The Daily Dilemma: Protecting vs. Pampering Your Kids

Am I protecting my kids from the many evils of the world and letting them “have a childhood,” or am I setting them up to have an adulthood with limited coping skills?

When many of us were kids, we were allowed to run wild and free. Our parents failed to protect us from playing doctor or from the bully down the street. They exposed us to their fights, they cried in front of us, and let us eat sugar. Many of us snuck booze from their liquor cabinets and smoked cigarettes in the back of our local convenience store. Some of us even bought their cigarettes for them. We walked to school, took the bus on our own, and made our own lunch.

Times are different now. We now know about the dangers of kidnapping and cyberbullying. We can get a ticket—or worse—if our child is in the wrong car seat, and we know about the trouble kids can get into when they don’t have proper adult supervision. Most of us remember when Columbine was a fluke.

We want to do our best to keep them from doing drugs and having sex too young. We want to make sure they never touch a cigarette or Google “pearl necklace” accidentally. We don’t want them to have a mean friend or a bad teacher. We want them to realize their potential, have every opportunity to succeed, and we want them to win.

The question is, are we setting them up to lose? Many kids today cannot even cross the street on their own. They don’t know how to go to the store or ask a stranger for directions. They can’t make scrambled eggs or go play outside until dark.

Was having that rotten friend really that bad? Or did it help us learn how to deal with rotten people? While none of us want our kids to be kidnapped, bullied, or molested, we also don’t want them to get roofied on their first day of college.

Time will tell if our involvement in their lives is excessive. In the meantime maybe we should all teach our kids how to make an omelet.

So what do you think— are you protecting your little ones, or unnecessarily pampering them?

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Tags : confessions   parenting   

Dona Kareno
The daily dilemma indeed!
Tricia Goss
It's such a fine line! We have to work so hard to find the right balance. Great points!