This was brought home to me the summer after the Cornish music festival - which passed without incident, so far as I know, anyway - when Charlie announced that he wanted to go to Reading Festival. Someone had told me of the fashion for setting fire to the serried ranks of tents on the last day and I was out of my mind with panic.
In desperation I called my friend Paul who is a bodyguard and asked him if he would shadow Charlie for three days. He burst out laughing.
"At Reading? Dude, there's 120,000 kids there.
"I know, but I'm frightened and I don't know what to do."
And Paul dispensed possibly the wisest words ever dispensed to a scared parent. "Cut the cord, dude. You've got to cut the cord."
Paul was right, of course. We have to trust our children to be safe. We have to trust that they will make mistakes. We have to trust that they will repeat them. But we also have to trust that they will learn from them and that they will survive.
Most of them do. Most of them are fine.
Whatever stupid scrapes they get into, most of them will be fine. There will always be tragedies and I leap to panic mode each time I hear of one, exactly as my heart goes out to the parents of the fallen child.
But we can't live our lives in fear, and we can't ask our children to do so, either. We didn't bring them up for that. We have to trust our children.
And be brave.
THE 50 THINGS by PETER DUNNE