Child Protection: Overprotective parents

by Justanopinion

Overprotective or 'Helicopter' parent - Are you one of those?

Child protection is something we should all take seriously, no doubt about that but... At what point do you cross the line into being an over protective parent? What does that even mean now?

We all look back with fond memories of a childhood spent exploring the meadows, playing with schoolmates in the nearby local park, being gone for ages as you discovered the world away from your parent's watchful glaze.

Now, you are the parent and your children are never outside of the house and if they go to the park, you are right there with them. If you are lucky, you have a friend with you for the mind-numbingly boring time you spend keeping the children (who are content to play by themselves) company. (Did that sentence make sense?)

Is that overprotective?

Physical Child Protection

Reading through this article about how a parent can actually cause damage to a child by attempting to come down a slide with them made me laugh somewhat and think...

Why do we do these things?  A child can learn to come down a slide by themselves by the time they are 15 months - I know because I have one that does just that with slides about 10 times her height.  So why then do we stifle their development in the name of child protection.  I sometimes think we stunt our children because we try to do everything for them and so they never really learn the consequences of their choices. 

No, I do not want them to burn their hands to a crisp so they learn that the stove is hot but sometimes it is the only way to learn. 

We use stair gates and some would want us to use helmets on our two year olds all the time in case they bump their head. There are even implants that can tell us where our kids are all the time. Car seats, cupboard locks, electric socket covers and more - all designed with child protection in mind.  We forget our parents did not have all this stuff and most of us made the transition to adulthood with most of our limbs intact.

I wonder what the statistics look like with regards to accidents in the home now against 30 years ago?

The other Physical protection

We all know why we are too nervous about letting them go to the park on their own - Its the friendly neighbourhood child abductor or possibly the friendly local government child protection agency.

I still remember watching an episode of Judge Judy where she tells off a mother for allowing her children to play outside the house on their own! According to the Judge, if you have outside kids, you need to become an outside Mom.  I had no children then and I thought that was a bit silly.  Why can't children play outside their own home on their own?  No, we do not want them to get up to mischief but they can be trained to avoid that, surely!

Here is an article of a family being threatened with all manner of government intervention if they did not desist from allowing their child to cross the road on her own under the watchful eye of her mother to the bus stop on her way to school.  How on earth will the children learn to cross the road if we do not let them do it themselves?  More importantly, a mother is more likely to know when her child is ready to learn these lessons than an anonymous government worker.  Thankfully the government backed down.  Here is another article on the same issue.

In terms of the local child abuser, how many of us have actually had it happen to us or someone we actually know?  I would almost certainly say, hardly anyone.  And yet we all live in fear of this happening to our kids.

Am I about to let my kids go to the park on their own?  Nope.  I definitely do not want to be that statistic.

And so the fear continues!

Do you actually know someone who has suffered from the abduction and/or abuse of a child?

Not just hearsay or 'friend of a friend'.

The Irony of Child Protection

Coming to my final thought on this issue for now, I am struck by the need to protect our kids from these potential dangers  while sending them out to a place where the danger is actual.

How many of us were bullied at school?

Were you bullied at school? Are your children?

I would say that this number is more significant and more likely to be almost everyone.  Yet, we send our children to school even if they are screaming and crying about it.  Somehow, that form of abuse is not covered by our need for child protection.

In the UK, there was a story that caused a lot of upset all over the country as we were informed of a nursery school worker abusing the tiny toddlers under her care.  How horrendous is that but still we take our children to nursery. 

We need to work and bring in an income or we need our sanity, don't we?

I suppose as long as they are safe while at home and we are sane and in the money, we have been as protective of our children as we need to be. Right?

Do you have something to say?


Updated: 05/04/2012, Justanopinion
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