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  1. #1
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    Default The over protected kid

    This is a really long, kind of sad, excellent article from The Atlantic about the costs of over protecting our children from an environment no more (and in many ways less) dangerous than it was decades ago.

    Specifically it delves into how helicopter parenting supplants children's ability to make decisions for themselves, assess risk and generally be a functional human capable of taking responsibility for themselves.

    It draws links between the rise of helicopter parenting in the mid 90's and millenials current inability to live on their own.

    Being born in 85, I was on the tail end of being able to roam free in the neighborhood as a kid. The shift really occurred when I was in middle school, and by highschool the die was cast. Luckily I was in High School and had pretty good levels of freedom just by dint of how old I was.

    I feel bad for the youngins. It seems we've lost a lot by trying to live our kids lives for them, and protecting them from everything. When I occasionally rail against a culture where safety is more important than fun, and where boys can't be boys anymore, this is kind of what I'm getting at.

    Anyway, here is the article:

    The Overprotected Kid

    A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.

    @Jennifer I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on this.

    I'd also like to hear from some younger and older folks as well.

    I got a pretty hardcore dose of nostalgia reading the article.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    You pretty much can't win. If you let your kid play outside without you, people will call CPS on you. If you go outside with them all the time, you can't get anything done. The only way to get anything done and keep from having CPS called on you is to keep them inside and that generally means electronic babysitters. And everyone knows how bad that is.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  3. #3
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    You pretty much can't win. If you let your kid play outside without you, people will call CPS on you. If you go outside with them all the time, you can't get anything done. The only way to get anything done and keep from having CPS called on you is to keep them inside and that generally means electronic babysitters. And everyone knows how bad that is.
    i wonder if we're getting closer to jar babies and being raised by robotic nannies. I bet that's why they're doing this to get us in the future to agree with that model
    In no likes experiment.

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    Well, when your only negative memories are those in which your parent got mad at you for trying to go off by yourself, I suppose that would make it a primary deciding factor. ("How could I possibly know what to do if an authority figure isn't here to express his/her approval or disappointment?")

    My older sister was raised in a rural area of a third-world country. Having moved to the US when I was one, the cultural differences are clearly evident. At my current age, she might be working or hanging out with her friends at an undisclosed location. I still don't like driving and my mom would go crazy if I wasn't at home.(One day I didn't come home until 8pm, never doing that again!)

    I have yearned for the freedom to roam, but I fear that I would not know how to go about it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I feel like my mom over protects me more then my brother
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  6. #6
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    It's the phenomenon that destroys the inner child. The inner child is exploratory by nature, and that exploration should be encouraged. Let him get scratched up, but let him have a band-aid. Getting a bruisin' or two from life is an experiential way to learn, one that sinks in better than simply being told what will bruise you.

    Put the kid on a trike and walk beside him as he pedals on his own. Do the same thing with his bike when the training wheels come off.

    And now to actually read the article.

    edit: The Land seems pretty cool.
    By overcoming fears, children achieve a measure of independence, and may inoculate themselves from adult phobias.
    This.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    This is a bit disjointed / unpolished, but it's all I have time for right now.

    .....

    I will say when I raised my own kids, I was the parent who wanted to let the kids try more. Exploration was important to me and I thought important to them, in terms of their growth and potential... plus it's just fun. I was fortunate that my ex was amenable and so we could stretch things... but still their experience was much differen than mine growing up.

    I was born in 1968, and I lived in rural PA. The closest large grocery story was about seven miles away, the closest mall about 15-20. We had a little country grocery across the street to buy any essentials, but pretty much I was surrounded by corn fields and cow pastures.

    My dad was rarely home and my mom was either working or doing stuff around the house and was introverted herself, so I did a lot of things on my own. I consider those years, despite their inherent loneliness at times, as some of the best years of my life because I was free, and I could explore, and I could learn how the world worked, and I could do anything that I set my mind on.

    I would climb trees to the very tiptop, even when a rainstorm kicked up. I would run with friends up and down long rows of corn that towered past our heads, playing hide-and-seek. I would ride my Schwinn 5-speed all over the county when I was ten -- sometimes 20-25 miles a day in the summer (I was crazy!) With this last bit, my parents forced me into one concession: I had to have one of those tall orange flags on my bike so drivers speeding on the country roads would see me, and although my friends made fun of me, I didn't have a choice.

    I would tramp across the fields, looking for rocks and sticks and exploring the hills and brush. There were streams and lakes nearby I would fish in. My dad had tools in the shed, and I would make things. I once found a dead bird and decided to give it a viking funeral, so I built a small wooden boat for it, swiped some gas (for the mower) and some matches, took it down to the stream, set the bird/boat on fire, and watched it float downstream. I also made my own treehouse with assorted odds and ends + hammer and nails, in one of the trees out back. I ended up getting HORRIBLE poison ivy that summer from being down there (probably over 50-60% of my body, ugg, it was horrible!) but ... oh well.

    I'd take my bow out sometimes, my friends would take their BB guns, and we'd go tramping around shooting at things.

    When I was in high school, my friends and I started making 'safe' explosives to do war recreations out in the woods. We only did it a few times (it was nothing more than a fuse + small gunpowder charge to blow up flour bombs, or saltpeter/sugar bombs), but it was interesting and fun.

    And ... can I say... lawn darts? It's a wonder we didn't all die. I miss lawn darts, though. OMG. Srsly. I can't believe the crap we would do with lawn darts.

    I remember reading the "great brain" books (by john Fitzgerald) when I was a kid. They recounted stories about his childhood around the turn of the 20th century (1900) out near Salt Lake City with his brothers Sven and Tom, and they did even crazier stuff. I recount when they built their own rollercoaster in the backyard and would charge the kids in the neighborhood to ride it.... I think it was eventually taken down as a safety hazard. My dad grew up from 1940-1960 or so, and I know he was doing that stuff like running across train trestles when the train was coming (so they ended up jumping into the water to escape), and another time they'd falling through the ice when the river was frozen over.

    ----

    I think my dad must have valued exploration because he rarely intervened (although he was also wasted a lot -- doh -- and might not have realized EVERYTHING I was doing... the truth is somewhere in between most likely), and my mom just wanted me to be happy and wasn't good at imagining what I might get into so she never asked. One thing she did do was pay for swimming lessons, so that in case I ended up in the water, I wouldn't drown -- i've always been a decent swimmer.

    Anyway, there was a huge shift in safety mentality between my childhood and my adulthood. My mom used to leave me in the car when I was ten, windows down, reading a book for half an hour while she got groceries. I would have never done that with my kids. One difference is that there were few people back then in the area and everyone knew everyone else; my kids were raised in an urban area with lots of transients/strangers. But still. I think location plays a role in how safe one feels.

    I also do agree that the lawsuits against cities are one reason everything cracked down. The cities couldn't afford people suing them, so suddenly everything was a potential hazard. (But aside from the money, I think the parents (and then the cities) overreacted. SOmeone is always going to be hurt. You just have to make sure the hurts are small/temporary ones, versus permanently disabling, as much as you can. yet, still, even with car safety, we have car accidents; people die/are disabled every year in the tens of thousands in this country, but we don't stop driving.)

    Aside from the idea that people no longer knew everyone who their kids would be interacting with (or the parents of those kids), I think the way in which society changed also allowed for the possibility of kids trying to actively harm each other. Back when i was growing up and when my parents grew up, if a kid messed up another kid, the parents would give their kid the what-for; there was disipline, and kids were terrified of dad. I also know if I did something really stupid, my parents would hear about it and I'd have to deal with some fallout. So I took risks, sure, but I did think twice about some things. I do think the decline of parental authority has allowed kids to feel like they can do stuff to other kids without any repercussions; there's no final authority to act as another barrier so that kids can have more autonomy.

    But anyway, here, "The Land" facility actually sounds really nice. I like the way the supervisor said she is "loitering with intent." Have enough adults floating around on the edges to just keep an eye out, but in general staying away and letting the kids organize, and experiment, and explore. You don't want it to be dangerous enough where it's likely someone will be permanently hurt, but there has to be some risk involved. With my kids being older teens now (and even though I'm not there with them in the same house, they're actually out on their own a great deal, doing things anyway), it's interesting to see them exploring and reporting back in later. My eldest is in college and truly "away from home," and I really love hearing what he's discovered, what he's figuring out about life, what relationships he is building, what he is learning under his self-directed study and choices. If I gave him enough guidance early on that he feels comfortable in exploring while retaining enough common sense to properly assess risks he might take, then I feel like I did my job.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    Senior Member Snoopy22's Avatar
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    It strikes me that the job market plays a big role on kids not living on their own. I was living on my own at 17 (born in 64) during the Carter years, there were few jobs, but the services hired and you could squeak by on $140 a month.
    Good luck with that today.
    Just like every generation, you have your whiners, crybabies and the ones who are working at improving their situation. You seldom hear from or about the latter.

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    although I haven't called my mom in the past week and by day two she calls me to make sure I'm ok, so that's progress. Of course I call her about every day. Anyways she could be out of the country and I forgot about that.
    In no likes experiment.

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  10. #10
    Sweet Ocean Cloud SD45T-2's Avatar
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    A long read but totally worth it.
    1w2-6w5-3w2 so/sp

    "I took one those personality tests. It came back negative." - Dan Mintz

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