Article: The overprotected child

Article: The overprotected child

How many of you would let your 5 year old play with fire? Use a knife? Fascinating, and amazing as we look back on what we have lost. Read every word, and weep. (via The Atlantic).



10 thoughts on “Article: The overprotected child

  1. What a thought provoking article; I am amazed the same craziness happens across the water (and then again, maybe not). I am especially struck by the ironic headline about playgrounds being “…safe, and that’s why nobody uses them.”

    Yep, gone are the days boys play “rough and tumble” and “kill the guy with the ball”. Our litigious overprotective parents (spurred mostly by predatory lawyers and kidnap-happy CPS departments) have turned America into a Nation of Sissies indeed. Sad.


    1. I thought the research into the different kinds of risk taking behaviors in children was enlightening– no matter what we have tried to do as parents, children will always engage in risktaking. It’s essential to being a child.


  2. Oh don’t even get me started. I just posted a rant on my facebook page about this- today at the park a lady tried to tell a whole bunch of kids (mine included) that their play was too dangerous and they were simply not allowed to continue. These were kids in the 8-12 range, playing around a small creek.
    I’m pretty relaxed with my kids, but it’s not easy because adults feel pretty free to comment on what kids are doing, even when they would never comment on what an adult is doing. Many people simply don’t like to see kids playing like kids, it makes them uncomfortable or something.


    1. I believe it. There was an … incident… on a cub scout trip we participated in where one of the parents did not approve of the amount of adult non-supervision that was occuring.


  3. If we continue to shelter our children from all things potentially dangerous, we will have a generation of idiots to look after us in our golden years. Reaping what we sow.

    I work for a railroad that has banned any use of a knife. You should see the reaction I get when (mockingly) during a retirement celebration I remind my coworker that they can not use a knife to cut the retiree’s cake. There is actually a moment of hesitation as they begin to go through their mental list of items that would be a good substitute for a knife. That’s the moment I take the knife and cut the cake.


  4. Haven’t read it yet, but I have to answer your questions. I let BoyGenius play with fire, I started teaching him when he was 4 or 5. We have a real fireplace, so does Oma. When we camp we have fires, at the cottage we have fires. He’s got to know how to work it safely. When he was 5 he started “helping” in the kitchen (that lasted maybe a year!) and one of the first things he wanted to do was cut stuff. Same thing, here’s the knife, here’s how you hold it, here’s where you put your fingers.

    I was just discussing this with my spouse the other day, telling her how when we were kids, from about 7 or 8 years old, we cut the grass and helped my dad split wood and at 10 he taught us how to use a chainsaw. It was learning, it was fun and it was helping get stuff done. She feels we need to be more careful, and that our 10year old is much too young to use the lawn mower. Good grief!!

    I’ll probably have more to say once I read the article. 😏


    1. It’s funny you mention lawnmowers… I taught my oldest at 10 how to do it and put a picture on Facebook. One of my son’s friends saw the picture on his mom’s feed and insisted he be taught too.


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