Do we shelter our children too much?
Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:46 PM
I am glad for the opportunities I had to get into trouble as a kid when the consequences were less serious and I had (direct) family support. I think my parents did a pretty amazing job of letting go of the reigns a little at a time (at the right times) to let me learn from mistakes and become more independent.
I had many friends who were far more restricted than I was and they were always the ones that were more likely to rebel (correlation is not causation... their parents may well have restricted them harshly because they hadn't shown they could be trusted)
In any event I think it is a great disservice to put children in the position of utter shock when they get out into the adult world.
Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:41 PM
Many kids (not even most, but many) from the super strict families seemed the ones more prone to rebellion and trouble.
Many kids from the very lenient families also seemed to wind up in a lot of trouble.
Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?
Posted 03 March 2014 - 10:31 PM
I agree, great points so far everyone. I think a lot of parents struggle with the concept of letting their children spread their wings. In Kate's example, she will not be allowed to have a boyfriend or date until she moves out of the house.
There's also a dynamic here where the daughter is a very timid personality that ascerbates the situation.
My parents were very strict. But, my personality is far from timid. I defied my parents unreasonable (to me) rules and blazed a trail for my sister. Interestingly, my sister is the timid one. But, because I was always in trouble, she can get away with anything because it doesn't make a splash in my parents' radar. Nothing she does is ever close enough to my antics. I am fairly certain things would have been very different for her if she was the only child.
But, even with my defiance, my parents' rules are always there in my mind. So, yes, I do things like fly off to America and such but I can hear my mom shouting in my ear when I get close to dangerous things - like getting on with friends doing drugs and such.
Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:22 AM
Kate* is 18 years old and ready to go to college but is she ready? I have been working with her for the two months. She deals weekly with severe anxiety attacks due to overwhelming parents who microscope her every move and want to ensure that she doesn't do anything "wrong".
Kate is a nice child, she performs very well in school, very eloquent for her age and is respectful and caring, she gives no indication of having any sort of behavioral issues but she is socially awkward due to the fact that she is not given the opportunity to socialize with her peers outside school hours.
She is not allowed to visit her friends at their home or invite them over to her house. Her parents are religious zealots and the only entertainment she is allowed to have is an old phone that the parents ensure to check on a daily basis for unwanted messages from "boys". Kate is also obese and has a very low self esteem.
The parents justify their position saying that they care about her and they do not want her to be like the rest of teenagers, drinking, using drugs and having sex. They believe they are protecting their daughter from all the dangers this world has to offer. Little they seem to realize that in a few months, Kate will go to college and her parents are not going to be there to "protect" her. One of the last things she told me a few weeks ago is that she is afraid to go because she does not know how to act around people( because she was never given the chance before), she is also afraid to become pregnant even though she is a virgin and has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she does not know how to think for herself since her parents do all the thinking for her.
My question is: Can sheltering your children too much become somehow a form of abuse? How do you personally recognize if you are sheltering them to that point?
*not her real name
Based on "Kate"... Yes! What her parents did was not sheltering. It was an abuse of sorts because they didn't allow her to grow. Our children come with their agency. Anything we, as parents, do to try to take their agency away is a sin ...Plain and simple.
Parents cannot remove agency. Children either do what "Kate" did in your description or they rebel. As parents its our job to teach our children to live in this world. They have to be allowed to make mistakes when they are young and parents are in control of the circumstances/consequences to a degree, because sheltering your children from their mistakes makes their life very hard as adults, when society will decide the consequences of their mistakes.
I'm not sure parents who are sheltering their children to the point you're describing will realize their mistake until its pointed out to them, and maybe not even then. Likely, they will think "we're the parents and know what's best." Forgetting that only Heavenly Father knows best.
How do I personally know? Well my kids weren't submissive like "Kate". LOL They grabbed hold of their agency and the fight was on. I learned with my oldest a very important lesson. Its a Sin to try to take a child's agency from them. I did better with the 3 younger children.
When my kids were in high school and on the swim team I had a conversation with another Swim Mom (also LDS, married the temple, etc.) At one point in the conversation she said "I don't remember voting for agency in the War in Heaven." And she meant it. She didn't believe her children should be allowed their agency. I was speechless. "Allowed their agency"? Like we as mere mortals have the ability to take a God-given gift away.
"Kate's" parents have made life harder for their daughter. That doesn't mean she can't learn now though.
Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:51 AM
I have hope for Kate due to the fact that even though she expresses all these thoughts like it is a natural occurrence, she knows it is far from normal and is determined to learn social skills and deal with her personal issues. Her parents by the other hand are not willing.
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