One of the most stressful parts of parenting to me is knowing when (and when not) to protect my kids. I do my very best to give them their freedom and they love it when I do. At ages 2 and 4, it’s already obvious they don’t want to be hovered over. It’s good though. I want them to have the freedom to make mistakes, get bumps and bruises and learn to make decisions. I want them to make friends, and talk about Spiderman and dirt and farts (and whatever else 4 year old boys talk about) without me listening in on their every word.
In fact, just the other night at a party, my son came running out of the bounce house to me. He said.. and I quote… “Mom, all the boys in there are really wrestling and having fun. I know it’s not nice to push each other, but I really want to.” Judge away, but I told him to go for it. I think the fun and adventure with boys his age is worth the risk of a black eye or even a broken arm.
But then there is the other side of protecting your kids. The side where this world is a crazy place and people are just plain cruel. Please please please do yourself a favor and read this post from Matt Walsh. Here’s a snipet…
It often works differently nowadays. We shield kids from the difficult things. We run from anything that might carry with it the slightest suggestion of death or finitude. We don’t even let kids watch war movies or play with toy guns. We feel squeamish about bringing them to grandma’s funeral. We certainly don’t make them work or sweat or earn anything — in fact, the law forbids it. They aren’t given any real responsibilities; no weight is put on their shoulders, figuratively or literally. They are protected from the challenges of Real Life, and sometimes they stay in that protective cocoon well into their 30′s.
Yet, we haven’t succeeded in protecting their innocence. More than 50 percent of all children are exposed to hardcore pornography before the age of eleven. Eleven. By thirteen, the vast majority have seen it; many of them are full-on addicts. Meanwhile, schools are giving kids condom demonstrations, and the FDA is making sure your 15 year old daughter can get her hands on the Morning After Pill without your consent. Everywhere your child turns, he is assaulted with sex, perversion and nihilism. Your 12 year old son can sit at a computer, open a browser, punch in a few key words, and plunge right into a world of depravity, debauchery and darkness.
I’ve re-read this article 3 times with a heavy heart, but I’m thankful for the reminder that I owe no-one an excuse for wanting to protect my kids.