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Gingersnap
04-15-2011, 10:11 AM
Are parents overprotecting their kids?
By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY


Hannah Zelinger just gave her doll collection to her 3-year-old cousin and now Hannah's bedroom in Long Beach, N.Y., is going from all pink to a black-and-white geometric design that's more mature.

After all, she's 9. And by today's standards, she's leaving childhood behind.

"At 3, 4, 5 and 6, they're playing with toys and dolls and puppet shows and crafts. It stops at 7. After that, they kind of skip into tween," says Hannah's mother, Jennifer Zelinger. "She talks about boys asking them out and who's going to like them."

Zelinger says Hannah wants some independence. But as a mother, Zelinger says, she's so torn about that idea that when Hannah rides her bicycle around the block to see a friend, the moms are on the phone for the entire journey.

"We're actually monitoring how long it takes and checking in, and I think it's sad," Zelinger, 46, says. "I want her to have that freedom, but the stories that I hear I would never live with myself if anything happened."

Today's kids may never know the no-cares time of innocence, exploration and imagination that their parents recall about childhood.

Many parents rarely let their kids roam the neighborhood, use public transportation or walk to school alone. Play and sports are organized into play dates and teams, and extracurricular activities eat up kids' free time. Hannah's schedule at one point included Hebrew classes, ceramics, gymnastics, Zumba, trapeze and softball.

Even the lazy days of summer aren't so slow anymore, with many kids in structured camp programs, often focused on academics.

The cost, some analysts say, is not just rising concern that kids won't look back fondly on their childhoods. Analysts say there are increasing signs that a lack of independence fuels stress, anxiety and depression among young people. Many child-development specialists and others worry that it's just not as much fun to be a kid anymore.

Read the whole thing. This has far-reaching implications for everybody's future. If kids never experience risk or consequences, what kind of adults will they become? Worse yet, how fearful and paranoid will they become and how will that shape their view of intrusive (but "protective") government intervention? :eek:

USA Today (http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/story/2011/04/Are-parents-overprotecting-their-kids/46135302/1)

Novaheart
04-15-2011, 11:11 AM
When I was 5 I could "roam freely" meaning that I was allowed to go anywhere that didn't involve crossing a paved road. This was an edge of a rural area where it gave way to the fringes of a small town. There corn and soy bean fields, and about ten houses. I can still name everyone who lived in those houses.

Even though we now live in a town as small as my hometown was then, law abiding people simply do not have the degree of control we once did. When I was a kid, if some vagabond had been "hanging out" my mother would have gone over and told he had no business there and to move on. She would not do that now.

noonwitch
04-15-2011, 11:36 AM
I had pretty much free range of my suburban neighborhood as a kid. I probably had more freedom as an elementary aged kid than I did as a teenager. As long as I didn't ride my bike on a main street, my parents didn't really care where I was headed.

I can understand the parents calling to make sure their bike-riding kids make it to their destinations, though, in this day and age. It's a dangerous world out there.

Gingersnap
04-15-2011, 11:42 AM
When I was 5 I could "roam freely" meaning that I was allowed to go anywhere that didn't involve crossing a paved road. This was an edge of a rural area where it gave way to the fringes of a small town. There corn and soy bean fields, and about ten houses. I can still name everyone who lived in those houses.

Even though we now live in a town as small as my hometown was then, law abiding people simply do not have the degree of control we once did. When I was a kid, if some vagabond had been "hanging out" my mother would have gone over and told he had no business there and to move on. She would not do that now.

Certainly adults (all adults - not just parents) were much more watchful over all kids at the same time they were more lenient in terms of safety or risk. I think statistically we have fewer abductions and attacks on children today than we had 30 years ago, though.

One thing that has changed is the way parents view risk. Today, parents act as though they are responsible for every single act or choice that a child makes. Thirty years ago parents did their best to instill values and commonsense in children but they believed that children also made independent (and sometimes bad) choices.

pyackog
04-15-2011, 02:32 PM
Certainly adults (all adults - not just parents) were much more watchful over all kids at the same time they were more lenient in terms of safety or risk. I think statistically we have fewer abductions and attacks on children today than we had 30 years ago, though.

One thing that has changed is the way parents view risk. Today, parents act as though they are responsible for every single act or choice that a child makes. Thirty years ago parents did their best to instill values and commonsense in children but they believed that children also made independent (and sometimes bad) choices.

Amen. I don't think the world is more dangerous then when we were kids...the perception is that it is more dangerous as or society becomes more coddling each generation. Things I did when I was young, I'm afraid to let my kids do which is just as well because I would have DFACS called on me if I did!

fettpett
04-15-2011, 02:56 PM
I let my kids go outside and only check on them every once in a while to make sure they aren't doing stuff I don't want them too, like digging in my yard, only reason my 3 year old can't is because our front door is like 50' from a busy road and I don't trust the older two enough to keep her out of it.

When I was a kid, as soon as i learned to ride a bike I was ALLL over town, rarely telling my parents were i was going and when I'd be back. Hell my mom was more worried about where I was after I turned 18 than she was when I was 15.

Gingersnap
04-15-2011, 08:42 PM
I let my kids go outside and only check on them every once in a while to make sure they aren't doing stuff I don't want them too, like digging in my yard, only reason my 3 year old can't is because our front door is like 50' from a busy road and I don't trust the older two enough to keep her out of it.

When I was a kid, as soon as i learned to ride a bike I was ALLL over town, rarely telling my parents were i was going and when I'd be back. Hell my mom was more worried about where I was after I turned 18 than she was when I was 15.

Will you let your own kids zip around town on bikes? It was normal for us to be long gone and unreachable from the time we finished our chores on Saturday morning until dark. :)

fettpett
04-15-2011, 08:56 PM
Will you let your own kids zip around town on bikes? It was normal for us to be long gone and unreachable from the time we finished our chores on Saturday morning until dark. :)

yeah, I wouldn't have a problem with the town that I currently live in though I wouldn't let them ride in by themselves for a while, it's about 3-5 miles on a busy highway away

MrsSmith
04-15-2011, 09:57 PM
Certainly adults (all adults - not just parents) were much more watchful over all kids at the same time they were more lenient in terms of safety or risk. I think statistically we have fewer abductions and attacks on children today than we had 30 years ago, though.

One thing that has changed is the way parents view risk. Today, parents act as though they are responsible for every single act or choice that a child makes. Thirty years ago parents did their best to instill values and commonsense in children but they believed that children also made independent (and sometimes bad) choices.

Today's parents read articles about parents going to jail when a kid plays hooky, being arrested for swatting a kid, and having social services breathing down their neck for any other "neglect." Society acts as though we are responsible for every action or choice our kids make. I've even had school personnel tell me that one of my children didn't learn to read well because I was a single mother! It's tough to let your kids make "their own" mistakes in a climate like this!

Gingersnap
04-15-2011, 10:04 PM
Today's parents read articles about parents going to jail when a kid plays hooky, being arrested for swatting a kid, and having social services breathing down their neck for any other "neglect." Society acts as though we are responsible for every action or choice our kids make. I've even had school personnel tell me that one of my children didn't learn to read well because I was a single mother! It's tough to let your kids make "their own" mistakes in a climate like this!

It is but it's probably still a better choice. :(

MrsSmith
04-15-2011, 10:08 PM
It is but it's probably still a better choice. :(

Yeah, when it's possible. I can only imagine what would have happened to my kids if I'd left them alone all day for 2 weeks when the oldest was 10.

Gingersnap
04-15-2011, 11:00 PM
Yeah, when it's possible. I can only imagine what would have happened to my kids if I'd left them alone all day for 2 weeks when the oldest was 10.

It would depend on your situation. I was babysitting alone at 10. That was pretty normal for where I grew up. I wasn't doing it for 4 hours at a stretch at that age but I was good for an hour or two. I was doing it for 4 hours at 12. Nothing bad happened to them or me. ;)

MrsSmith
04-15-2011, 11:03 PM
It would depend on your situation. I was babysitting alone at 10. That was pretty normal for where I grew up. I wasn't doing it for 4 hours at a stretch at that age but I was good for an hour or two. I was doing it for 4 hours at 12. Nothing bad happened to them or me. ;)

Oh, I meant if I'd been caught. The minimum babysitting age is 14, and that's only if they've taken a class. If I'd left mine when the oldest was 10, likely they'd have been hauled off to foster care.

Gingersnap
04-15-2011, 11:05 PM
Oh, I meant if I'd been caught. The minimum babysitting age is 14, and that's only if they've taken a class. If I'd left mine when the oldest was 10, likely they'd have been hauled off to foster care.

Under contemporary standards, we all would be. :p

noonwitch
04-18-2011, 08:58 AM
Yeah, when it's possible. I can only imagine what would have happened to my kids if I'd left them alone all day for 2 weeks when the oldest was 10.


My parents did it every summer, starting about when my older brother was 10. It was not the best plan. 10 year olds are too young to be responsible for themselves, and adding on the additional responsibility of supervising 8 and 6 year old siblings is not fair to any of them.


Incidentally, my mom totally denies that this was the case, now. She says she hired a babysitter. Borderlines start to believe their own lies after a while, so she probably has convinced herself by now. During that same time frame, they still hired a babysitter to watch us when they went out at night.