If you think back to your childhoods you will remember that one of the biggest frustrations was your lack of power. You were regularly told,” When you are older you can do that! When you are grown-up you can do this”, and so on. So basically as children we had very little power over decisions and choices, BUT and this is a very big BUT- as children growing up we took RISKS. (Often without parental knowledge!) We were able to take risks because we could actually escape from adult eyes occasionally. These risks gave us the chance to succeed, fail, learn, get hurt, learn resilience and generally toughen up and learn about the real world. We found out that some kids didn’t like us (even if we gave them our lunch), some teachers also didn’t like us (often for very good reasons) and that we needed to think, plan carefully (possibly scheming is a better word!) to get what we wanted.
Unfortunately many children now just ask for what they want and BAM the good fairy (parent) grants their wish or gives them the date their wish will come true.
They NEVER get to just hang out with kids. Play-dates are now the order of the day! Children are not allowed to dislike each other and have to settle all disputes by calm, well thought out adult procedures. (Children know much faster ways to settle these things!)
If they don’t do homework, teachers are told by parents (too stressful to make children tell the truth), “Aunt Beth unexpectedly came to dinner, he was ill and had to go to bed early, we ran out of time, it was too hard and so on. So what does the child learn?
1. I cannot settle my own problems- Mum must speak for me.
2. It is OK to lie and not be responsible for my own actions (or lack of!)
What are we REALLY protecting our children from? I can hear you all right now bleating on about stranger danger, harsh teachers, tired children ………..
Do you know that children who are over-protected are more likely to be bullied?
However, the fact is you are actually protecting them from the chance to learn, gain resilience, grow up, take risks, develop self confidence and above all have a healthy sense of I CAN and self-esteem.
I am not arguing for children to be allowed to do what they want. It goes without saying that children should be cared for, nurtured and given safe environments. Just remember to occasionally turn a blind eye and allow them to have a voice. We want our children to grow into honest, creative, thinking individuals with strong self-esteem and highly developed sense of self-discipline and responsibility.
Give them some power back! Get some other interests- your children are not your hobby, your handbag or bright, shining possessions. They are unique gifts to the world and must be allowed a little air and freedom to breathe and learn!