Helicopter parents take note – there’s a new book out that just might rattle your flight pattern. It’s called, Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), and although I haven’t read it yet, I hope I’m not too late to learn a few things before my oldest daughter graduates next month. I found out about it from an article on The Atlantic’s website.
I think we’re all a little guilty of being too strict with our kids but it’s for their own good, right? Maybe it is, but as the book ponders, it might turn them into adults without confidence or a sense of adventure.
Maybe this is a societal problem in general. Maybe we’ve become to PC or safety conscious and it is stifling independence and creative problem solving. It’s one thing to be safe but are we going too far? When I was a kid, we didn’t wear bike helmets, sit in car seats, or in the back seat of the car for the matter. We walked to school, explored the woods with pocket knives, climbed trees – and I’m still alive and so are all of my friends. A few bumps and scrapes might still be visible after all this time but they’re worn as badges of honor that accompany great stories that have been told many times over the years.
We’ve been permissive enough to allow our children to grow up, solve problems, and be independent while remaining safe. But did we go far enough in either direction? I don’t know. Hopefully Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) will shed some light.
It isn’t easy being a parent, especially a permissive one. The world has become so competitive and it sometimes “feels” like it has become awfully dangerous. With sexual predators, Amber Alerts, kidnappings, bullying, and school shootings, it’s no wonder we as parents have clammed-up.
You feel like time stands still for 17 years and there’s plenty of time to teach your kids about being an adult, living independently and surviving on their own. But it doesn’t sink in that they’ll be leaving until the last semester of high school. That’s when the real panic sets in. Where did the time go? Did I teach them enough? How will they survive without me? Can they make it alone?
And in an instant you feel like a failure for not being a better parent. For not being better at preparing them for life. For coddling them and treating them like children as they grew up right in front of you without noticing the change.
As a parent your gut tells you one thing but common sense and other parents say otherwise. In the end, you have to stick with what feels right for them and throw in a dose of what you went through when you were their age. Hopefully, Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) aren’t so dangerous after all.