Did you ever notice that parents these days seem to worry about stuff they shouldn’t bother with and completely disregard the stuff that should concern them? I was listening to the radio this morning and Lenore Skenazy from Free Range Kids was on the air. She was talking about the stories on her blog (love the blog, by the way) about the crazy lengths to which folk will go to “protect” kids. Like stopping midway through The Cat in the Hat to point out to the kids that “no real mother would leave their kids alone at home”. How crazy!
It got me thinking. On the way to school my daughter was telling me about a conversation she had had with her 12-year-old cousin the night before. She said her cousin’s text signature was “I love Brandon” or something like that. When she asked her cousin who this “Brandon” was, she was told it was her boyfriend! Personally, I find this appalling, but I seem to be in the minority.
After I heard the stories on the radio, I started thinking how crazy it is that we will kick a kid out of school for having a nerf gun (after all, imagine the damage THAT could do), but we are fine when our 12-year-old starts dating. In fact, most parents I talk to find it cute. Honestly, what are we coming to! Let your kids play with nerf guns, let them go for a bike ride without armour, and let them eat cake, for goodness sake! But I draw the line at boyfriends and girlfriends. If kids start dating at 12, what will they be ready for at 16? Dating will be old hat!
And to compound matters, this is the age that “real mothers” have no problem leaving their kids at home alone. And may I point out here that there will be no Cat in the Hat to supervise?
Could we please put the silliness aside and worry about stuff that might actually matter in a few years time? And perhaps stop protecting kids from stuff they can learn from? Perhaps a little common sense might be called for here – of course, that is not taught in schools these days and many parents seem to have forgotten what it is…..