Author Pat Lenhoff
Recently, a story about a Wilmette mom who was investigated for potential child endangerment because she allows her 8-year old daughter to walk the family dog around the block unaccompanied spread like wildfire across social media.
Apparently, someone noticed the child was out by herself and called local police, launching an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigation. After some exploration, there was deemed no reason to pursue the case further and the story faded away.
My initial reaction was huffy protest. We’ve discussed this subject here before. I remember writing about a case in the South where a mother allowed her intermediate school child to play in a park near their home while mom watched from the window nearby. If memory serves, she was arrested for child endangerment.
Of course, there are certainly cases that justify official action. There are many examples where the general public expresses remorse after bad events and wished someone somewhere would have taken action and then maybe the outcome would be different.
Hillary Clinton’s mantra “It Takes a Village” comes to mind here, and it’s one of her concepts that many women identify with.
So, here’s my thought. Based upon acceptance of that principle — that we are all share responsibility to protect children — I think we need an attitude adjustment. For example, let’s consider the mom in our first scenario.
Her daughter was given the job of walking the family dog. No doubt most of us while trying to be good parents would feel just as she did, embarrassed and insulted that her mothering skills were in question for the whole world to judge.