Are you a 'Bubble' Parent?
When did we become so overprotective we try to place our kids in a bubble? We were a generation of bikes with no helmets. I rode on my friend's handle bars. We drank from a hose and lived to tell the tale. We had fights with our friends and our parents never knew. We were picked on, made fun of and had horrible days, and our parents listened but never jumped into it. We cried and passed notes to our friends and moved on.
The bus is a good example. We all rode the bu,s and if my mother had to drive me to school it was because I missed the bus and that was not a fun car ride. I hear from parents these reasons why they drive their kids. The bus comes too early. There is no supervision on the bus. I don't like the bus driver. There are no seat belts on the bus. There are some mean kids on the bus.
There are 50 times more car accidents than bus accidents. They get up early to watch TV; they can get up early to get on the bus. If they are on it for a long time, they learn patience. If they get picked on, they learn how to stick up for themselves or how to stick up for others. They will have to learn to tell an adult the problem and ask for help. They may be tired after a long bus ride, but that is OK. They are fine. Stop making your issue their issue.
Talking to adults is another parent "bubble" issue. After fourth grade I will never talk to a coach on behalf of my child. I just won't. They are old enough to speak for themselves. I'll help them find the words and turn their emotions into articulate thought, but never will I speak for them. I hear from many parents, "My child is just too shy and will not say anything." OK! That is fine. Let them be shy, but there are consequences to not speaking up. You get what you get. Every time you step in, you tell your child that you don't think they can handle it, and the rescue will cause them to lose confidence.
We all have fears as parents, but when we put those fears on a child, that action becomes unproductive. I recently asked a parent whose child is in need of some separation, "What about a summer camp?" I thought it would give her a chance to be on her own and develop new skills and friendships. The response was, "She won't like that, she likes to be with us or her friends."
How do you know? She may not like it at first. It may be scary but then, great! A good safe stretching of a child's world is good when they are young and will allow them to develop more leadership qualities and be less likely to follow the crowd in the future.
We didn't have social media as kids, and this is a big difference for our children. If you are seeing them being destructive, then, don't let them have it! I didn't get a phone in my room as a kid because my parents felt anything I had to say to anyone I could say on the downstairs phone. So they said, "No." Try it, it will work. When they are old enough, monitor social media as you would monitor their use of a car. Know where they are going and what they are doing and who they are with. They will be mad. I was mad about the phone, other kids had one. I got over it, and so will they.
We all want our kids to be happy and safe. If we had the ability to have them never feel sad or disappointed, we would make it happen. However, that is not life. The longer they are living in the bubble, the harder they will fall will be when the bubble breaks.
Kate Paquin is a family coach, with a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has worked with different types of families to make their home life run a little smoother and runs classes for teens and parents. Visit her at www.afamilycoach.com.