Kids Bounce!

A friend has kindly permitted me to re-post a comment from another site:

Kids bounce. Most everything I can do today is because my parents were wise enough to set wide limits for exploration rather than setting limits to exclude it because it was dangerous.

Could some of it been dangerous or even deadly? Yep. Is …not having the experience and skill to assess risk in everyday situations dangerous or even deadly? Absolutely.

I can’t help but wonder whether helicopter parenting is much more about the fears and insecurities of the parents that the safety of their children and effectively greedy. There is nothing wrong about trying to avoid risk for your children, but there IS something wrong about putting that almost unthinkingly above the development of your children. I understand that is unlikely to be a popular opinion 🙂

Most kids seemed to survive childhood with far less limitation than seems common today. The argument seem to be that conditions today are so much more dangerous than they were – but the main differences seem to be that we hear about more dangers without any sort of critical thinking being applied than there really are more dangers, and that being an overly controlling parent is not seen as being kooky but actually seen as ‘caring’.

Applied to a dog it would be caring – for a parent it would seem to be a crime against the next generation. In an information society an inability to explore and learn independently is a death sentence.

Still I have a bias here – I care about living in a world where people are intelligent, self-responsible, and rational rather than securing the absolute safety of a single child.

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About Julie Rudner

With great excitement for the adventure we were about to go on, my mother would shout out, "We're off to see the Wizard"! It didn't matter if we were going to the shops for milk, the museum or a holiday. My mum focused on the joy of the everyday, knowing that if we engaged with life, we would always find something new and positive. With great animation my dad would explain the workings of things and how to pull things apart, put them back together, and if the situation called for it, make something new. My sister and I were taught to evaluate situations, make our decisions, and reap the consequences (both good and bad). We were encouraged to push our boundaries and not let fear prevent us from pursuing our dreams. Importantly, we learned to pick ourselves up, learn from our 'failures', and use our valuable lessons to build our confidence, independence and strength in ourselves.
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2 Responses to Kids Bounce!

  1. Julie Rudner says:

    And the response from another: Nicely put. I think the key is to manage the risk not the child. If you see a risk, then help the child to understand and deal with it – that way they develop an understanding of risk & hazard recognition and learn how to mitigate ri…sks and avoid hazards. This is basically how Scouts works and one of the (many) reasons I undertake to be a leader – because I see the same problems you do with kids of today’s generation. It was not uncommon for me to vanish for a day or so at a time when I was a kid. At the age of 12 I was travelling into the city afterschool (a bus and train ride). Didn’t kill me. It meant that when I finally left high school and went to uni right in the CBD that it didn’t worry me a bit.

  2. Chris N says:

    Dear Ms Rudner,

    Thanks so much for your article – it really speaks to so many parents out there in society, where ‘fear’ has replaced ‘responsibility’, when it comes to parental management of children.

    One thing which your article didn’t touch on, which I think is every bit as ‘cloistering’ even ‘damaging’, as the physical aspects of such behaviour by parents and our community, is in the ‘dumbing-down’ of our education system to moderate curricula to the point of degradation of knowledge and information. I think it’s because educators thought that aspects of the syllabus were too difficult for children and have to be brought back to meet parental expectations, so that success can be achieved by as many children as possible at school.

    Children are regularly told by both parents and teachers that many things are beyond them. My experience is in music education, where children (those that even get the opportunity) are given such easy music to learn to play and are told that certain things are beyond their capability – “too difficult” – reinforcing the message that they are likely to fail if they try to do difficult things. One of my favourite quotes comes from a movie about Beethoven – “Difficult is good. Difficult is Beautiful. Difficult is closer to the truth…”, says Beethoven.

    If children are not exposed to difficulty and failure, they will too, become dumbed-down, and fear difficulty – and far less likely to achieve excellence.

    And yet, in far off Venezuela, 250,000 children are given difficult instruments like violins, trumpets and oboes and asked to play Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich and they snap it up, revel in being given such challenging music and they return ten-fold with effort and great musical and personal results
    ( http://www.fesnojiv.gob.ve/en/el-sistema ).

    Similar things are happening in subjects like English in schools, where no, no English grammar is taught in schools. Why?

    Anyway, I just thought I’d write and mention another aspect of this cloistering of young Australians.

    All the best

    Chris

    Christopher A Nicholls
    Director
    Sistema Australia Inc.

    Office: PO Box 4240 Manuka ACT 2603, Australia
    P: +61 (0)2 6495 1093
    M: +61 (0) 418 487322
    E: chrisn@sistemaaustralia.com.au
    W: http://www.sistemaaustralia.com.au

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