Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Overprotected

I’m pretty sure I’m lucky to have escaped my childhood with all of my appendages intact. I remember using sharp ceramic tools to scrape misfired pieces of ceramics to bits for entertainment when I stayed at my grandma’s house. I nearly cut off the top of my left index finger while carving pumpkins when I was eight. I decided the best way to learn how to ride my two wheeled bike was by riding it down the side of a levee. (Clunk… Thud… WHAM!) Miraculously, the only thing injured was my pride.

I climbed into tall trees for hours and ate green mulberries out of them. I made mushroom soup in a bucket with dirt, grass, and rocks. It’s a good thing I didn’t decide to eat it because I’m pretty sure they must’ve been poisonous! I played in weeds, woods, and ditches for hours on end.

I did all of these things and more and I survived. That’s why I take issue with the huge overprotective trend in society lately. Maybe it’s the media contributing by showing everything that’s bad in the world today? It definitely effects me. Sometimes I wish I could lock my kids inside and keep them safe. I find myself buying into teaching my children all of these fears when deep down I think they should be free to enjoy their childhood. They should run, scream, climb, swim, and play the way I did. It’s MY fears that are holding them back.

I’ve been working on it though. A few days ago I brought Brandon to the park. We walked down by the river and I made an effort not to be as overprotective. I didn’t hold his hand obsessively. I just let go. Even though the river is shallow, I’m always nervous. I told him not to get too close to the edge and he listened. He reveled in his independence by throwing pinecones and grass to the minnows.

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I sat down next to him and resolved to keep working on letting him be independent from then on. I decided I don’t want to pass my fears on to him or the girls. I don’t want to be so overprotective that I cause them to miss out on the good things in life while trying to protect them from the bad.

I’m beginning to think there’s a thin line between loving and smothering our children. What do you think?

11 comments:

Nancy aka Homesclscrapper said...

I fully agree, it is so hard not to impart our own fears and paranoias into our children. The media does little to help us with this. You are not alone. hugs.

Agnes said...

I mean there's common sense and then there's is being overprotective. I am not sure where the line is actually. But I've been drinking tap water all my life and I am fine :-)

Heather Landry said...

Agnes, LOL I've been drinking tap water all my life too. I even made my kid's bottles with it. It totally freaked people out. I dunno.

Amanda Sevall said...

I think you are onto something here Heather! People are way overprotective of their kids. I think you are ahead of the curve actually thinking about it and taking steps to give your kids independence. I've said it before and I'll say it again... you're a good mom!! :)

JadeCook said...

I agree. People are crazy now and I just think back when I was growing up and what all I did and I managed to turn out just fine lol. I just tell myself as long as Westin is loved and happy then that is all that matters. All that little crazy stuff people worry about it just small stuff. My mom always says, "Never sweat the small stuff"

Nisa Fiin said...

totally agree!!
(Have you read "Free Range Parenting"?)

Heather Landry said...

Nisa, I haven't read it yet. I'm definitely going to check it out though!

Cindy d said...

Excellent blog entry- lots of food for thought. I definitely fall into the overprotective end of the spectrum. For 11 years I was a teacher in a low income area and I met dozens (hundreds?) of UNDER-protective parents. It can be hard to pinpoint just why we parent the way we do, but for me, I think seeing the negative outcomes of underprotection led me to overprotect.

Heather Landry said...

Cindy,

I can totally understand why you would be that way. I have seen plenty of underprotective parents too when I was foster parenting. I think it's really hard to strike the right balance in parenting!

kim said...

i agree. i did all that too.

Sand and Sunshine said...

OMG about you and the bike! It must have something to do with two wheel bikes as I hit a parking stop in a parking lot my first time out and flew over the handle bars, oh there was puss, it was so gross.

Would you believe I'm the laid back one? DH is much more "be careful" than I am. Life's to short, play hard!