Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Found this on MSNBC.... do we over shelter our kids?

Posted by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:23 AM
  • 21 Replies

Happy Mother's Day!

Oh, I know the burnt toast and dandelion bouquet won't come till May 10. But lately, every day is Mother's Day, thanks to our relentless focus on moms (and to a lesser extent dads) and the way they parent.

Parenting has become a spectator sport. We set the bar extremely high for what is "good" parenting and start judging the moment we hear someone did something that could be considered one drop dangerous.

I should know. I'm the mom who let her 9-year-old ride the New York City subway by himself. Just about a year ago I made national news when my husband andI decided to take our son someplace he hadn't been before and let him try to find his way home by himself on public transportation. (By day, not very far from home, with money and a map and quarters for a phone call.) The very thing he'd been begging us to let him do for months. He made it home fine, btw, but millions of folks weighed in, often critically, on my parenting.

Now I feel a little like Miss America, passing my "Bad Mom" crown and scepter to Madlyn Primoff, the Scarsdale, N.Y., lawyer who was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child a few weeks back after she left her two daughters, ages 10 and 12, in a shopping area of a New York City suburb because they were bickering in the car. (Both the girls got home safely, though one did wind up waiting for her parents at the local police station.)
Primoff can have the crown, but I'm keeping the scepter for self-defense. All moms could use one. It was only when complete strangers started saying I was lazy/crazy/cable-TV-fodder-in-the-making that I began to understand that a lot of us Americans are raising our kids in an utter state of panic. We are convinced that every day, in every way, our children are in terrible peril. We are obsessed with other parents' child-rearing decisions-and our own-because we're being told each one is of life and death importance.

And it's not just about stranger danger. It begins even before birth, with the pregnancy diet books (a whole new genre!) telling us "each bite" is going to determine if our kids are golden-or duds. Same goes for every other parenting decision we make: are you having natural childbirth? If not, you're traumatizing the baby! Are you breastfeeding? If not, your kid's going to be a dummy! With allergies! And extra-chunky thighs! Are you feeding your kid nonorganic baby food? Did you wait too long to sign her up for music lessons? Shouldn't you get that toy that teaches multiplication? But the biggest decision of all, of course, is: can I ever leave my kids to their own devices? To climb a tree or walk to school? And lately the answer is: no. Not until their hair goes gray and they start liking bran flakes.The prevailing belief is that even one unscheduled, unsupervised childhood episode (like the car-ejection) is dangerous to the point of criminal. That kids could never possibly buck up and ask someone for help, or figure out how to use a public phone, or ask directions to the police station.

But that Scarsdale lawyer's kids were not preschoolers. At age 10 or 12 in other eras, those kids would have been apprenticed already. Or working as servants in someone else's house, or picking coffee beans. Actually, in other countries, some children that age are still picking coffee beans. Why do we assume that today's American kids are the dumbest, most vulnerable, least competent generation ever-and that we are doing them a favor by treating them almost as if they are disabled? ("Let me open the car door for you, honey!") Because that's what our culture tells us to do. It tells us that kids need extra classes, extra padding and extra supervision just to make it through another day. It tells us we should always plan for the worst-case scenario. And it warns us that they are in physical danger from a crime-crazed world, even though, nationally, our crime rate is back to what it was in 1970. Yes, if you grew up in the '70s or '80s, times are safer now than when you were a kid. That's according to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics. We Americans have a very hard time believing that good news because good news is not what we are soaking in. Mostly we are soaking in 24-hour cable, bringing us the worst stories-especially child abductions-from all corners of the globe. (Aruba, anyone? Portugal?) When we flip to TV police dramas like "CSI," we see maggots and autopsies and the freakiest, saddest scenarios Hollywood can dream up, usually involving duct tape. These stories, so graphically told, sear themselves on our brains. Pick up a parenting magazine instead, and we find article after article, "Is your child's crib safe?" "Is your child's food safe?" "Is your child's [fill in the blank with something that seems extremely safe, like a pillow] safe?" If that magazine can't convince us that it has some lifesaving info that we really must read to keep our kids alive, we won't buy it. So it's in the same biz as TV News: It simply has to scare us.

In short: we are being brainwashed with fear and it makes us worry that everything we do as parents may be putting our kids in danger. That's why we judge other parents so harshly, and why we keep our kids cloistered like Rapunzel. Don't get me wrong. As founder of the Free-Range Kids movement-a group of people who believe in giving kids more freedom and responsibility-my philosophy is not to throw kids out of the car (sorely tempting though that may be at times). But Free-Range parents do believe that kids are more capable and competent than we give them credit for. And that, after teaching them basic safety, they need some freedom to develop as smart, happy, responsible humans. Not crazy freedom. Just the kind of freedom we had, back when parenting decisions were not the stuff of national news.

Skenazy is founder of the blog-turned-parenting-movement FreeRangeKids.com and author of, "Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry." (Wiley, April 2009)

by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:23 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Kays_Mama06
by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:30 AM

I didnt read the article but just to answer the question you asked.. Yes.. I think A LOT of moms want to be the "perfect" parent and want to do everything by the book and at the same time over sheltering their kids.

Of course we all want to protect our kids.. But overly sheltering children til their teens is something that i think will backfire tremendously for some once their children are off to college or even during high school.

I should know I was one of them. lol.

I think as they ask, we should tell. No holding back. No sugar coating. Make things understand but realistic for them because we all know this world can be a cruel place.

atlmom2
by Susie on May. 8, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Yes, there are too many parents that shelter their kids too much these days and they will not be ready for the real world.  I think I am a middle of the road parent.  I hope so as my girls are 15 and 18. 

Dh did a poll of his summer interns so they were going to be seniors in college.  They were ask how many of them talk to their parents at least once a month and every kids hand went up.  Then they said how many talk to their parents at least every other week and 99% of the hands stayed up.  Then they ask how many talk to their parents every week and 50% still had their hands up.  Then how many talk to their parents every day and 25% still had their hands up.  Then how many talk to their parents multiple times a day and 10-15% had their hands up.  That is totally weird to me.  When dh was in college he probably called his parents every month maybe.  I know it was more expensive back 30 years ago but kids are way too needy these days. 

I belong to a group where this Mom has 2 kids in college.  Her sister told her daughter (this ladies niece) that she wouldn't pay for her cell phone unless she called her ever day at college.  The lady I know yelled and her sister and told her to let go.  The lady I know said she talks to her kids IF she needs to ask them something, other wise she would probably call and check on them once a month. 

Even on 5th and 8th grade school trips (3 days) my kids did not call me and I didn't expect a call.  IF something was wrong, I would get a call.  If not, I didn't need one letting me know they were fine.  No call meant things were great. 

momaof8
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Both of the first examples were horrible parenting , do I think some people shelter too much sure.  The one with the 10 year old on the side of the road is lucky her daughter is alive.

Kays_Mama06
by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM


Quoting atlmom2:

Yes, there are too many parents that shelter their kids too much these days and they will not be ready for the real world.  I think I am a middle of the road parent.  I hope so as my girls are 15 and 18. 

Dh did a poll of his summer interns so they were going to be seniors in college.  They were ask how many of them talk to their parents at least once a month and every kids hand went up.  Then they said how many talk to their parents at least every other week and 99% of the hands stayed up.  Then they ask how many talk to their parents every week and 50% still had their hands up.  Then how many talk to their parents every day and 25% still had their hands up.  Then how many talk to their parents multiple times a day and 10-15% had their hands up.  That is totally weird to me.  When dh was in college he probably called his parents every month maybe.  I know it was more expensive back 30 years ago but kids are way too needy these days. 

I belong to a group where this Mom has 2 kids in college.  Her sister told her daughter (this ladies niece) that she wouldn't pay for her cell phone unless she called her ever day at college.  The lady I know yelled and her sister and told her to let go.  The lady I know said she talks to her kids IF she needs to ask them something, other wise she would probably call and check on them once a month. 

Even on 5th and 8th grade school trips (3 days) my kids did not call me and I didn't expect a call.  IF something was wrong, I would get a call.  If not, I didn't need one letting me know they were fine.  No call meant things were great. 

Sadly im not shocked by that little study your DH did.

Kids are way too needy now a days. I dont know. I guess being raised by my gma and having to grow up so young made me very independent from the age of 10-11 so I just view things differently. I call my gma (she's in PR) maybe 2x a month. Well it'll be 3x this month because of Mother's Day. lol. I want my son to come to me in times of urgency, but just because he decided to go balls to the wall crazy with his money... Uh no. No thank you. Learn to manage and you'll survive.

AMsMommy212
by on May. 8, 2009 at 9:53 AM

I read the article, and while in THIS city I would not just leave my 12 year old in a parking lot...I do agree that children are way over-protected these days. I don't have a problem with some advancements in safety, like car seats and such...but I do think kids are overly sheltered from the real world, with no score sports, and these movements to eliminate grades and grade levels, this "unschooling" crap...The big drama filled hoopla that occurred here the other day because some toddlers managed to climb up on a kitchen counter where *gasp* knives were sitting in the block (among 541 other dangers)! I see crap like this nearly every day here, where parents are apparently never more than 6 inches away from their bubble wrapped children..

It's ridiculous

 

atlmom2
by Susie on May. 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM


Quoting Kays_Mama06:


Quoting atlmom2:

Yes, there are too many parents that shelter their kids too much these days and they will not be ready for the real world.  I think I am a middle of the road parent.  I hope so as my girls are 15 and 18. 

Dh did a poll of his summer interns so they were going to be seniors in college.  They were ask how many of them talk to their parents at least once a month and every kids hand went up.  Then they said how many talk to their parents at least every other week and 99% of the hands stayed up.  Then they ask how many talk to their parents every week and 50% still had their hands up.  Then how many talk to their parents every day and 25% still had their hands up.  Then how many talk to their parents multiple times a day and 10-15% had their hands up.  That is totally weird to me.  When dh was in college he probably called his parents every month maybe.  I know it was more expensive back 30 years ago but kids are way too needy these days. 

I belong to a group where this Mom has 2 kids in college.  Her sister told her daughter (this ladies niece) that she wouldn't pay for her cell phone unless she called her ever day at college.  The lady I know yelled and her sister and told her to let go.  The lady I know said she talks to her kids IF she needs to ask them something, other wise she would probably call and check on them once a month. 

Even on 5th and 8th grade school trips (3 days) my kids did not call me and I didn't expect a call.  IF something was wrong, I would get a call.  If not, I didn't need one letting me know they were fine.  No call meant things were great. 

Sadly im not shocked by that little study your DH did.

Kids are way too needy now a days. I dont know. I guess being raised by my gma and having to grow up so young made me very independent from the age of 10-11 so I just view things differently. I call my gma (she's in PR) maybe 2x a month. Well it'll be 3x this month because of Mother's Day. lol. I want my son to come to me in times of urgency, but just because he decided to go balls to the wall crazy with his money... Uh no. No thank you. Learn to manage and you'll survive.

Dh also said it spills over into their job also.  They are way more needy than our generation was in their jobs also.  They have to be coddled too much. 

Jackieb3
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Great article! I walked to the bus every morning by myself when I was in kinder. Mom had to work...

brookelynn0203
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

I couldn't even finish the article it was making me sick that thing shouldn't have the right to call herself a mother.  Good momma's protect their children while still teaching them how to be independent it can be done and is being done.  The rest of you who agree with this woman are just as she said, "LAZY" and irresponsible!

 

 I am a BF, 5PT Harnassing, Co-sleeping, VAX, CIO, OCD, AR, WOTH, NON PA, Non-Spanking, CHD-Surviving, Single Mommy and PROUD OF IT!!!
 "I'm out of control and at times hard to handle, but if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best. Marilyn Monroe"



I was born with a broken heart......and I survived it!

AMsMommy212
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:17 AM


Quoting brookelynn0203:

I couldn't even finish the article it was making me sick that thing shouldn't have the right to call herself a mother.  Good momma's protect their children while still teaching them how to be independent it can be done and is being done.  The rest of you who agree with this woman are just as she said, "LAZY" and irresponsible!

 

Maybe you should finish the article, or actually read the responses before you start throwing around insults. I don't agree with what she DID but I agree with the message she is giving in the article.

Randi02
by on May. 8, 2009 at 10:40 AM

There is a huge difference between the world today and the world I grew up in. There are pregnancy diets because people don't practice common sense, for whatever reason GD is extremely common now during pregnancy. Breastfeeding has been PROVEN to raise a childs IQ by an average of 6 points (depending on which study you read) of course it's going to be better for your child since it is tailored to them. Organic foods are better because they don't have ADDED contaminants. Why would you knowingly feed your child chemicals is beyond me.

I am not overly worried about things like cribs (we co sleep lol) I am worried about all of the sick assholes out there. The kiddie porn on the internet, the children being abducted and raped or tortured before they are killed. My parents didn't really supervise us and we got ourselves into a lot of trouble. I watched a 2 year old die when I was not much older because no one was watching us. I want better for my kids. They are able to run around and do things, but I would never get pissed and leave them at a shopping mall in a busy city even at 10 or 12.

AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers


AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)