Parental protection keeps kids safe; too much parental protection may turn them into anxiety-ridden adults.
Being an outdoorsy person all my life, I’ve often observed that people who are into outdoor sports, walks, etc., tend to be happy, outgoing, gregarious sorts. And I’ve half wondered now and again if it’s their time outdoors that makes them that way, or if people who are that way naturally are drawn to spending time outdoors.
So I was intrigued to hear a recent report that explored whether children whose parents vigorously protect them from harm (which surely includes those kids discouraged from participating in outdoor sports, hiking through the woods, etc. – I mean, what if a tree fell on them or they tripped on a root?) may grow up more anxious than others. As in, kids need to learn how to take manageable risks, and it’s perfectly okay if they get some scrapes and bruises in the process.
Given that I write adventure and extreme-sports novels for kids, the next thought that popped into my mind was, maybe some kids like to read (or attend movies about) risky adventures in order to escape, temporarily or otherwise, that parental hovering all so present these days.
One academic in the report pointed out that these days, emergency rooms see fewer physical emergencies and more mental anxiety emergencies among kids and young people (compared with past generations), and it’s no coincidence if one seems to be replacing the other.
But don’t take it from me: Here’s a link to a fascinating discussion on this topic: