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Wellness

Why Your Child Needs To Live In A Safe Neighborhood

When you live in an unsafe neighborhood, you are just as likely to develop anxiety-related issues on your way in to the neighborhood as when you move in.  This is so common that I believe in the necessity of teaching parents how to avoid a child from becoming the statistic that so many children are in today.

As kids, we are raised to think that danger always lurks around the next corner. However, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development the  number of children between birth and age 5 who are murdered  is so low that it’s impossible to get a true count and there are no national data broken down on these numbers.  Even if we put the murder rate in the United States in 2012 at a little under 40-100 per 100,000 (a lot of times this is less than that).  That means that approximately one child in every 400 is either murdered or dies by a gunshot (a lot of times this is much more than that) , but we all grow up in neighborhoods that in most cases are unsafe for us.  Kids who are raised in a neighborhood that is unsafe often do not grow up to fit the “normal” child that the parents are accustomed to raising.  Many times, they are not physically strong or able to cope with the world on a level that the parents are used to.  The result is that some of these children will later develop mental and emotional issues, like drug addiction, or be the violent types that the kids of today would label as “predators”.  Many children are abused, and then will grow up to be violent criminals or gang members or addicts.

Children who live in an unsafe neighborhood do not learn to protect themselves from danger.  Their parents tell them to have guns because guns will help them defend themselves against any aggressor.  This makes them feel that their parents understand.  In reality, the kids learn to protect themselves, not because they are told to, but because being armed will make them feel safer.  This is an insidious and pernicious belief that many parents instill into their kids that we are going to protect them somehow.

I once went to a town hall meeting where these issues were being discussed.  As someone who grew up in a very gun-friendly neighborhood and had very little exposure to violence other than shooting guns, I was not entirely reassured by what I was told.  As an example, I spoke with a woman who was very upset about all of the shootings that happened when her grandson was playing in her neighborhood.  My heart dropped when I heard her speak about those shootings because, like her granddaughter, I was a child at one point where guns were not allowed in my house.  I have also worked with a lot of children in school and have seen the impact it has on young minds.  I have also watched countless people who have lost friends and family because of guns.  The truth is, though, that if guns were used by every bad guy in America, that would not be the first.  The truth is, though, that if guns were used by every bad guy in America, that would not be the first.  The reality is, they are not used on a near-daily basis and they are not used against children.  When we learn about what the police officers in New York City are going through every day because of these guns, then there is no doubt in my mind that these “bad guys” need more than just guns to carry out these horrible acts.

The reality is that children in dangerous neighborhoods don’t have access to guns that they can use to defend themselves; and if they did have those guns, they would not be able to use them in an immediate manner either.  A gun that is a present-day replica of an old military gun is almost useless.  A handgun, even a replica, is only as good as the person with the gun.  I can say with absolute certainty that it doesn’t stop a bullet.  But, as long as people believe that they need to have those guns so they can kill someone later when they do get mugged or some other reason why a gun is important, it’s going to be a vicious cycle.

When you go out to play with your friends or go to the mall, you know that your parents will be outside with you and there will be people there who you know can protect you from bad people.  Yet, you will still be exposed to the world around you and what is wrong will always be out there.  As someone else said, we are conditioned to believe that we are completely helpless.  However, your child will be exposed to more problems than your average child, and that’s scary.