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What do you all think about this article?


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  • 1 Post By Quantum_Leap
  • 2 Post By Sassalota
  • 1 Post By ashj_1218
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  #1  
March 22nd, 2014, 12:15 AM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
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I came across this article recently and found myself agreeing with most of it: The Overprotected Kid - The Atlantic The basic thesis is that kids today are overly sheltered in their play. They don't get sufficient opportunity to play on their own, unsupervised by parents, and to engage in behavior that adults might consider risky (i.e. climbing trees, experimenting with fire, etc.). Because they're so sheltered, they grow up less confident in their own abilities, and they also feel driven to take more risks as teenagers because they have an evolutionary need to engage in risky behavior and they didn't get to fulfill it when they were young. I felt myself nodding as I was reading this, in part because the descriptions remind me so much of my childhood. I spent an enormous amount of time every summer throughout my childhood playing outside, with friends, unsupervised, engaging in behavior that could have easily gotten me killed. I loved every minute of it, and these remain some of my most cherished memories. I do want my kids to grow up having that same experience.

However, as much as I agree with the article, I'm having trouble reconciling it with my AP leanings. Here is a quote that jumped out at me:

Quote:
I used to puzzle over a particular statistic that routinely comes up in articles about time use: even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothersóand fathersóof all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to. This seemed impossible to me until recently, when I began to think about my own life. My mother didnít work all that much when I was younger, but she didnít spend vast amounts of time with me, either. She didnít arrange my playdates or drive me to swimming lessons or introduce me to cool music she liked. On weekdays after school she just expected me to show up for dinner; on weekends I barely saw her at all. I, on the other hand, might easily spend every waking Saturday hour with one if not all three of my children, taking one to a soccer game, the second to a theater program, the third to a friendís house, or just hanging out with them at home. When my daughter was about 10, my husband suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult. Not 10 minutes in 10 years.
I want my kids to have lots and lots of 'free range' time, to explore and grow in their own abilities, but I also want them to have a close and loving relationship with me. How do you reconcile these two desires? And how do you make any of it fit into the modern lifestyle, where it seems like danger lurks around every corner?

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. If nothing else, watch the video clip from the article. It's very compelling! The kids are very clearly totally immersed in the moment.
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  #2  
March 22nd, 2014, 07:44 PM
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I think you can do both. I read an AP article once that said you should never push your child to independence or that makes them clingy but when they seek it you should arrange yourself to "catch" them. So be their support but don't hover. I think it is good for them to have lots of free time but that doesn't mean you cant still have time together. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. That quote to me is classic baby boomer parenting. It seems like lots of people couldn't be bothered to change their lifestyle when they had kids. That is how I was raised. I was loved but I was very independent and pretty much raised myself. My mom wasn't nosey and I like that but at the same time to this day I yearn for a connection with her. On the flip side my DH parents were very nosey and still are and want to be involved all the time but they are always pushing themselves onto him and us and it makes us pull back. They invite themselves everywhere with us and we want our independence. So I think there is a balance and my answer is to the child lead. If they need you be there, if they need space, position yourself as the support but don't be nosey or overbearing. Just my opinion.
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  #3  
March 23rd, 2014, 08:14 PM
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That was very eloquent sassalota.
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  #4  
March 23rd, 2014, 10:06 PM
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I think it brings up some good points Quantum (can I say, I love that you bring really thought-provoking articles to this forum!). I am much like you, I find myself trying to balance my desire to monitor my child with his desire to climb on top of a ladder and then reach off to grab the edge of the ball-player thing (on the playground). And I'm watching him balance, his little body and knowing he is not the most coordinated child on earth, it takes EVERY ounce of my being not to rush in and tell him not to do that. Because he needs that experience. Even if he does fall (on packed dirt). He could bust out teeth, break an arm, get a concussion. My mama brain can't turn off. BUT, I am 100% with you in that I think we tend to hover nowadays. I don't know that my parents were uninvolved. I saw TONS of my folks. But I also spent HOURS running around in and around my neighbors backyards, I waded far-to-deep rivers. I played inside drainage tunnels. We chased cars on skateboards. And I have great memories of those things. And I'm sad that my kids might not have that same experience because we are overprotective of everything now. And are seen negatively as parents if we encourage those activities. Ya know? I DO think it's possible to reconcile AP with more free range parenting (I hate both terms!). I think connection doesn't need to be constant to be strong. I don't think it's as true in the early days. With babies and young toddler it's all about consistency and being there all the time is important. But as they age (I'm sure you are seeing it with your oldest, I am starting to), it's the quality, not as much quantity of time that is important. Connecting on a different level, while still allowing experimentation and independence. At least that is how I think it works. Going sledding together on a snow day. But then also allowing the kids to spend the afternoon making an ice rink and "skate" around with friends. I think it's important to let the peer relationship grow at a certain point. But I'm with you, it's a real balancing act. I need to put more solid thought into it, I do want my kids to have that young experimentation. Not only because it's likely to be more innocent , but it's not as negatively viewed in society. (My kid has probably never been unsupervised in his whole 4.5 years of life...I need to work on that. Send him out back alone sometimes or something!!)
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Last edited by ashj_1218; March 23rd, 2014 at 10:31 PM.
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  #5  
March 23rd, 2014, 10:14 PM
ashj_1218's Avatar Hiya!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassalota View Post
I think you can do both. I read an AP article once that said you should never push your child to independence or that makes them clingy but when they seek it you should arrange yourself to "catch" them. So be their support but don't hover. I think it is good for them to have lots of free time but that doesn't mean you cant still have time together. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. That quote to me is classic baby boomer parenting. It seems like lots of people couldn't be bothered to change their lifestyle when they had kids. That is how I was raised. I was loved but I was very independent and pretty much raised myself. My mom wasn't nosey and I like that but at the same time to this day I yearn for a connection with her. On the flip side my DH parents were very nosey and still are and want to be involved all the time but they are always pushing themselves onto him and us and it makes us pull back. They invite themselves everywhere with us and we want our independence. So I think there is a balance and my answer is to the child lead. If they need you be there, if they need space, position yourself as the support but don't be nosey or overbearing. Just my opinion.
What I'm taking away from the article is that our constant need to "catch" is problematic. We need to teach them to catch themselves. Not saying we aren't there to mend, but that we need to allow them the confidence that they can figure things out and even falling has its positive aspects. In terms of fostering self-reliance. As the kids get more and more daring, being willing to override the desire to "monitor" and walk away knowing something potentially dangerous could happen. It goes against our instincts. But, in lots of ways, our parents were doing something helpful...letting us run our own lives and figure out our own issues and being confident enough in our abilities that they didn't even check up on it
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  #6  
March 24th, 2014, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashj_1218 View Post
What I'm taking away from the article is that our constant need to "catch" is problematic. We need to teach them to catch themselves. Not saying we aren't there to mend, but that we need to allow them the confidence that they can figure things out and even falling has its positive aspects. In terms of fostering self-reliance. As the kids get more and more daring, being willing to override the desire to "monitor" and walk away knowing something potentially dangerous could happen. It goes against our instincts. But, in lots of ways, our parents were doing something helpful...letting us run our own lives and figure out our own issues and being confident enough in our abilities that they didn't even check up on it
I hear you. There is def some validity to your point. We all know so many people who had parent's who always bailed them out and they never grew up. I don't think AP means that at all. AP is about showing your child they are loved. That kid in the video was playing with a saw but he wasn't unsupervised. Why couldn't the supervision be the parent who lets them explore?

I know that is how I was raised. My mom never was in my business. She never knew what classes I took in school or what grades I got. She never set times for me to be home. She never gave me money. It was all you figure it out. I knew if I got in trouble, she would not bail me out. I knew if I wanted a car or to go to college, I had to get a job. I was seriously the most independent 18 year old and it helped. I had tons of work experience by the time I graduated. I put myself through school and was teaching college and own my owned home by the time I was 26. My mom never even knew what colleges I went to or what I studied. She just didn't want to be in my business and she thought I need to live my own life. That is how she was raised. I love that I got to do my own thing but I still yearn for a better connection. I wanted her to care what school I went to or what grades I got. I remember I got the lead in the school play and I told her and she never asked any further questions.

So I think there needs to be a balance. I think being there to "catch them" changes as they get older. Yeah when they are babies you are literally making sure they don't break their neck. I guess I was thinking of a book I read by Dr. Sears who says you shouldn't say no all the time like when they touch things when they are little. He says set up the environment to be all yes touches and then be there to catch them if they fall but don't hoover and say things like "be careful" because that can damper their confidence.

Then the same theory applies as they get older. You need to be aware of the environment the child is in but let them explore freely. If it is their backyard by all means let them run like crazy if you know nothing is there that can hurt them. If it is a public park with lots of other people, they may need you there to make sure they don't get kidnapped but you can sit on a bench far away and read a book.

As they get older you set up the yes touches in a healthy environment and let them explore freely. Do the go to public school??? If that is a yes for you then you let them be accountable to their teachers and peers. Don't micromanage their homework or friendships unless you find there is something there that is not "a yes touch".

I know I read in a charlotte mason book that with all the free exploring you need to set up check points. So let your child play all day but then have some routines that you are always involved in whether it is family meals, or bath time or bed time. Have a few throughout the day and that way you can see and talk to your child but don't micro manage them.

So yeah I think you need to let them live your own life but I don't think AP is all about letting your child run free or the other extreme like you are controlling everything. I think it is in the middle. I think you realize you and your child are on a journey together. Your travel mates. Be there for each other. Don't protect them from normal experiences unless they are not age appropriate.

Age appropriateness is huge. Studies show your moral compass is not in tack for many until they are 14, 16, even 21 years of age for some so you have to do things in context.

You are amazing if you are still reading this rant!!!!!

I was also going to mention what we all know that people who were overly protected from drinking like in the US tend to over drink verse people in france who drink at every meal just never see the need to binge.

The biggest thing is know your child and AP is the best way to do that.

So yeah what a great topic you started. So much fun to think about.
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Last edited by Sassalota; March 24th, 2014 at 01:00 PM.
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  #7  
March 24th, 2014, 09:13 PM
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I think we are all on the same page. I am realizing about myself that I am super-AP when it comes to babies, but much more free range-ish when it comes to older kids. I want to be there for them whenever they need me, but I don't want them to keep thinking that they need me after they no longer really do. At the end of the day, all of this is for THEM, not me. Being AP is not an end in itself. It is a means towards the goal of helping them grow into healthy, responsible, secure adults. As they grow older, they'll naturally become more and more independent and therefore need that attachment less and less. That's a good thing!I am just having trouble figuring out how and when to make that transition. My oldest is 5 years old now and my middle son is 2 1/2. They do play in the backyard by themselves almost every day, and guess what? They love it! My husband and I can still see them through the kitchen window as they play, and it turns out they fight/cry/squabble much less when we are not actively there hovering. Probably part of the reason they were doing it before was for the audience. BUT, they still often resist being asked to go outside to play. When they are already inside with us they tend to want to stay inside, but as soon as we can get them out the door, they are all excited about it and having fun. So, maybe they feel like they still need to be dependent on us, even though the reality is that they really don't. This is a hard transition for everybody.
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