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Why over-protective parenting isn't a bad thing...

I recently shared a video on my Facebook page. It was all about how things were different when we were growing up - we played without any safety precautions, we ate without worrying about the ingredients, and we played out on our own until sunset. Even if the perspective of the video is decidedly American, many of the things shown in it are unthinkable for us today. (The video has since been removed from YouTube due to copyright issues, but you get the idea!)

Here are my thoughts on why our children are better off than we were:


Firstly, we are eating healthier. We have realised that those food labels mean something, and we are getting better at dissecting the ingredients in our packaged food. We know the difference between regular and organic farming. Yes, it's not always easy to eat healthy, but the important thing is that we are aware of a lot of things. We know some ingredients are good for us, and we can separate the natural from the artificial. Whenever we can, we choose the natural stuff.  I have literally seen some parents give cola to their babies at some point in my childhood. There was no discussion about what we ate as snacks. If we have chosen healthier lifestyles for our children, we are progressing, and we will see the results of our choices in the future.

Now, let's talk about safety. Yes, I don't want to send my kid to the playground looking like an army commando. Kids should be allowed to enjoy their childhood. They will fall, and that's okay. But who can argue against the importance of car seats and safety belts? Or for that matter, cycling helmets? Really, do we even need to debate it? It is not even a good idea to cross the parking lot with your toddler in a shopping trolley. I know of at least one case where it was fatal. Toy and furniture manufacturers are very careful about recalling unsafe products. Yay for consumer rights, because they only got stronger because somebody sued them!

As for this whole accusation of us being 'over-protective' - have you read the newspaper lately? It's an unsafe world out there. Apart from domestic crime, we also have terrorism to worry about. Maybe it wasn't really a safer world back in the 'good old days'. Maybe we never got to know about a lot of the crimes that actually happened. Maybe a lot of child abuse cases never got reported. Thankfully, we are more aware than ever about what can go wrong, and we can teach our kids to be alert. I don't see anything wrong with being over concerned about my child's safety. I'm happy that our children are safeguarded from predators and danger than a generation or two ago. Let's not about forget cyber crime, and how important it is for us to keep our eyes and ears open.


Another rue I have about the past is the education system. It's not a good thing that everybody had to study in the same class, whether they were capable of it or not. So many learning disorders went unnoticed because of this indifferent attitude. We still have a long way to go in terms of making education more holistic, especially in countries like India, but at least we are making a start. Support is being provided to children who need extra help, instead of punishing them for not catching up. I hope that we can make learning a truly wholesome experience for our children, rather than by following a rigid syllabus.

It's good that things have changed, and we are more involved in our children's lives. I am proud to be an over-concerned and over-protective parent!

What are the things you are doing differently for your children?


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28 comments

Adrianne Niall said...

I am teaching my children about the foods they should be eating. I definitely because we are sometimes to overprotective of our children but sometimes we are just smarter! Thanks for sharing!

Chai a Cup of Life said...

I am definitely an over protective parent in many ways. Even at the park I HAVE to see where my son is at all times even when he is 6. I see other mothers talking to each other and then they can't see that there kid has run away!!

Tarana Khan said...

Glad you agree, Adrianne. You are right about us being smarter!

Tarana Khan said...

I don't think I could leave my son out of my sight for long either!

Jenny Ripatti-Taylor said...

What a great post and you are so right on so many levels. I am definitely an overprotective parent. I worry if my kids don't have their five a day and a well freshly homemade balanced meals. It took me two years just to let my son have Burger King and it only happened once. I know I am crazy but they don't need it. Mostly because he has severe allergies too. But I would not let me kids play in the street alone like I did growing up. I will protect them when they are older on the internet because creeps on there scare the crap out of me. It's so hard to protect them from everyhting but I will die trying. I just hope that doesn't ever blow up in my face. Thank you so much for supporting me and my linky and linking up to Share With Me I love reading your blog and getting to know you better. #sharewithme

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

My mom was actually a pretty over-protective parent, so I parent at about the same level she did - because I found that it worked out well for me as a kid!

One of the things that I really appreciate that has changed since I was a kid is that schools are much better at accepting diversity and dealing with bullies.

pixiedusk said...

I am really scared to leave him with relatives. It took me some time to be able to leave him alone in his pre school. the news about people harming kids is just too much for me.

youre post is so bang on. we need to do this things to our kids and its not about being over protective its just us being us> parents.

#sharewithme

Tasneem Rajkotwala said...

I couldn't agree more! There were times when I used to wonder what is wrong with some people being so over protective to their children. But that was before I had Little A. After I had him, I was one of them! In the times we live in today, it is actually not wrong being over concerned which naturally come to us as being a parent. I have stayed with my older sister while both my parents worked but those situations were different, the society we lived in was safe and much better than what it is today. It's not that I stop him from doing anything or keep telling him no for doing certain things like climbing on a slide in a park or running around in our building . I just make sure that he is doing them in a safe environment and I am around him.

Tarana Khan said...

You do need to pay special attention because of the allergies. I think I'm like you because I'll die either worrying, or trying to keep him safe! It's been a pleasure connecting with you too.

Tarana Khan said...

My Dad was on the over-protective side, but my mom was quite the opposite! I am trying to find the right balance between the two styles.

Tarana Khan said...

Exactly, glad you agree!

Tarana Khan said...

That's how I am too. I don't care what people think - I'm going to take care of my son!

Peakle Pie said...

I try to not be too overprotective but there are times when I think it is good - when they are little for example. I try to give them the skills to cope with becoming more independent on me.....it is still hard though.

Nishana said...

Well written. Shall I tell you- My husband and I have been brought up in the two extremes. I was brought up as an independent child and he as over-protective. I often see him "losing hold of his confidence" because in his childhood he had been heard so much that "kids can't do it well, so we will do it for". There are loads of difference between safeguarding and overprotecting - I believe. Over protecting parents I see, never let their children try anything even when they are there to safeguard. I have seen my friends scared to death when their children help them in kitchen, or play with utensils fearing their head may bank onto and they might get hurt. I had a roommate during engineering days. Once she boiled a cup of tea and learning this her mum did not sleep the whole night, fearing what if she was burnt while boiling tea (she was 20 years old then!!).

I think the definition changes from people to people. I am a safeguarding mum, safe-guarding always, never over-protecting. I do encourage my daughter to try, be independent for the age and ignore the small pains of life while I stand with her and stand for her. I teach her the need of protecting herself, I do not leave her with others except in the trusted school... Yet, I help her stand on her feet, wherever she can!

Thanks for a brilliant write up!

#Po.Co.Lo

Michelle Ashmore said...

I totally agree. I can't imagine letting my kids do the things we did when we were younger or eat/drink the things we did. No one ever saw letting children drink coke as a problem but I've never let my children have it. They're not allowed to the shop everyday either to buy crisps and sweets the way I was and I certainly wouldn't let them go off for the day with their friends, not knowing at all where they were!
I'm happy being an over protective parent!

Izzie Anderton said...

I agree that we need to keep our kids safe and I'd never have allowed my 2 to do any of the stuff I used to as a child! However, it's also important to teach them to make decisions for themselves as they get older. My 2 are both at university now and this can be scary!

Tarana Khan said...

We do need to lead them to independence, of course, but only when they can handle it. I mean, there is only a certain amount of responsibility you can expect from say, a four year-old!

Tarana Khan said...

Very well said, Nishana! I am completely for letting children learn on their own and experience things for themselves. You shared some extreme cases, which thankfully, are rare! It is so important to find the right balance, and that is one of the challenges of parenting.

Tarana Khan said...

Me too! I used to eat a lot of junk as a kid, and I think I still have that bad habit now. I'm trying hard to eat healthy for my son's sake!

Tarana Khan said...

I agree, Izzie. It's crucial to teach them the life skills they need when they grow up.

Franglaise Mummy said...

I teach my children about what we eat, and why we need to eat different foods, and to eat healthily, but both Hubs and I were brought up that way already, so it's not too much of a shock to the system.
#BlogClub

Victoria Welton said...

What a great post - and so very, very true. I am much more aware about what Grace eats than I think my Mum was when I was little but I do have to say that I think Grace spends less time outside. I am starting to make sure that she is exercising more though and taking care of herself. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

Kate Williams said...

It's hard, I try not to be too overprotective as I think kids need to learn and explore but sadly through my husbands work I also know a lot of unsavory types which really concerns me.

Tarana Khan said...

That's a good thing. Healthy eating habits are so vital to kids.

Tarana Khan said...

I try to focus on going outside everyday if I can. At his age, my toddler needs it!

Tarana Khan said...

I believe kids should be allowed to explore too, as long as they are in a safe environment.

Katie Clark said...

I agree with a lot of what you say. I agree that we are eating better and that we should educate our children to eat right, but I don't consider that to be over-protective parenting. I agree completely about car seats, safety belts etc but I do think that it's really important that our children are given the freedom to play and explore outside, even if there is a risk of them falling and hurting themselves. That is how they learn self reliance, co-ordination and independence. Having said that, I am very over protective in other ways. I'm afraid I do disagree with you about the education system; I don't think it's changed at all and so many children still get missed because they learn differently which is a huge shame. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking post #sharewithme #pocolo

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks for sharing your perspective, Katie! I do believe that the education system has improved in many ways, though it is far from perfect. It also depends on where you are, and what style of education is followed there.

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