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tinyfaery's avatar

Is it okay for parents to engage in risky behaviors?

Asked by tinyfaery (41414points) June 3rd, 2009 from iPhone

This is something I think about quite often, and I have no answer either way.

Now, I am definitely not one to
believe that one must sacrifice themselves to their children. Fulfilling one’s desires is important for happiness. But, I often take issue with those who engage in high-risk behaviors, especially as a career. Police, firefighters, especially those in the military: is it right that these people choose to have children and then engage in behaviors that could very likely get them killed?

Having a spouse is one thing. A husband/wife is an adult, capable of making their own choices, but children are brought into the world through no choice of their own.

Like I said, I have no right answer. I’d like to hear your opinions.

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33 Answers

Judi's avatar

Having a noble high risk career is one thing. A child who looses a hero parent can cope much better than a child who looses a parent to a drug overdose or in a gang war.

RandomMrdan's avatar

I’d say a career choice should have no impact on whether one has children or not. There are risks daily in life. People die daily in car accidents, and things like that.

Just because one is in the military or police force doesn’t mean they can’t get a desk job in their chosen career, or get relocated to a quiet neighborhood with less crime. Obviously someone who is in the infantry of the Marine Corp or Army is more likely to be killed in a days work than lets say an office worker back here at home.

I think it should be at the discretion of the parents who have to provide for their family. And like Judi said, having a parent who in the eyes of the children is a “hero” who goes out and saves lives daily is good thing I think.

-I don’t see any problem with it at all.

tinyfaery's avatar

@judi That is not an absolute. I’ve seen very different reactions.

Poser's avatar

If my military career were to kill me, I hope my son would learn that there are some things more precious than our own lives. See my job as a parent isn’t to simply remain alive, but to raise a boy to be a man.

RandomMrdan's avatar

What about the parents who over eat and over indulge, or smoke. They are killing themselves slowly…whether it’s some sort of cancer related to smoking, or heart disease caused by obesity.

Judi's avatar

@tinyfaery ; I agree. There are very few absolutes though. It is hard on children when a parent dies no matter what, but cancer can get someone who hides out behind a desk as easy as a bullet can get a police officer.
I do have a harder time with CHOOSING the military. Why have kids if you are going to leave them for months at a time?
I know families sometimes make hard choices though, and until I walk a mile in their shoes I won’t presume to judge.

Dog's avatar

While I do not know the statistics I do not think that the death rates among Fire and Police are high enough to refer to as risk taking.
They are highly trained to reduce the risk of accidents and they have multiple safety procedures they follow.

However- those who enjoy high risk hobbies such as extreme sports are another story. It seems that the death rates are greater and those with children should consider the kids before “facing death” for fun.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@dog, yes I agree with your statement. I had some training, and automobile accidents and motorcycle accidents led the way with causes of of death in the Air Force.

tinyfaery's avatar

So as a career, which statistically would yield a greater chance of death, is okay, but as a sport, which statistically has a minimal chance of death?

I don’t find the argument that anything can happen, “or what about being obese?”, fit here. We are all dying, but to engage in behaviors that significantly up that risk is something else all together.

@poser How can you raise your son to be anything when you’re dead?

marinelife's avatar

Whatever a parent does or does not do is going to leave indelible marks on their children—some good, some bad.

To me, the example of a life unlived, a parent unfulfilled is much worse than that of a parent who makes strong, positive choices, and then pursues their passions.

It is not possible for a parent to protect themselves from death or injury. A person is just as likely to die in a no-fault car accident. I have friends who elect to fly on separate flights when they travel so that their child not be left parentless should the unthinkable occur, but I know many other parents who do not even take that precaution.

Choosing a military career is not seeking death. it is electing to serve one’s country. Many parents who choose it would say they choose it so that their children will be safe.

tinyfaery's avatar

@marina That’s what they say.

Judi's avatar

@tinyfaery ; you don’t think obesity or a sedentary lifestyle don’t significantly increase the chance of early death? I bet a lot more obese people die an early death from heart issues, cancer and diabetes than do police officers from work related incidents.

Judi's avatar

@Marina ; tried to give you lurve but I must have maxed out on you cause it wouldn’t let me :-)

galileogirl's avatar

Back in the 60’s when we had the draft, married men with children were not 1-A classification. There were enough people who got married and pregnant that they changed that. It was no secret that Jane Fonda married Tom Hayden to get him out of the draft.

Life is full of risk and we can’t tell others how much risk they can take or under what circumstances. Statistically people in the fishing industry, agriculture, mining, trucking and other jobs requiring driving, loggers, and many other professions are more dangerous than the police or firefighters.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/01/08/cb.danger/index.html

RandomMrdan's avatar

@tinyfaery being obese, or smoking does increase your chances of dieing at an early age. And those two things are the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

galileogirl's avatar

@RandomMrdan But not in the age group of people who are most likely to have dependent children. That is the age when riding a motorcycle or even driving to work is more likely to kill than eating a Big Mac. In the age group of 25–45 accidents (traffic, job related and recreational), murder and suicide are many times more likely to cause a parent to die.

Judi's avatar

@galileogirl ; Isn’t the age of death due to smoking and obesity related causes getting younger at an alarming rate though? I know that childhood diabetes is rising rather quickly.

galileogirl's avatar

@Judi Children are not parents and parents’ risky behavior is what this thread is about. Now if you want to talk about parental behavior that might be considered abuse/neglect ie poor feeding habits, allowing electronic babysitters, inadequate supervision, that’s a whole other question.

CMaz's avatar

Engaging in risky behaviors is what one thinks is risky. It might be for you but not for the other. Driving to work can be risky.
Personally, I do not like the idea of married soldiers going to war if it can be avoided. Or getting married while still in the service. Your job is to die for your country. Why put that “risky behavior” on others. Come home, have a wonderful life with someone you love.

galileogirl's avatar

If we didn’t allow married men and fathers go to war maybe we couldn’t have wars any more.

dynamicduo's avatar

People can die in all sorts of ways. A father at a desk job can have a heart attack. I’m sure even the safest of jobs have a certain amount of risk to them.

By the definition of “freedom”, yes, it is OK for parents to engage in risky behaviour. Everything in life has a risk. If they weren’t allowed to, they would literally be doing nothing all day and thus die of starvation, that doesn’t seem in any way more beneficial!

Judi's avatar

@galileogirl ; im just saying that younger people are dieing of these kinds of diseases. We never would have thought a parent in their thirties would die of an obesity related heart attack (or it would have been rare) 30 years ago, but it is not so rare now.

galileogirl's avatar

@dynamicduo I think I read somewhere that among police and firefighters the stress of the job is far more dangerous than action. The most common cause of death while still working is a heart attack.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

You know, there are approximately 600 reported cases of choking caused by ink pens every year. Risky behavior can be anything. Death comes in all forms, and if people who are cops, or firefighters, or soldiers want to have kids, it’s a free country, and the last time I checked, no one was regulating who can and cannot have offspring.

although, when I see people who can barely take care of themselves having kids, it makes me wonder if there shouldn’t be some sort of IQ test for parents.

cak's avatar

My first “real” job was at a worker’s comp insurance company, I was an account assistant and an assistant small fund manager. Safe enough, right? Desk job. Some contact with clients. I had to participate in a deposition or two, when people tried to slide by without coverage and would forge an old certificate of insurance. No biggie, right?

In 2 years of working there, 23 bomb threats. 5 true bombs were found.

Risky jobs, risky behavior….isn’t that just life in general?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Risky legitimate legal jobs like police officer, fireman and construction worker: okay
Risky avoidable behaviors such as riding motorcycles without a helmet, driving without a seatbelt buckled, buying recreational drugs in a neighborhood known for muggings & assaults: not okay.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Somebody’s gotta take these careers and it’s not fair to tell people they shouldn’t have children – I have no control over whether or not others should reproduce (no matter how much I want to sometimes)

Darwin's avatar

Actually, death rate for police officers, firefighters and soldiers is not all that high. It is just that their deaths are highly publicized because they die so that others do not. They are modeling altruism at the highest level.

However, death from stupid behavior can be quite high, and parents that practice these behaviors, even if they do not die because of them, are modeling unwise behaviors for their kids. By risky behaviors I mean drinking and driving, buying, selling or using illegal drugs, riding without proper precautions, participating in illegal activities, and so on.

YARNLADY's avatar

There are various kinds of ‘risk’; health care professions in general show a higher than average suicide rate. This is especially true of those in emergency services, EMTs and paramedics who respond to crisis calls.

bea2345's avatar

One of my neighbours was a speedboat enthusiast – it’s a big sport in the West Indies. He was killed in a boating accident, and his wife said, “I never liked that dangerous sport.” Well, it left her a widow with young children.

dannyc's avatar

I never try and give someone advice how to live their life. What may be risky for one is just plain fun for another.

sakura's avatar

Each to their own! My husband and I ride a bike and often wonder what would happen to our daughter if we had accidents when out and about. I would hope that she would know her mum and dad loved her very much and that our families would look after her and keep her safe.
I am not sure whether or not we have the right to dictate to those who have dangerous careers whether thewy can have chidlren or not, there are planty of people out there who have children for more selfish reasons (ie designer babies that are used as accssesories) surely if a person wants a baby and can bring it into a world of love and care (even if parent is taken from them) that is more important and more worthwhile than the poor child that never sees its parent because they are too career driven or get bored of it or can’t look after it properly?

Who knows enough rambling work to do !

sakura's avatar

my spelling is awful sorry guys, it’s my typing and being too lazy to check sorry!!!

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