Here’s how you can easily kill your child’s spirit, their sense of adventure. It’s real simple: just overprotect your child. Shield them from anything potentially harmful. Don’t let them try anything new, they might fail. Don’t let them do anything remotely dangerous, they may get hurt. Don’t let them do anything on their own, that’s your job. Don’t believe this is happening? Here’s what research is showing about today’s teenagers:
- A large percentage struggle with obesity.
- A large percentage find it difficult to fulfill commitments.
- A large percentage wrestle with depression after eighteen years old.
- A large percentage discover life is hard to cope with after leaving home.
Yesterday we looked at the two things that prove to be trump cards when raising your kids. Today we’ll begin to look at three tensions that you have to manage as a parent raising kids in today’s culture:
1. Overprotection vs. Sense of Adventure. We live in a day and age when our kids are overprotected. Think about it:
- You grew up jumping on a trampoline with no net. Today that would constitute a call to child services.
- You grew up when a seat belt was your mother’s arm bracing you against the seat. Today, you put your kid in a five point harness worthy of NASCAR.
- You grew up riding your bike, plain and simple. Today kids can’t ride their bikes without full kevlar body armor used by the soldiers in Iraq.
- You grew up spending hours outside exploring the world around you. Today you’re afraid to let your kids out of your sight. Better for them to stay inside and watch tv, where you can see them.
Here’s the downside of overprotecting your kid: you can steal their sense of adventure and kill their spirit. I worked with too many teenagers who were scared of their own shadow, who were afraid to try anything new, who were convinced that if they did something they would do it wrong. Why? Because all they heard growing up was how dangerous the world was.
Don’t steal your child’s natural sense of adventure. You have to find the balance between protecting them and nurturing their God-given sense of adventure. It starts young. Let them jump off stuff. Throw them in the air. Let them try new things. Let them do something a little risky. They’re born with a natural sense of adventure. All you have to do is keep from stealing it from them.
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