Friday, September 16, 2011

Top 10 Concerns of Parents.

As I celebrate the end of my first week as a "Passionate Parent", enough of the sunny, rosy, it's a wonderful world talk. It's time to go negative. For all the wonders of being a parent, there's an enormous list of parental worries. In order to make the weekend just a bit gloomier, I ask exactly what keeps parents awake at night?

In August, WebMD ran a post about the Top 10 Concerns of Parents. The overall breakdown according to the WebMD survey is as follows:

  1. Childhood obesity, 33%
  2. Drug abuse, 33%
  3. Smoking and tobacco use, 23%
  4. Teen pregnancy, 24%
  5. Bullying, 24%
  6. Internet safety, 23%
  7. Stress, 22%
  8. Alcohol abuse, 20%
  9. Driving accidents, 20%
  10. Sexting, 20% 
The article goes further, breaking down concerns and respondents by ethnicity. Total number of respondents was less than 2000.

I don't know WedMd's methodology. I think the poll items in total certainly represent a month's worth of parental nightmares. I disagree with the order. No disrespect to childhood obesity or tobacco use, but those are long term killers.  I would put driving accidents, alcohol abuse, internet safety and sexting all before obesity and smoking. My reasoning is simple. Accidents, booze and improper use of technology can get a kid killed right now instead of later.

What do you think? How do you feel about the poll rankings? Take a moment and leave a comment or respond to the poll in the left sidebar.

On a final note, though you can never protect your children completely active and involved parents can and do minimize the risk of growing up. As you finish this post do comment or take the poll and then please ignore my tongue in cheek treatment of the issue. Do everything possible to have a great weekend. Every moment is dear, enjoy your kids.


  1. I actually agree with you. I am more worried about "immediate" danger...although I would say that my first concern is "what if I die?" - that is what keeps me up at night. Yes, I do have a support group of family and friends that would step in if the unthinkable happens to both me and my husband at the same time. But it is still a daunting question.

  2. I am definitely worried about my teen driving; she is distractable to the extreme. Also I worry about her at parties: drinking, date rape drugs, and drugs. Pregnancy is pretty high on the list as well. When I practiced pediatrics I found that parents were inordinately worried about obesity, even in their almost newborns. There is such a stigma against it, parents don't want their kids to be overweight. So in a small sample size like this from a medical site, I'm not surprised obesity is #1.

  3. Erin,
    It's funny you hit two areas I tend to obsess on:
    I've always said the reason any new driver avoids an accident the 1st two years on the road is the other drivers on the road, essentially pure luck. It's a statement as to how tough it is to be aware of all the things happening on the road. Driving instincts can only be honed behind the wheel, and teens, well there's a bunch of stuff going on to distract them.
    My kids are still a bit young for most of the nightmares on the list so I do obsess a bit about what my kids eat. I try to teach balance: you can have a white starch, but you must have a protein. Fruit for dessert at least 3 times a week. I don't go crazy about healthy vs. unhealthy. Overly concerned about weight is just as bad as completely unconcerned about wight for both kids and parents.

    I didn't consider premature death of parent, maybe because my Dad died when I was 7 (my youngest child's 8th birthday in a couple of months will be a big milestone for me). I was lucky to have a strong Mother and find great friends. My wife and I do struggle with having someone else charged with raising our kids. We too are lucky to have strong family and friends to step in.

    Thank you both for speaking up. Not that you need a reminder but hug the kids a bit tighter or get an extra hug. It's the best medicine for worry. Enjoy the weekend.