Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “over-parenting”

School bans balls….Next, children

Because that’s what this is really all about, isn’t it?  Adults don’t want children around with their shouting, and running, and interrupting, and growing-up-and-paying-taxes-to-support-the-welfare-state.  Children should now all now be girls, who sit at tables and colour nice little pictures of all the damage human beings do to Earth.  Banning things you play with from a playground, is like banning liquor from a bar.  Oh sure, you can just sit around and talk, nibbling on deep fried chicken wings, but what’s the point?  The point is that whoever is doing the banning doesn’t want bars and their patrons, to exist.  Sort of got to wonder what’s going on in the minds of these Administrators…..

Anyone around my age (41) remembers all the super-dangerous toys we played with.  Things like cap guns, lawn darts, flimsy 4′ above ground pools, bikes without helmets, un-cut up hot dogs.  The only kids with any sort of padding were on a hockey rink (maybe.)  I don’t remember any concussions from a soccer ball.  I didn’t even know a soccer ball was hard enough to give you a concussion.  Could it be (no don’t say it) that maybe, not letting kids play is actually making then less safe, because they don’t know what they are doing?

And when did it become a crime to act like a kid, or more specifically a kid who’s a boy?  To run, jump, and take chances.  There is a reason that more and more people are trying, when they have kids, to have girls.  We like sit down, talk it out, get good marks, relationship minded ,”girlness.”  Hey — I’ve got five girls and I love them dearly, but I can also see that my Big Boy is getting a raw deal.  Like in Kindergarten, when 4 year olds are expected to sit immobile while listening to stories (hey — former porn stars don’t have time to sit through your kids’ fidgeting.)  Like is an emphasis on safety at all cost in the slowed down slides and imagination play stations at the park.  The characterizing of toy guns and other play that involves good and bad guys as anti-social, and imagining that it is an unnatural invention of a war-like culture.   I know girls, and girls love to get in a big group and talk out a pecking order.  Boys just want to take it outside.

This ball ban will probably be overturned, now that everyone is squawking about it.  It’s the attitudes behind it that make me crazy, (like don’t let your kid walk alone anywhere.)  Childhood is a fundamentally normal stage of human development.  Stop treating it like a prison sentence.



Let the children go

My eldest is bummed out.  And I don’t blame her.  Now that she is ten, we told her that she could go Trick-or-Treating in our uber-safe, well-lit, child-friendly neighbourhood with a group of her friends.  She was so excited.   At school she asked all her friends if they could go.  They all live nearby.  They were all responsible, good kids.  But no….not even with a parent tagging along.

This really makes me sad.

Most kids I see are so cloistered, you’d think they were in an invisible compound.  I sometimes think those few terrible, evil child-snatchers have committed the additional crime of convincing parents that they need to steal their children’s freedoms to keep them safe.  But what is the cost of their safety?  So many kids are never without an adult supervising them.  They go from car to school, to car, to after-school activity, to dinner, to after-dinner activity, to bed, day after day after day.  They never get a chance to try out the skills they need to be successful adults for themselves.

If anything I think this is making our kids un-safer.  Case in point:  I sent my older girls to the convenience store down the road to buy some kind of treat.  I gave the 8 year old at $20 bill.  Back they came, and all I can say is thank God for honest store clerks.  “Did you have enough money?”  I asked.

“Yeah, but she kept giving me money back.  I tried to shove it toward her, but she just kept pushing it back.”  Yep you guessed it — it was the change.

Just stop and consider if by over-protecting our kids from a few, rare bad things, we are actually exposing them to a lot more common bad things in the future.  Those who work with young people today complain constantly:  they lack initiative, they require incessant direction and praise, they are stunningly self-entitled.  Young people are so narcissistic that psychiatrists are considering it the new “normal,” and contemplating not treating it anymore.  But if every activity you were involved in ended with a trophy, if adults mediated and supervised most of your personal relationships, and if you were protected from the world of hard-knocks way too long, how would you be any different?

If allowing my tween to walk with a group on a well-lit sidewalk, surrounded by other kids and adults, in a safe neighbourhood where nearly everyone is home and answering their door, makes me a Bad Mother, then so be it.  Childhood is not a prison sentence.

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