.

Do Help My Kids... And Thank You All

Another Alameda mother's post in response to "Please Don't Help My Kids" blog, spurred on by my recent experience of... uhm... misplacing my child.

Let me start with expressing gratitude to people who pointed out which way my 2-year-old was running last Saturday at the shopping center in Bay Farm. Thank you, dear strangers! 

To give some context: I was having lunch at Subway with my two sons, and when the 5-year-old needed to use the bathroom, I made the call to leave the 2-year-old eating his soup at the table while we popped into the restroom for two minutes. It seemed like a safe decision at the time.

Well... he wasn't at the table anymore when we returned. It took another few minutes to look around near the lagoon — nobody there, no bubbles on the water — and then, hearts pounding, we started running along the parking lot yelling the little one's name at the top of our lungs, and some helpful folks said they'd seen a boy running towards Leydecker park playground.

We caught up to the little escape artist after he'd already crossed the busy driveway leading from the road into the shopping area. Fortunately, he was safe and sound, and we were just a bit shaken up.

Again — thanks to those who helped us! 

And here comes my plea to the community: next time, if you see a small child running alone near a parking lot, please feel free to stop him (yes, by physically grabbing, if necessary) and ask where his parents are. If the kid happens to be mine, I will be forever grateful and will never feel like you're stepping on my parenting toes.

Similarly, feel free to reprimand my child if he is acting aggressive at the playground and I'm slow to get involved; by all means, get my child down from a tall climbing structure if he is dangerously dangling there; give him a push on the swing if he's asking for one and I'm not answering; use your adult judgement and do what the situation calls for (including nothing, of course) and don't worry about offending me, the parent.

I feel the need to ask in the light of the recent fame of "Please Don't Help My Kids" blog post by a local Alameda mother which may have the unfortunate effect of making people curb their impulse to assist children. 

For full disclosure, I actually mostly agree with the "free range kids" philosophy and own Skenazy's book that became the bible of the movement. I also happen to have the type of children who never need to be encouraged to climb up to the tall slide; rather, my job is to ensure at least minimal safety while they fearlessly explore and I spot them.

However, I am neither omnipresent nor all-knowing and clearly do not always make the safest calls (remember the soup?) and therefore I welcome help of others, and gladly provide my assistance to kids around us.

Obviously, that means I may privately disagree with the kind of help someone may choose to give my kid. Parenting styles do differ, and that's fine. Maybe my son will be helped up or down when he could do it himself. Should that happen, I will remind him to say "thank you," and move on. He'll have plenty more chances to try his own powers, but fewer instances of receiving benevolent assistance from the community.

I welcome every chance to teach my kids that people help each other, and I would like our wonderful Alameda community to stay connected and willing to provide help.

If there is a choice to be made, let's err on the side of helping too much rather than not enough. Thank you.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Brody January 31, 2013 at 01:51 AM
This is a rather strange "news story." I would never publish a news story where I admitted that I am a careless parent. Also, I would never publish a news story, where I invite total strangers to look after my child. If the writer truly feels that she is not capable of looking after her child on her own, there are various options. These include: (1) Get married, and by doing so, acquire a free-of-charge care-giver for your child; (2) Transfer guardianship of the child to a relative; (3) Put the child up for adoption; and (4) Acquire training in parenting. It is possible that the 2-year college on Alameda's west end has a course on parenting.
Daria Mehra January 31, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Hate mail is not welcome on the Patch.
Analisa Harangozo February 01, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Tom, just to clarify.. this wasn't a news story. It was a blog submitted by a reader. Anyone is free to post a blog on Patch, as long as it does not violate Patch's Terms of Use.
Melvin Grimes February 01, 2013 at 11:51 PM
This is just mean spirited. Anyone who has been a parent has done things like this. Some of us got lucky and nothing bad happened. Some of us have had worst case scenarios. And others, like the author, got slapped around a little by life but set down no worse for the wear. Anyone who has this kind of a holier than thou attitude is either a jerk or doesn't have any kids and shouldn't say anything because you CLEARLY DON'T KNOW HOW PARENTING WORKS. So get off your high horse, Tom.
Jon Spangler February 02, 2013 at 05:30 AM
Scott Carter and Tom Brody, I would be concerned about any person--especially a child-- who was regularly subjected to un-constructive and harsh words like the ones you have freely offered above. If your judgmental comments above are typical of how you interact with others I would not wish for a child or an adult to be exposed to such toxicity for very long. Even IF you are correct in your assessments of Maria Terra's behavior--and I am not willing to grant you that point, since I question your accuracy as well as your methods--I have to ask: 1) Who gave you the right to sit in judgment over others? Are you so perfect and without sin that you are qualified to cast the first (or second) stone? 2) Where did you receive your professional credentials for evaluating other people based on what they write in a blog post? 3) When was the last time you walked a mile in anyone's mocassins? (You both write as if doing so would be a brand new experience.) 4) Do you understand what compassion is? (I have to go by the evidence that I read when considering the answer to my question, which I would prefer to not be a rhetorical one.) "Judge not, lest ye be judged..." "Love one another as I have loved you..." "Do no harm..."

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