Social Question

Val123's avatar

Have you noticed that fathers who are tending small children, tend to not hold their had when crossing a street or a parking lot?

Asked by Val123 (12679points) April 26th, 2010

Most moms do though….this is something I’ve been observing for several years. A male with a small child or two in tow will just walk into the street with the kids trailing behind, whereas a female will usually hold the kid’s hand. I almost hit a little kid in an icy parking lot once because dad wasn’t holding his hand and the kid took off running ahead. The kid saw my van at the last second and instead of stopping tried to dodge around in front of me. I hit my brakes but…it was icy and I couldn’t stop. The kid ended up running into the front quarter panel of my van….

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24 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t notice any such thing here in Brooklyn where pretty much everyone always makes sure their kids are close as they have a perception of danger or lack of community. Alex will always hold Alexey’s hand even if the latter is protesting. What you’re describing might have to do with some fathers’ ideas about ‘raising ‘em independent’ and not seeming to others as ‘being over-protective’ – I can see where, given our society’s gender norms,some men would be concerned about these things. And I can see, as well, where they would only do this with their male kids and not their female kids.

YoH's avatar

Yes and it terrifies me.

Val123's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well, I would hope it would be different in a big city!! This is just something I’ve observed over the years.

njnyjobs's avatar

I don’t know where you live now either, maybe that is the norm there. But in places where I have lived, I cannot say that I agree with your observation.

Blackberry's avatar

There’s a difference between trailing behind and just walking next to the parent. Trailing behind across the street is bad obviously, but some children are obedient enough to wherre they don’t need a leash on to cross the street.

Trillian's avatar

That’s awful! I think that I first would have jumped out and checked the little one. Then I’d have had “the shakes” for a few minutes. Then I probably would have gotten into it with the dad. How dare he endanger the kids life and because of his lack of common sense be the mitigating factor in a person hitting a child with their car?
I’ve seen this with men and women. People just kind of half assed call after their kid who is running gleefully around a parking lot, a store, a mall, wherever. The kid doesn’t listen, the parent doesn’t make the kid come back…potentially too many things can happen, all due to simple lazy parenting.

Val123's avatar

@njnyjobs LOL! You can’t disagree with my observations! Observations are what they are—observations! You simply mean to say that it doesn’t happen that way where you live. BTW…might do some observations of your own for a while, and see what you really see.

@Trillian Yeah…it scared the crap out of me. I almost got the impression that Dad wanted to somehow blame ME because he just seemed angry (men tend to appear to get angry instead of scared, you know!) He didn’t, couldn’t, of course but…he didn’t say too much overall.

It just gripes me when the kid gets yelled at by a parent when they almost get hit, like they should know better.

Once I was driving down a residential street and there was a little bitty kid, about two years old maybe, wandering in the street. As I went by I laid on my horn. Mom came flying out of the house…and started cussing me out!!

Val123's avatar

@Blackberry Any kid under the age of five should have their hand held when maneuvering behind and between cars that are taller than they are. Has nothing to do with discipline.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Val123 oh, to clarify… I did not say I disagreed. If you read very, very carefully, it did say I cant agree with your observation, or should I say your statement asking if other people notice. . . .

Between you and @Trillian , you should know that pedestrians have the right of way around parking lots and city streets. Especially if there are kids around, motorists should be very wary of their surroundings and be prepared to stop at any given moment that a pedestrian hazards to cross paths with your moving vehicle. Its not only the right thing to do, it is also law in most, if not all states.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Not something I’ve noticed, but obviously I’m the aforementioned dad in Brooklyn. I think there are a lot of factors in why you might observe this more, including location, a father’s perceived role in society (particularly more rural society) to not be a “hand holder” literally or figuratively, and the way that women observe men that are taking care of small children as incompetent, again due to societal norms.

Val123's avatar

@njnyjobs Of course people have the right of way….IF the drivers can see them! You get a little bitty, short kid walking around in a parking lot behind vehicles that are taller than they are! I see it too often and it pisses me off!

@JeanPaulSartre Hi ya! I think that anyone who doesn’t hold their kids’ hand in situations like that is incompetent, male or female. I’ve seen women do it too, but most of the time it’s the men who do it.

wundayatta's avatar

I can’t say I have ever noticed this phenomenon. I always held my kids hands until they were of an age where I trusted them not to do something stupid. I seriously doubt this is a trend that would be proved out by careful observation of a random sample.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Val123…why do you make it sound like that little bitty short kids are not people and not have the right of way. Besides, you’re driving through a parking lot, not a highway… you should come to expect the unexpected. You say you see it too often and it pisses you off . . I say, you should learn your lesson, slow down, stay vigilant, before you get you and/or somebody else in deep trouble.

ucme's avatar

I always did, baffling as to why anyone wouldn’t do the same.

wilma's avatar

Unfortunately I too have noticed this.
It happens with both men and women, but I see it more with the men.
Why, I can’t imagine, ignorance or carelessness I suppose.
One thing I do know is that the sight of a man protecting a child, carrying a child or being attentive to a child is a turn on for me.I guess that is probably one of those things that we all use subconsciously to find a mate.

tinyfaery's avatar

My parents rarely held my hand when we were walking. I knew what would happen if I got out of line—dealing with my father. No hand holding needed.

DominicX's avatar

I’ve never noticed that. My dad held my hand when I was little just as much as my mom did.

Cruiser's avatar

I always held my kids hands or they grabbed mine any chance they could get!

Trillian's avatar

@tinyfaery Your father sounds like mine. I was in fear of him when I was growing up. He would hit me at the drop of a hat and spent most of his time in a seeming simmering rage. Do you feel that you turned out well in spite of him? Do you notice things now that shaped you while you were small that, though unpleasant at the time, are actually legitimate and good things?

Val123's avatar

OMG! Here we go! Attack Fluther style which = misunderstanding totally what I’m saying! @wundayatta First, I’m am not referring to the observation of a single incident. I first noticed it about 10 years ago, and I’ve consciously watched for it since then.

@njnyjobs Where in the world did you get the idea that I said that little kids shouldn’t have the right of way??! Of course they have the right of way, but that “right” is moot if they’re behind a car that they don’t even come up to the top of the trunk on, and the driver can’t see them.
Further, you have manged to jump to the assumption that I don’t drive defensively in parking lots, looking out especially for little kids. And you seemed to have come to that conclusion because it upsets me that when people don’t watch out for their children? That’s just one hell of a connection. But I will say it again…any parent who doesn’t hold their children’s hand, or at the least make sure they are staying by their side, and who, instead, just let their kids run wildly through a parking lot PISS ME OFF.

wundayatta's avatar

You know me, @Val123. Show me the data. Personal testimony without any other corroborating evidence doesn’t overcome the smell test. I’m not saying it’s not a trend. I’m just saying that I doubt it is a trend.

Silhouette's avatar

Yes I’ve seen it many times, in fact I saw it today. A man was crossing a busy intersection and he was about 12 steps ahead of his little girl, she was so small the soft drink cup she was carrying hung to her knees. His little dog was right beside her, off leash of course. Not all men are like that, some act as if something bad could happen, like most women, others act like nothing bad will happen. Better safe than sorry.

Val123's avatar

@wundayatta Well, all I can say is start observing for yourself. Maybe it isn’t that way where you are, but then again, you haven’t been looking for it….

@Silhouette Thanks.

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