Are we hurting our kids’ futures by overprotecting them?

I haven’t written in a long time, mostly because I really didn’t have anything to say.  Life has been good, my daughter is doing great, and we’re having a grand old time. But an email I got this morning really got me thinking, and I got all riled up and had to rant. So here’s my two-cents worth for today.

We are living in an age where parents have forced schools to ban tag and red rover – and any other form of play that involves physical contact – on the playground, for fear our kids might get hurt or feel bad about themselves. Parents are thethering their kids to a 50 foot rope so they can’t leave the yard, protecting them from abduction, predators, playing with the wrong kids, and any and all other forms of harm. Parents are forcing schools to ban the honor roll to protect their child’s delicate psyche, if other kids get honored and their kids don’t. Every kid makes the soccer team and up to a certain age the goals aren’t counted so that no one is a “loser”.

When did this happen? Am I the only one who thinks its a bad thing that we’re raising a generation of overprotected pansies? When did we stop letting kids be kids?

Before my daughter was born, Michelle and I read in a couple of books that you shouldn’t take a newborn out of the house for the first six weeks to protect them from viruses and polluted air and the like. Are you kidding me?!?!? We took our daughter with us to the mall when she was 3 days old. Guess what? She’s still alive! We took her everywhere, and we still do, and she loves being on the go. We plan to raise her to be adventurous and outgoing. To not be afraid to fail or get hurt,
and to understand that life isn’t fair and sometimes someone else is going to do better and win the prize. And if she wants to win the prize next time, she’d better work harder and be prepared. I don’t ever want her to think she is “entitled” to anything. And we hope she’ll be a better person for it.

The list below was taken from a mass email, and it makes a good point. Overprotecting our kids now is only going to hurt them in the future.

Take a look back at our generation growing up…
– We survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
– They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
– We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
– We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.
– As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats,booster seats, seat belts or air bags.
– Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
– We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
– We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
– We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because we were always outside playing!
– We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
– No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
– We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
– We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound, we had friends and we went outside and found them!
– We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
– We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
– We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
– We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
– Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
– Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
– The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers,problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. So when it all boils down, are we really just protecting the next generation from success?

Just something to think about.

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One thought on “Are we hurting our kids’ futures by overprotecting them?

  1. Hi there,

    We’re doing a radio show on this topic today on the BBC World Service. I can’t see a contact email for you but if you happen to pick this comment up, please email me or call me at +44 207 557 0628. (you have to add 011 before the 44 if you’re calling from the US).

    Cheers!

    Alex

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