A couple of very frightening accidents involving children have been splashed all over the news recently, but rather than empathising with the parents there’s been a public backlash against them. Both against the parents of the two year old boy attacked by an alligator at a Disney resort this week, and those of the boy involved in the Cinncinati zoo incident a few weeks back.
Some of the comments on the news articles are unbelievable with most suggesting that the parents were to blame, asking “where were the parents?”, and some even saying they “deserved it”. In what world does a parent deserve their child being attacked by an alligator?!
A lot of the comments included the words “I’d never let MY child…”. All I can assume is that these people are those “perfect parents” that we all aspire to be.
It must be amazing to be a perfect parent. To know that your child is 100% safe because you’re so unbelievably awesome.
It must be a lovely feeling not to worry about not being a good enough mum or dad. Not to lie awake at night stressing over mistakes you’ve made during the day.
If you think you are one of these people, give yourself a pat on the back. I would love to know how you manage to never let go of your child’s hand, or take your eyes off them? I assume you don’t leave them alone when you go to the toilet, or take the bin out, or turn away when they’re in the bath. Because freak accidents can happen at home too.
If you’re still positive that you’re a perfect parent, have a look at this photo of the beach – now tell me with absolute certainty that you wouldn’t have let your child splash in the water.
This boy wasn’t left on his own, he was holding his mum’s hand according to reports. He wasn’t swimming, he was paddling. The beach has sunbeds and they hold movie nights and parties there – it’s in Disney, it’ supposed to be family friendly.
Yes there were signs up but they said “Deep water no swimming”, if you’re from Florida maybe that translates as “Warning alligators!” but to most people that’s simply not clear enough to stop them from paddling at a beach. If I was on this man-made Disney beach I would probably be sat on one of those sun loungers while my 5 year old paddled by herself. Clearly that makes fall in the terrible mother group.
The keyboard warriors without kids make me even more annoyed. They have no idea what it’s like trying to keep track of children, it’s physically impossible to keep hold of them 24/7. They don’t seem to realise that at some point you have to take your eyes of them for a moment to get something out of your bag, or tend to another child. Kids don’t keep still, and they are fast. It’s no surprise to me that a small child can end up in a gorilla enclosure in seconds if it’s not properly secured.
We live in a blame culture and I can understand the need for justice after a horrible incident, but why automatically blame the parents without knowing all of the facts? Why not blame Disney for not having adequate warnings up? Why not blame the zoo for having an enclosure that a child can get into in the first place? These were both freak accidents on a family day out, it could happen to any of us.
Before you take to social media when something like this happens imagine the person you love most in the whole world suddenly being put in a terrifying and life threatening situation. Imagine losing them. Imagine the guilt you would feel for the rest of your life for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, for turning your back for one second. Now on top of that pain, imagine strangers across the world blaming you for it, saying that it serves you right.
Accidents happen and mistakes are made. Rather than attack someone when something like this occurs, how about you hold your children tighter and count yourself lucky that they’re safe. Because somewhere in the world there are plenty of parents who simply made a mistake and have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
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