Parents: Don’t teach your child to fear people

During National Youth Week this year, we asked teenagers to tell us parents something we need to know. Jamie, 14, wrote the following.

I feel like it is an unhealthy thing for parents to not trust their children or believe in them.

I think it sends the wrong message to children that they should fear going to the shopping centre by themselves or walking down the street by themselves. I have many friends who don’t get half the freedom my parents allow me to have and these same friends think that every time a man walks down the street he is bad and should be feared. I think that is a very unhealthy way to live.

Homeless man

Don’t teach your children to be afraid of people. Photo by Ed Yourdon/Flickr

I have had problems when I was younger with fearing homeless people and was scared to go out on the street by myself or even with my parents. These fears and panic attacks started when my family moved to Los Angeles for a time and after hearing all of my friend’s parents talk about stories of kids getting abducted and how there are robberies in the neighborhood.

“This way of thinking is not helping your children grow and become independent”

So what I would like my friends’ parents to know is that this way of thinking is not helping your children grow and become independent, it is holding them back and setting them up to believe that the world is a scary place and that you should be scared to go out in the world.

Jamie, 14.

Also from our National Youth Week series, written by teenagers:

Don’t punish me for my friends’ behaviour (Alex, 15)

We’re not all bad (Resi, 14)

Public versus private education (Phoebe, 17)

I don’t want to have sex with your daughter (Oscar, 16)




  1. Dr John Demartini is an internationally renowned Behavioural Educator and bestselling author who has worked with thousands of people in his trainings and private consultations, taking them through his Demartini Method, which assists people in dealing with the issues in their lives. He has specifically found that those who are abused/violated/raped are, in some other area of their life, being over-protected, which is interesting in relation to Jamie’s comment! (If you want to find out more, look out for Dr Demartini’s signature book/program, The Breakthrough Experience:

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