A Window into Life in the Suburbs


"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Are modern parents overprotective?

It's a pity that this article from The Australian can't be more widely accessed but it raises some interesting questions about modern parenting.

Cassandra Wilkinson in praise of danger:
THE free and bountiful country we enjoy today was built by people who weren’t afraid to get dirty, hurt or disappointed. But as a society, we have been legislating against our natural appetite for risk as if the world no longer needed bravery, adventure or ambition.
I often hear people say, “I don’t want to live in a country that doesn’t make things any more.” I don’t want to live in a country that doesn’t break things any more…
Last year the 1.2m plastic slippery dip was closed at my son’s school because of safety concerns… Looking into the facts on behalf of my son, I realised that slippery dips are not the only symbols of my childhood being consigned to the recycling bin of history. Trampolines, skates and bicycles are increasingly regulated, and solitude, adventure and danger are as foreign to many kids now as adult supervision was to my peers.

There are good reasons to worry that we have got the balance wrong for today’s kids. The victory of caution over common sense not only takes the fun out of childhood; it’s taking the bravery and responsibility out of adulthood.
By this definition, I suppose I used to be one of those overcautious types. I recall with great clarity that when my eldest was about 5 or 6, I took her to Southbank for a get-together with my students. While my back was turned, she started rolling around the slopes with somebody else's children and I started chastising her in a disapproving manner... ie. freaking out. The father of said children took me to task, in a half-scolding, half-mocking fashion, suggesting that I needed to... erm... take the chill pill. His wife, bless her heart, gave him the evil eye.

I have come to see that perhaps I was a bit overprotectve because I was brought up in a different cultural context. And maybe more than a little fastidious about cleanliness.

Are we too protective?

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