How many of you want to protect your children from harm? From falls, cuts, bruises, scrapes, bumps and cries? We all do, but I want to tell you why you should step back and give your child some space and why we need to sometimes let them fall and get over some bumps, get scars and cry.
It’s natural for us, parents to be protective of our children. They are our precious, they mean everything to us, we will do absolutely everything to protect them. I was born in 1981 and my childhood was free from screens, technology, tv’s cartoons channels and games. We fought with our parents to spend more time outside. Now, children cannot be dragged outside.
We live in a society afraid of strangers, focusing on Stranger-Danger, not knowing who lives next door to us.
Is today’s world much more dangerous than 30 years ago? I don’t really think so. But as parents, we got much more scared and much more protective.
From research, we know that in the ’70s 80% of children aged 9 to 10 (P4) walked to school without adult supervision, fifty years later we have only 3% children walking to schools by themselves. We are overprotecting our children, making them less resilient and vulnerable. We are creating non-existent fears and as parents we are making our children disabled, not able to deal with any seatbacks.
When I was a kid, I was begging my parents to go outside more, when I was grounded, it was a real tragedy as all my pals played out and about. Now, as The Guardian is suggesting, children between 5 and 16 are spending average 45 hours glued to their screens. Spending an average 4 hours a week outside. Can you imagine? Even prisoners spend 7 hours a week out on the fresh air. Impact of this is clearly visible.
Mood swings, unable to build relationships our children lack of abilities to find themselves in society. What happened with chatting up girls and boys on the way from school or as teenagers in free houses? Now we are unable to make eye contact, we moved our relationships online. Our children live in a bubble, and this is not good.
Children are not able to experience, learn from everyday setbacks, emotionally not coping with difficulties. As parents, we became much more anxious, which makes our children prone to anxiety and other mental health difficulties. We are making our children less healthy, more mentally struggling. This is scary.
Check video below, a short clip from Channel 4’s Cotton Wool Children”
I was shocked when I saw this video and I know myself parents like that. They are almost following their children and they are ready to catch them before they even trip. They are in constant stress, telling kids not to do this, not to do that. Stop this, you will get hurt, you will get dirty, you will fall, you will crash.
Those children will crash but in their lives. Helicopter parenting is not the way to raise your children. Let your children take risks, experience life, have their own ability to assess risks. Without this, they will be disabled, unable to live fulfiling lives. Taking risks and being able to play freely will allow our children to learn how to effectively solve problems, it gives them also skills to regulate their emotions and experience it.
They will be able to assess risks and make their own decisions, children will be much more connected and will have the ability to develop good communication, social skills and relationships. Let children fall out and amend their friendships without us getting involved.
Speak to your children. tell them stories from your childhood, tell them what did you do and how did you spend your childhood. Give them a chance to explore, experience, make their life worth living as it should be.
Let go, be encouraging not discouraging. Let them live.
I would like to show you very inspiring TED talk from Paula McGuire which suffered from anxiety since early childhood. She was unable to leave her house, answer her phone. She slowly withdrew year by year from society and became isolated. Fortunately, things changed.
Truly inspiring and thought provoking. Lets give our children opportuniies and encourage them to explore before they develop social anxiety or will be at risk of mental health struggle unable to baunce back from any setbacks.