her. But I swear I sounded like Old Mother Hubbard. You can just call me Granny, PEOPLE.com.

And let me tell you, I always think that the best part of my childhood were those lost hours outside playing — the time I fell off my bike or my horse and got back on. Those memories always make me feel like I can do anything. Let’s face it, kids need to play, sweat, get dirty, climb fences, resolve conflict and race their darn bikes.

For the record, I’m a pretty fun, free-spirited and wild soul. I really couldn’t believe the measure of my warnings and the caution I was encouraging Easton to have. It’s a character departure, for sure! So I’m going to work on this — after all, I want to encourage Easton to be brave, don’t I? I don’t want to raise a scared little mouse.

Please tell me your tales of woeful descent into overbearing parenting, ladies — I’m dying to know.

Until next week, my friends.

– Elisabeth Röhm

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Showing 63 comments

Samantha on

In this day and age, you can never be too careful! There’s a difference between adventure and disease/danger/death. In 2012, We need to watch our children carefully. Those children in 2012 that go into the woods and scrape their knees, ride their bikes for hours without coming home for so much as a drink, those are the kids in this day and age that are being kidnapped, or lost, or approached by strangers. Those are also the kids that have been hit by cars, etc.

I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia in a somewhat wealthy area and even I hear of children from the elementary schools being approached and/or having to RUN from the stranger asking if they want a ride home! It’s a different time.

If you want your daughter to experience portions of what you did as a child, take her to a bike path with no cars and let her ride, take her hiking and let her explore within view, let her have fun BUT keep in mind, it’s a different time and the world today is almost unrecognizable in terms of crimes against ‘adventurous’ children! Parents NEED to be watchful.

Holiday on

I am also cautious with my kids but honestly you sound like an over bearing nut case. You need to have another kid, you hyper focus on her and every move she makes so much you are probably driving her crazy.

I also talk about the psycho moms of only children… THIS is exactly what I am talking about.

Lau on

I’m glad she wrote this blog and that she’s realizing her over-caring! She seems like a great person.

Samantha, while I understand your point, I’d say the solution wouldn’t be to take the kid to a path with no cars. Granted, the best option isn’t to throw them to a crowded avenue, but if you just take them to 100% safe places where nothing can happen to them, you’d be giving them the wrong idea of what the actual world is like. When they grow and have to drive a car or cross a street, they’ll have to look out for reckless drivers, non-reckless drivers and psycho drivers who don’t care at all about pedestrians or other drivers.

I say take the kid to the path with cars having explained before what to do and what not to do, while keeping an eye on them in case they get distracted. If the kid is too young to understand that, maybe a different activity needs to be found for the time being.

And let’s be honest, kids can get kidnapped or lost now just as much as they could before. Sure, they need to be taught to always be careful with people they don’t know, but not think that if they cross eyes with someone else they’re going to get kidnapped.

And now that I think about it, there probably ARE a bit more chances of kids getting lost these days, and it could have a LOT to do with parents just letting their GPS guide them to wherever, and not taking the time to understand (and make the children understand) where they are going and where their house is.

Just my two cents here.

Rachelle on

How many times have I let my kids do something while I….grit my teeth….wince…. pace back and forth…. or wait exectedly for the call to tell me they got there safe? Letting them ride a little further, walk to the house down the street, then on the next street.

Wow it’s hard. So I completely understand. I’ve done a lot of things I vowed I would never do as a parent and heard my parents words flow out of my mouth. Put we do our best as parents and then watch them ride up the street on their new bike. Phew!

Erin on

I agree that you can’t be *too* cautious, but it sounds like you were being a bit ridiculous (which, you admitted, so I don’t feel bad also admitting it).

I think you were in a tough spot though. If houses are close together and cars are backing up, it’s not really safe for her to get ahead (although maybe start/continue to teach her about road safety so she is cognizant of those things herself)… So, my suggestion would be to take her to a boardwalk or somewhere where she can go ahead and get some speed and you don’t have to be worried about traffic…

As far as falling off her bike or getting hurt… my suggestion is to just chill out – same with touching garbage, etc. Like it’s fine to teach her that it’s gross, but it’s not likely she is going to actually catch something from it. Bring some hand sanitizer or something if it makes you feel better, but don’t quash her exploring spirit.

We gear whether my guy can eat something that fell in the floor etc by “whether it is cleaner than the mall floor”. We do this because a child had spilled a bag of popcorn in the mall one day and when he saw it, he dove and began inhaling the “secret treat” — he didn’t die. He didn’t get a disease. Nothing bad happened. Soooooo, when he picks up a raisin off the floor or a piece of garbage at the park, we just say “cleaner than the mall floor? Okay then!”

As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, this is the kids who is RARELY sick (although as I type this, he is very sick with bronchitis, but this is the first time he has ever been sick with more than a runny nose in three years)… so I doubt that our letting him play in dirt, touch garbage, or eat things off the floor is hindering him at all…

Beth on

My big fear is my kids falling from high places. I’m pretty chill otherwise, but get them on the second floor of the mall and I’m a wreck! It’s good to recognize that we want to be cautious, but we don’t want to transfer our anxiety. And no one has the perfect solution!

momfromillinois on

Elisabeth,

Here is my tale – I have two girls now 20 and 15…when they were growing up I was very vigiliant about what kind of movies they were allowed to watch. I even (gasp) would watch the PG 13’s before them to make sure they were acceptable. And this was fine…

Until one day we are in the movie rental store and my oldest picks up a PG 13 and I say nope – not until I watch it and my daughter says BUT I’M 16 now!!! So I feel your pain.

Sometimes its ok to be cautious – but I think you should take her to a park or somewhere where she can be free to ride her bike fast or investigate the woods (with mom or dad not too far away) – that is what being a kid is about… and she will have those memories forever!! Good luck and I know you will do fine!

Marla on

I am a granny whom is raising one of my grandkids. My kids say I have become too cautious because I will not let her go play in certain areas of the neighborhood, even though I have been here for 21 yrs. Even if my family give her anything to eat or play with, I have to inspect it to feel better.

Kelli on

@Erin- You are totally correct in your last paragraph. I always have a little chuckle when I see parents in Panera Bread bathe down a high chair with disinfecting wipes before their kid sits in it, or those silly seat pads they stick in shopping carts before their kid’s tail can come in contact with the cart seat. Children need to be exposed to organisms to build up antibodies in order to have a robust immune system. Children who are never exposed to pathogens have higher incidences of certain autoimmune diseases.

meghan on

Holiday, if I’m not mistaken, it took Elisabeth a while to become pregnant with Easton. Maybe she can’t have another child or is trying now to conceive.

And enough with your only child bias. It’s not the first time you’ve made derisive statements about only children.

My mother is an only child (not by her parent’s choice, they struggled for seven years to conceive–they were older parents, something else you love to make blanket statements about) and she is the exact opposite of every only child stereotype that you can name. She is an incredible woman, the most loving mom and her parents were wonderful parents to her and the very best grandparents to me and my brother.

Shopgirl on

I agree with HOLIDAY. You need to relax. Have another child…maybe you’ll calm down a bit.

sal on

Holiday, You sound like such a grump

Misty Blue on

“Can’t be too careful”?? Really??

I think the best blog for parents who want their kids to grow up with some sense of normal adventure is Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy. Fabulous stuff– and addresses many of Elisabeth’s concerns.

Airiel M. on

My daughter is right around the same age as yours, and honest to gosh if I don’t feel exactly the way you have described a good third of the time! My friends say my daughter is a “heart attack” kid. She is almost completely fearless and I find myself repeating those same warnings over and over.

To the lady who suggested that having a second child would solve all this. I find that rather ridiculous! Not everyone can have more than one, some of us are lucky to even have one. Also, adding a second child could simply add more stress for some people, making the situation worse all around.

S Murphy on

I am the mom of 7 year old twin girls, I remember people telling me that I had to be extra careful with my precious girls. Watch every move, keep everything under lock and key. I was safe but I have always said, “Kids can get clean.” Its okay to have adventures in your life, play with worms, collect rocks, see how fast the bike will go with your hands off the bar.

I can understand wanting to protect them but I want them to remember their childhood as one filled with good memories not one where they say “My mom would have never let me do that.”

Rebecca Jayne on

Isn’t Easton 3 or 4 years old? She’s little! You’re supposed to be her jiminy cricket for a while so that she has the groundwork to make safe choices for herself in a few years when she doesn’t have an adult shadowing her every move. Maybe you need to filter yourself a bit, but don’t take your eyes off of her – you’re being a great mama bear. She has plenty of time to have adventures and create memories. She’s just a wee one now. Carry on!

JulieA on

I was like you with my first child. With my second, I calmed down a bit more, but I still worried. By the time the third child came along, I was like, “Yes, you can go biking. Call me when you get where you’re going.” LOL

By the way, Elisabeth…..LOVE the “natural” you in the picture. Who needs make-up with a face like yours? :)

Cynthia Coffey on

I also want to recommend reading Free Range Kids blog. I was getting sucked into the overly cautious, stifling, germ-free parenting mode when I stumbled on to Lenore’s blog and was set free!

I was raised in a developing country in Africa and had a happy, healthy, very free childhood. If my brother and I survived and thrived there, surely my kids will be ok in our middle class, suburban, first world neighborhood. Give your daughter the gift of room to roam, to make mistakes, take risks, and learn to get back on the horse.

Shannon on

Elisabeth, you always post the cutest photos. Adorable.

RKF on

@Holiday – For once, I actually agree with you (to an extent.) There is worrying, and there is being a horrifying overbearing parent. Every blog I’ve read by Elisabeth concerns issues that no child that age should have to endure.

This child seems to be treated like an adult. Refute me if you’d like, I don’t care, but this poor kid is going to be an over-analytical, critical, confused person.

Neuroses of parents should not be imposed on children. Period.

Stephanie on

Well, I was an only child and my mother was definitely not cautious with me. I don’t think that has anything to do with it. It’s a tough balance to strike between watching over them and teaching them to grow into independent people who can use their own best judgment. Easton is still very little, so of course it is a more watchful and protective parenting style. As she gets older things will naturally get a little freer, most likely.

april on

It really has nothing to do with the number of kids you have. I have 4 kids, and yes some things fall by the wayside but safety does not.

I am very neurotic when it comes to outdoor safety, especially regarding vehicles, falling from high areas, and household hazards. A little bump or scrape or touching something that has germs is not so much of a concern. But I am a huge worrier about my kids, and I need to be, and use every moment I can to teach them, so they will eventually be able to look out for themselves. It is my job to worry and help them along because they are not yet able to use their own judgement.

Elisabeth, I can totally relate. My advice is to just teach as much as you can while you are out and about, but do put her in real life situations, not just the park. guide her through them to increase her ability to make those judgements for herself.

jessica on

Laughing so hard right now because I just read my self. my daughter, also 3 1/2, is fearless. She is a risk taker and always wants to jump right in. It terrifies me, lol. I have learned to take a deep breath, know that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and that she has to learn new things to trust herself.

I reflect on my carefree childhood playing outside with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on. I scraped my knees, fell out of an apple tree or two and crashed my bike. But I am here. She will be too. With a great right hook when her big bro messes with her….jk.

rosie on

@Kelli – I used to arrogantly chuckle when I saw those same wipe-wielding parents at Panera. You have no idea and are completely ignorant.

My daughter had a kidney transplant (mine) three months ago after brief contact with e coli at an indoor playland (tunnels, balls, bouncy house…).

You can keep believing that dirt and germs make your kids tougher; but for those of us that had a life transforming event from those germs, please hold your chuckles while we wipe down the chairs before our immunosuppressed kid sits down.

Be careful who you judge; you have no idea what they’ve been through.

Hannah on

I would let go more, if not for the judging. I live in a rural town, small, 1 mile x 1 mile, policed and speed limit of 25 strictly enforced – exactly where you’d want to raise children & nearly EVERYONE in town drives their children a 1/2 mile or so to school. I finally relented to my son’s demand to walk (at 9) and people would actually ask him from their car window if “there was a problem” or see me watching on the porch for him and mention “they were worried”. I no longer watch on the porch, people no longer gawk at a child walking ALONE and there are nearly 6, 8 kids I see walking. So maybe we started a trend. Sad isn’t it?

Hannah on

Samantha wrote “those children in 2012 that go into the woods and scrape their knees, ride their bikes for hours without coming home for so much as a drink, those are the kids in this day and age that are being kidnapped, or lost, or approached by strangers. Those are also the kids that have been hit by cars, etc.”

These things have always happened but now we know every detail in every corner of each state of the union. From what I have read statistically it is safer now. We are just more AWARE.

Sam on

If the worst flaw about you is that you care too much about your child, your doing an amazing job!

Kcip on

She’s still little. You’re mom… it’s your job to teach her about the world around her. You’ll get to that point where you’ll feel comfortable giving her more space, more freedom, allowing her to make her own decisions. But right now she looks to you for guidance. And, she needs to learn your values. How will she ever understand what is or isn’t important, if you don’t take these little life moments to teach her? If it feels right, do it, if it felt wrong after you did it, then apologize, or explain.

Moms aren’t perfect; after all, this is as much of a learning process for you as it is for your little girl! Ultimately, you want to ENJOY all her sweet firsts, whether you’re teaching her lessons of life, or apoligizing for something you just learned to do better… just decide which way to go & move on. There’s more good stuff ahead! ;)

Kelli on

@Rosie- I realize that because you have a personal connection to someone who was sick, your emotions run high, but considering I have my M.S. in immunology, I don’t think I can be called ignorant on the subject of…immunology (lots of other things, yes, but not immunology).

You may have anecdotal evidence of someone who was made sick, but for the population as a whole, it is still better if we can be exposed to certain pathogens early, so as to develop our adaptive immune system. In not doing so, we run the risk of diseases such as T1DM, MS, asthma, and some researchers have suggested autism could have an autoimmune link to it.

I’m sorry you have had a hard time with your child, but you seriously need to check your attitude.

Annonymous on

She is overly neurotic about this poor child! And, btw…kids have always been kidnapped and victimized…it is not a new epidemic. We just have 24 hour news coverage of every little thing. People are not parenting….they wrap kids in bubble tape and coddle and make everything so okay that these kids will not be able to function as adults. Where are the lessons? How about teaching them how to safely ride a bike, or walk to school, or cross the street? Where are consequences when kids don’t follow the rules? I am sick of seeing these entitled brats up at my kids’ school.

JDM on

I think it is always a challenge to find the right balance between parenting and over-parenting. I am sure most of us have been guilty of preventing our kids from some harmless fun, and yet it is usually done from a place of love. I always say that it is very hard to be a “good, concerned parent”, and quite simple to be a “bad” one! :-)

If you are noticing your behavior, and looking to improve, in my book that equates to someone who desires to be the best parent they can be. Should you back off? Probably. Will she be irreversibly damaged simply because you didn’t let her race down the street on her tricycle? I doubt it. The suggestions of finding a more suitable place to let her “ride like the wind” seem spot-on to me! :-)

Just remember that no matter how hard we try, we can’t prevent our kids from every hurt or difficulty, and it wouldn’t be in their best interest if we could!

Rebecca Janni on

Thanks for this post and the nice shout-out, Elisabeth! What a great reminder to help our kids lasso their dreams! I’m a big fan of your work and was thrilled to hear you like my book, Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse. I would love to send Easton a copy of the sequel, Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots. Tell her to keep on readin’ and ridin’!

lyn on

Isn’t Easton only 3? It’s not like she’s 10 and you are following her around yelling be careful! I don’t think anything you said sounds unreasonable. You are teaching her the things to pay attention to so that when she is older you will be able to send her out to ride her bike with friends without you being there.

My husband and I are constantly telling our 2 1/2 year old to be careful. We follow him closely when he is climbing things and we don’t let him run too far ahead of us. The kid has no fear and gets so wrapped up in things he doesn’t always pay attention to everything around him. One day all these be careful warnings will sink in.

Kay on

Samantha, I can only agree w/you that 2012 is a different world and we MUST be more cautious. But, for crying out loud…”you can’t be too careful”? Really? So what do you suggest? Perhaps you should bubble wrap your child, keep them indoors, watch their every move. This attitude, unfortunately, can truly become unhealthy for the parent!! I have seen it used in a terribly unhealthy way so the the child comes to believe that, not only is the world unsafe, but MOMMY is the only one you can trust. So you must go through Mommy for everything!

I also hear you in a way suggesting that parents who have had a child abducted or injured were not being careful enough! I don’t believe that’s true! Were Elizabeth Smart’s parent’s not careful enough? For heaven’s sake, she was in her bedroom sleeping! And Jaycee Dugard was being observed by her stepfather as she was waiting for her school bus. Suppose he wasn’t careful enough; he should have been right there holding her hand and help her on the bus and then vetted the bus driver! Come on!

Andrea on

Once again I’m surprised by the critical comments that are laced with such negativity! It’s not like Elisabeth has her daughter in a hamster ball coated with bubble wrap inside a soft walled room!

Kelli, someone as educated as you should be educating people about what you know (which you have done in your 1st post) but it’s your negative attitude – and not Rosie’s – that is coming through in your 2nd post. You have a chance to educate people here with your hard-earned knowledge. I’m a parent who wipes down shopping carts too because of a bad experience with e-coli. It doesn’t mean I dip my child in antibacterial solution before/after going out. Is it wrong to be cautious?

I catch myself before I say things to my son, who is also 3, because I don’t want him to be fearful all the time. I’m watching like a hawk but I try not to say too much out loud that will inhibit him. But, Elisabeth, I can most definitely relate to what you’re saying.

Jenny on

ok, so this is the first (maybe only) time I’ve commented on a blog. I read them at times some are interesting some..not so much. But these Mom and Baby ones I like,But I have to comment on this one.

I am the mother of 2 My son is 9 and my daughter is 6, I can totally relate to being overly careful at times,their Dad is worse then me. But the thing is, as a few others have metioned that Elisabeth’s daughter is only 3 it is completly normal to have those feelings and reactions, and it will (hopefully) be less and less as she gets older and learns for herself…its a learning experience for parents and children.

My Son is naturally cautious and thinks about things first, My daughter has always been a risk taker, so I do still find myself saying be careful, watch out to her..But it is less and less, she is 6 now and has through trial and error and my Be careful and Watch out comments started to think about things herself..and what more could we want from our children..it gets easier.

I also, would hope to see less of the judgmental comments on people using sanitizers and onlt child or whatever, I totally agree that none of us know what others have had to live through and deal with so we should all be a little less ready to judge others…ok thats it..my observation.. :)

Mommyof1 on

I feel the exact same way!! When we were kids, we would play outside for hours, and our parents had no idea where we even were half the time! With my daughter (she’s 2 1/2), I have a whole different attitude-it just feels like there are so many things to worry about now. I can’t imagine her one day going out for a bike ride with her friends, but I know the day will come when she will want to do that. It’s scary for us as parents, but we definitely have to let our kids learn and grow like we did.

Kay on

I commented earlier to respond to Samantha’s assertion that “you can’t be too careful”. I stand by what I said there. I have seen this kind of unhealthy “hovering” and suspect that the Mom (usually) is fostering the child’s dependence to meet her own need to be needed. She not only reinforces the notion that this is a dangerous world, but also that Mom is the ONLY person that can be trusted to keep them safe.

That said, I also agree w/some of you commenters that are advising Elisabeth to go easy on HERSELF b/c Easton is so young. My youngest granddaughter is close to Easton’s age, and I find myself constantly admonishing her “don’t do this”, “watch out”, “leave that alone; it’s dirty”. It’s good to recognize that tendency and realize that they do need to work some things out for themselves.

One thing I REALLY had a problem with was when she was getting potty-trained. When she would have to use the adult toilet, I’d have to constantly remind her, “don’t put your hands all over the toilet seat, honey, please”! She got over that.

Nice to send them home to Mom and Dad at this stage of my life!

Lila on

“I also talk about the psycho moms of only children… THIS is exactly what I am talking about.”

And when I talk about idiots on the internet, THIS is what I am talking about.

Ramona on

This is not an “only child” phenomenon. Honestly, I know LARGE families who shelter and homeschool and overprotect ALL their kids. Blogger, don’t worry, you are not being overprotective. You are being a normal, sane, caring mom to a THREE year old. You are guiding her into making wise choices so that she CAN use her brain when she gets older. Would these commenters rather she bound up to ALL stray dogs and start petting them and learn the hard way some are not friendly? When I see a THREE year old who is out of sight of their parents “exploring” I usually see them getting into trouble. There is nothing at all wrong with parenting your THREE year old!!!

Three on

Some of you people are ridiculous. “Have another child, it will calm you down”. Really?? Since when is having a child some sort of medication for a certain behavior or problem? Some parents are overprotective, whether they have 1 child or 4 children. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, there is an extreme but there just has to be some sort of balance worked out with it. Having another child is by no means a remedy to this and people who believe the only child stigmas are ignorant and closed-minded.

Nathani on

You should check out Lenore Skenazy’s tv show, book or blog.
Very inspiring theory of allowing our kids to experience lives…

http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

I am a mom of two and feel very confident putting this into action. My kids are safe and loved, but importantly are being cultivated into independent and confidant people who can trust themselves…

I encourage parents to look at statistics regarding murder or abduction of children. I am a second year university student, and through my sociology and psychology studies see that shock media tricks parents into consumerism, legitimizes state control and undermines our own intuition.

None the less your girl is beautiful, and is lucky to have a caring mom like you.

Dawne on

Ahh! Remember the freedom? It sounds like our childhoods were very similar, but I think that freedom came at around 7 or 8. I’m sure our Mom’s sounded the same when we were 3.

Amy on

You know what I think is ridiculous? Someone putting all of their fears about parenting out there to share with other mom’s and being slammed for it by OTHER Mom’s. Shame shame shame.. we should all be supporting eachother, its the hardest job in the world.

Not every kid has to be the brave leader that’s not afraid of anything..There are all types of kids out there with all different personalities. You love your daughter and are just trying to protect her. It’s natural and normal and she will not be ruined for life because Mom was overbearing when she was 3!!

Mom from IL on

You are a normal, responsible & loving Mom-oh shame on you!! You need to protect your kids but with time & more experience the job should be easier.

I have two grown children & can remember a few times I intervened for their safety and followed my instincts. My daughter was a schollarly type & my son more adventurous. I wouldn’t allow him to have a skateboard @ a young age & my husband agreed with this decision.

I personally took my mother-in-law to the emergency one day for an illness. While waiting a Mom was with her son & said to me no more skateboarding for my son! He used boards, fell off & had a concussion. Of course this reinforced my own decision about that subject.

As a Mother I would say always follow your own insticts and you will do a fabulous job as you have so far!

Courtney on

You can never ever be too careful when it comes to cars and children. I personally would find a different bike path for my three year old if there was a driveway every 50 feet. Nothing paranoid about that.

As far as animals, a child should never ever go up to an animal and touch it without first asking the owner if it’s ok. It doesn’t matter how cute or small the animal is. That is how children get bitten, it happens ALL the time (Did you SEE the video of the news anchorwoman getting bitten? She actually got down in a strange dogs face. A huge no-no).

As far as the dirty shirt, eh. Take it or leave it. I myself would tell my child not to touch it, but that’s me.

None of the descriptions you list here are out of whack…if you were shouting at your child to stop running in the park or something, I think that would be a little nuts. I have a girlfriend who won’t put her baby down on a blanket in the grass. I think that is nuts! But your situations seem to be things you SHOULD make sure you are inforcing your discipline on.

Terri on

Just hope you never have one son diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and another with bipolar disorder. Then you would truly understand what real WORRY is. Knowing that your two beautiful sons have severe, lifelong mental illness is overwhelming. You have to forget all your hopes for the future out the window and start from scratch, hoping that their meds and therapy will help them function.

Maisie on

Girl, quit your worrying and have another little critter for your child to play with and then you wont be so worried.

Ginn on

I dont think her child being an only child has anything to do with it. When we were growing up things were different..you could play outside and not worry about strangers etc. I think shes just being a concerned parent..and yes. It sounds like she went overboard..but she realized what was happening..and is going to change it. My child is incredibly clumsy..so yes. While i let her run in front of me, I’m also super cautious and ask her to slow down. Everything in moderation.

JessicaB on

had a mom tell me i was “too careful” about my kids and bike riding. her son is now in a coma, following a bike ride he had done many, many times before, on the sidewalk. a chain of events caused him to be hit by a car in a way no one could have anticipated.

years ago one of my kids was cut all over her body when she went down a tube slide at an indoor playground. no idea what happened, but she was literally dripping blood when she came out. nothing was found in the tubes, no one else was cut. we found one tiny screw in her hair, and that was all. the tubes were not closed or cleaned after this (good thing she was healthy!).

for those of you who have not had bad experiences with your kids; you are lucky.

Monica on

My kids are 4 and 2 and I find myself saying the same things to them. Of course it’s not an option for my 2 yr old but I realize that I need to loosen the reigns on my 4 yr old. But I am a naturally cautious person so I guess they will have to put up with it the rest of their lives anyway.

I feel like it’s our job as a mom to see the bigger picture and protect our kids from unnecessary harm. Like a 3 yr old (or 4 yr old in my case) doesn’t think about cars backing up from a driveway and would keep wheeling on without looking or even thinking to look for a moving car.

I am also a wuss when it comes to my 2 yr old at a playground. She is completely fearless and will climb anything just like the big kids. But I’ve learned to just follow right behind her to catch her if she falls and let her have her fun.

My biggest solution to activities that I know would drive me over the worry edge- I let Daddy do those things with them. It’s a win-win really. They get to be free and have their fun and I get a short kid free break.

But I think Elisabeth was not crazily protective as much as teaching her daughter life lessons she will need to know as she gets older. 1) Always look out for parked cars- driveway or parking lot. 2) Never touch or approach a dog that you don’t know and always ask the owner before touching a dog. 3) Don’t touch trash. Or things that you don’t know what they are. Who of you doesn’t follow at least one of those rules daily?

Barbie And Pen on

I teach my children to respect things that are dangerous. That way, we aren’t afraid of anything, but we understand danger, and respect it.

Tiffany on

Easton is still little. She’ll have plenty of time to explore the world around her and test the limits. But for now, she needs mom to show her what’s ok and what crosses the line. And no matter what, you eventually have to let kids off the leash when they grow up.

Suzy on

Samantha, if it is a different world today than years ago, the difference is that is actually safer today. I know it’s hard to believe, but the rates of violent crime were higher 30 years ago than they are today. There are no more abducted children today than in years past. Of course, it a tragedgy beyond imagining for those children and parents, but it is incredibly rare. The difference is that today, we hear about every time a child is abducted, no matter where it happens. The “if it bleens, it leads” mentality of local newscasts just serves to make us all crazy.

I know it is scary, but we have to give our children the freedom to grow up and become self-sufficient adults. If we wrap them in bubble tape and keep them on proverbial training wheels, we aren’t doing them any favors in the long run.

julie on

Parents should let their kids make a few mistakes. It helps with their confidence and to trust their own decision making skills later in life. I have a grandson that is 6. His dad (not my son)insisted on making him afraid of everything. Now as a first grader he is terrified of germs, will not sit in circle time with his classmates or use the restroom @ school. His hands are dried out from using sanitizer, will not touch any doors. He now has social issues because of teasing. While he is getting cognitive behavioral therapy, it would have been so much easier if his parents would have just let him be a kid.

Jessica on

To Be or Not to Be an over protective Mom? I learned that never say never, especially when you don’t have children. My sister had my nephrew and he was HDDA. I was in my 20’s and had no patiences. My sister would say just wait until you have a child. Everything that I said I had to eat all of those nevers.

Unfortunately in this new age and time parents have to keep their children safe. Yes cars backing up and kids on small bikes are hard to see. I’m all for back-up cameras being required in all vehicles.

I think for me as a new Mom I repeated “Be careful” over and over and it became a habit. My daughter is 12 ,Now that she is a “Tween” She has a cellphone. Mainly for if we are out at the Mall or Theater , if we get separated I don’t have a heart attack.

There has always been dangers in the world for our children, teach your children well and may the wind always be on their beautiful faces.

Galen on

Safety first…
How would you feel if they got hurt because they didn’t KNOW that you should not approach a dog you don’t know, because sometimes those beautiful lovely calm looking dogs out in the front yard DO NOT LIKE CHILDREN! Especially that shrieky, happy, running around like a maniac appearing out of nowhere, startling doggy when he is just chilling out after a long day defending home and hearth minding his own business when suddenly he spots this little dynamo child who is now infringing upon his territory and getting in his face and yelling and wants to pull his tail or ears…how is it wrong to teach a child to be respectful of an animal? Is it really a bad thing for her to know that she should approach the dog’s owner FIRST, and ask permission to pet it? If you really love animals, teach your kid how to behave responsibly and lovingly toward animals-in age and developmentally appropriate lessons.

And as for being careful around driveways- how would you feel carrying around the memory of watching your kid get run over by a car instead of carrying around that sweet wonderful baby of yours? Remember that country singer whose son ran over their adopted daughter? SAFETY FIRST, then fun…

Use the least amount of words possible, and try to find a place where she can catch the wind and fly (helmet and safety pads on securely, of course), or can pet the dog safely (for both pet and child).

As a nurse, it is hard to see little ones in the hospital who have been injured even when parents have done everything right. I want to pitch a fit when I see a child injured because of parental stupidity. Regret doesn’t begin to define the horror those parents endure. SO, Be safe, smile a lot, keep it simple and drill it into their heads SAFETY FIRST…

On a somewhat related rant…I am really tired of hearing how sad it is that the poor children have the fun sucked out of everything because parents “worry” too much so they dont get to run around and do everything they want.

We are their parents, the adults, the ones charged with teaching these little sweeties how to be self sufficient capable adults. Sometimes, in that blinding and overwhelming flashy haze of love and fierce devotion otherwise known as watching our babies grow, we forget that they stay small for such a tiny part of their lives, and our influence only goes so far after that point. Let’s give them the tools they need so they can accomplish for themselves. That starts with teaching them that cars are bigger than they are are they need to STOP at every driveway, and wait for mommy.

Robin on

Elisabeth, one philosophy that I have found helps me a lot is “it comes out in the wash”. This can be literal (Oxi-Clean was made for a reason!) or figurative.

My daughter is now 10 and I’ve found that I’ve lightened up a lot on the “be careful”, “don’t touch that”, “that’s nasty” comments, but I still won’t let her go to the park or walk to her friend’s house in the next subdivision without adult supervision. It’s not that I don’t trust her, but I don’t trust the other people out there.

It’s the same reason that I wouldn’t let my now 22 year old son go to a bonfire at a friend’s house when he was 16 because the parents weren’t going to be home. I trusted him, I trusted the friends of his that I knew, but you don’t know who (or what!) they are going to bring.

You recognize the fact that you are becoming a “helicopter” mom (constantly hovering), but your daughter is still young enough to need that within reason. Being attentive and worrying about your children is a HUGE part of parenthood.

Thank you for being brave enough to voice that to an audience the size of this one. There are lots of “Negative Nellies” on here, but you will find the parenting style that works best for your family. Follow your gut:)

Lindsey on

Hi there, I also echo others who have suggested reading Lenore’s Free Range Kids blog. Look it up – this sounds like the perfect movement for you.

Also, to comment on the first commenter (Samantha, and others) who have determined (based on what facts?) that “nowadays” we need to watch our kids so much more than years ago. The crime rate has GONE DOWN since the 90s, and we are statistically safer than we were in the 70s, which is when all of us used to walk to school at age 7. Get a grip, people. Look up statistics and stop thinking this world is so much worse than it is. Learn to talk to strangers, because 999 times out of 1,000, they’re normal human beings just like you.

Helena on

Oh, wow! It was like she was singing my song. I, too, have become a shell of my pre-mothering self.

It is now “Benjamin, be careful,” as well as a slew of : “look for cars, slow down, don’t touch that, come here where I can still see you” (as he is 5 feet away), geez….but, honestly, I am afraid of this new world as a mother. The endless potential threat to my sweet, innocent babe who is still so unaware of the dangers.

Yes, I, as a child born in the late 70’s, remember being out ALL DAY on my bike (no helmet, mind you) and riding up front in my mom’s Toyota Celica (with no booster seat–gasp) from the time I could walk, and approaching streams, dogs, people, and getting bruised, scraped, nursing the remnants of falls and loving a truly free range life that most of my generation holds dear, yet refuses to allow our offspring to enjoy.

I am also at a loss, feeling evermore like the smothering mother, but somehow feeling that it is essential and even warranted amongst the hyper-sensitive suburban, park-diminishing and ubiquitous media storm promoting awareness which seems to breed this type of pathology into parenthood. Woe is me!

Julie on

I say do a little of both. Take her to a park trail or some safer place where she can ride fast and free (with you more quietly supervising) but also continue to take her on the road where you do need to caution her about cars and other possible (even if not likely) dangers. I think its good to learn that there are times and places where its good to be adventurous and some times and places where caution is a little more necessary…just the same as you’d be a little more cautious walking alone in a dark alley than you would with a group of friends on a sidwalk in broad daylight.

Muriel on

I would never take my son on a tricycle on a side walk with lots of driveways. Cars can’t see little people, so can easily back into them. In my childhood this happened to someone’s toddler. He survived, but it was pretty awful at the time. My son is 7, and I still warn him against walking behind cars, because he’s still not tall enough to be seen out the back of cars.

Oh and he can’t eat from other people’s garbage cans, or off the floor of malls. I’m not a helicopter mom, because frankly he would never allow it, and I am too absent minded to be one, but I don’t eat off the floor in the mall, so he can’t either.

eColi from chickens is starting to cause UTI’s in women. There’s a whole new bug out there that is very scary. But ironically the best way to protect one’s kids is to let them get a little sick, so they can build up their immune system.

I never let my kid approach a dog without checking with the owner first. It doesn’t matter how sweet the dog is. I grew up with dogs, and I never approach a dog without checking with the owner first.

I let my kid run, and he had plenty of scrapes on his face and the rest of his body. And at 3 he had a lot more freedom than at 2 or at 1, but only the author’s self-recrimination and perhaps the venue for her daughter’s outing seem unreasonable.

Alison Christiansen on

It’s funny how we assume there is more crime now then when we were kids when statistics say otherwise. It is the saturation of news and the internet that just makes us more aware. Something is going to happen and as a parent you have to accept that a Bone will be broken, a tooth will be chipped. It’s called growing up.

I never insisted my son wear a bicycle helmet on our street, can you imagine how the other moms hated me? Me and my 9 brothers had ridden bikes for some 50 years without helmets with no accidents and three chipped teeth and after careful consideration and the fact we lived on a culdesac we raised a confident and athletic young man. you have to make choices and if you hover over your daughter, she will never make choices because she will always look to you for validation.

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