Should 2-Year-Olds Have Lockdown Drills?
A mom just wrote to us about her son’s first experience with a lockdown. Now that we have a COMMENTS SECTION down below, we’d love you to…comment!
A lockdown at the daycare center.
Dear Let Grow:
First of all, thank you so much for the work you have been doing! I just finished reading Free-Range Kids and it was such an eye-opener.
Since I am unsure whether I am overreacting, I would like to ask you for your opinion on this situation:
My son is turning two at the end of this month and has been going to daycare here in Australia for three weeks now.
Yesterday, they had a lockdown simulation at the childcare center, pretending a perpetrator had entered the premises. The educators gathered all children in a small locked up room and told them “Shhhh! Someone is coming.“
Does a bad man want to hurt me?
I honestly dislike the idea of my little son having to hide in a locked room, thinking that a bad person might come to get them. I find it disturbing.
I understand that there are crazy people out there and that anything can happen. But I dare to believe that the chance of somebody wanting to do something this horrible and actually making it through the high walls, fences, the security code and the staff members of a childcare center, is extremely slim.
So I don’t want them to unnecessarily instill fear in children by doing these drills.
What are your thoughts?
Tears, fears and “negative primals.”
S, I very much agree with you. Thinking ahead to the absolutely worst case scenario and believing that only this kind of overwhelming fear and pessimism keeps kids safe is a defining feature of our time. It’s almost superstitious: If we act out a tragedy — and actually suffer — real tragedy will pass us over.
But there’s another, more likely, tragedy facing us, and that is raising kids to believe it’s an awful world out there. Obviously there are some sad, sick people. (Always have been. Worst school attack in America was in 1927.) Focusing on these horrors and teaching our kids that it’s a rotten world out there, where trust is for saps — that kind of outlook actually has a name. It’s called a “negative primal.”
An unintended consequence of lockdown drills.
A recent, long-term study of kids raised with negative primals like “seeing the world as dangerous keeps me safe” found that it actually does the opposite of what parents hope:
“Regardless of occupation, more negative primals were almost never associated with better outcomes. Instead, they predicted less success, less job and life satisfaction, worse health, dramatically less flourishing, more negative emotion, more depression, and increased suicide attempts.”
Jeremy Clifton and Peter Meindl
Of course schools and day care centers must take some basic precautions to keep kids safe.
But a big one should be ensuring that they don’t accidentally hurt kids’ future health and happiness by turning them negative on the world. — L