I have, in several blog posts, talked about the destructiveness of helicopter parenting and the link I see between that and our current millennials. This incessant need for parents to protect their children from anything and everything that could possibly be harmful has imprinted on this latest generation a need to either shout down or have banned things that make them uncomfortable or that they don’t like. This can be seen almost every day on the news, read in the papers, or heard on the radio. The term snowflake is usually applied to those in this generation that exhibit these tendencies.
To me, it is a problem of parents not allowing their children to take risk’s, to feel uncomfortable, or to make mistakes. We live in a country where it is frowned upon to keep score in children’s sports league’s, where children going barefoot is weird, and children barely spend time outside. Parents, terrified of being labeled a bad parent, don’t let their kids push their physical limits. They are not allowed to climb tree’s as high as they can go, run around barefoot, play in a creek, or even play outside without helicopter parents deriding the parents or calling child protective services. This has forced many parents to tow the helicopter parent line so they don’t invoke the wrath of other parents or the State.
Children have a drive, a very interesting one, to be outside and to be pushed to the limits physically. It helps build an internal structure that these children can rely on later in life. This pushing of physical limits allows the child to know their limitations and gain confidence in themselves. This is crucial for the development of the child and taking these risk’s and playing outside tend to lead to a better academic achievement. Children who never test their limits will grow to be timid, and fearful later in life. Those who have overbearing parents like this may also not develop the ability to think for themselves, push themselves intellectually or question what they are told by the prevailing “authority”. This is dangerous for those who value liberty as it brings up a generation who are incapable of resolving conflict, thinking independently, or the ability to handle uncomfortable situations without throwing the equivalent of a tantrum.
As an experiment, go to the park and watch how many parents let their children free play. How many manage their children, prevent them from doing certain things or taking risk’s that pose no real threat to the health of the child?
My wife, children, friends of ours, and I were at the park this morning and our children were playing in a man-made water feature and there was another child there. She obviously wanted to play like our children were playing and her parents prevented her. No judgment about that, I do not know her specific circumstances, but I found it interesting that when she laid on the ground to stick her hand in the water, her father held her to make sure she didn’t fall in. This child was at no real risk of falling in by the way she was laying but her father saw fit to protect her from what little risk was there. I found it telling and a good example of millennials and the up and coming generation after them.
It should be an interesting time watching as the millennials and the next generation comes of age.
What about you? What do you think? Are parents giving their children enough free play outside? Should we let our children take risk’s or should we continue to shield them? Comment below and share if you enjoyed the article!