Don’t want your kids to fail? Want to keep them safe? Want to know where your kids are every minute? Do you keep up with your kid’s grades and schoolwork to make sure it gets done?
You may be suffering from Bubble wrap parenting. Also referred to as helicopter parenting, this ailment means you shield your kids from harm. All harm including any failure whatsoever.
I hear parents say they tell me they “have” to monitor their child’s work because, guess what, they won’t get into a good college. What’s more, they start to spaz about this when kids are 6. No wonder our kids struggle so much from the transition from home to university.
What happened to kids being kids?
What happened to young kids going out to play in the cul de sac or riding a bike all over creation. What happened to hide and seek? I loved hide-and-seek on a summer night. When it was time to come home my mom would ring a cowbell and we’d come home panting begging to go back out after dinner.
And what has bubble wrap parenting caused? For one thing, a generation that struggles to solve problems because it’s all been done for them. This has created an environment where isolation, addiction, mental illness, and suicide have been able to thrive.
What if they lose their homework, forget their lunch or their coat? Let them be cold or hungry or get a bad homework grade. Because guess what? That’s where learning happens.
Hovering, helicoptering, coddling, protecting, babying, over-supervising is not good for kids. Your kids need room to grow which includes making mistakes because that’s what builds character and resilience.
Charles didn’t get the neighborhood of the seventies
But he damn sure tried and kept at it long enough that he learned to lure kids out of their houses, away from Nintendo and TV to be creative, have fun, be silly and crazy.
It was nothing for me to look out the window and see the rubber severed arm sticking up out of the ground, my mink coat draped on the bushes under the dining room window, fake blood on the driveway, superheroes in my back yard, kids singing “I kissed a squirrel,” teenagers dressed up in blue unitards with plastic swords.
I loved that about Charles. I loved his zany, chaotic way of bringing people together. I caught all kinds of criticism for it. But thank God I let Charles be Charles. Because I think what happened to him was the result of a perfect storm.
I think he would have thrived in the seventies neighborhood. He would have had the community he desperately craved. But good God I caught hell because we couldn’t “control” Charles when in fact, people just didn’t like that he pushed boundaries. That was who he was and trying to fight that would have been fruitless.
Parenting these days is hard. Really hard. Being a kid is hard, too.
Next time your child has a problem, ask them how they would handle it. Ask them what they think a solution might be and let them follow through with it.
They may come up with an awful, terrible, really poorly thought out solution. But if the risk is small, let them go with it and learn from it. Those are the best stories 10 years later.