Are we doing our children a favor by wrapping them in bubble wrap and protecting them from all the potential dangers in the world? The Boston Globe addressed that issue in their article, The Armored Child
Throughout history, parents have done what they could to protect their children from harm – by burying the umbilical cord for good luck or wearing amulets to protect the children from evil. But have we taken it too far now?
Once upon a time kids were taught responsibility instead of fear, and were encouraged to make formative mistakes instead of being vigilantly insulated against them.
Michael Ungar, a social work professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and author of “Too safe For Their Own Good,” has written about how the overprotective impulses that lead to things like helmets and kneepads during children’s early years end up hurting them as teenagers and adults. Though Ungar says there has never been a clinical study comparing people’s psychosocial health based on their parents’ child-rearing strategies, he says that developmental psychologists have shown that experiences involving independent risk-analysis and problem-solving do contribute to individuals’ maturity and stability. If parents prevent their kids from having those experiences, Ungar argues, those kids will be stunted in various ways.
“You want kids climbing trees, you want them having bumps and bruises,” Ungar said. “It’s an equation for parents to do the math on: If you take away all those things – if you take away all the risk – that’s great. But then you have to put back opportunities for the life lessons.”