“Children are our future”; it is a line that is often trotted out when someone in power wants to appeal to one of the biggest and most influential groups in the general population: parents. However, as well as being empty rhetoric, the statement is basically true. After all, the children of today will, hopefully, grow up to run the country, both on the front line in terms of politics and behind the scenes in schools, factories and industry. However, to ensure that this becomes reality, we need our children to develop into well rounded individuals and the first stage of this is letting a child enjoy their childhood by allowing children to be children.
No of us want to patronise our children, or to stifle them with rules and regulations because ultimately this can negatively affect their development. However, sometimes, we have to protect them for their own safety. For instance, this involves online usage and browsing suitable websites – some online gaming sites are great fun for adults but not for children.
There are plenty of free games which are available for kids – just make sure they’re age suitable.
We need to protect our children from such things until they’re ready to enjoy them. On the internet this can be done with the use of net nanny type programmes, which can be used to ensure that children stay away from unsuitable pages. Even better is to teach a child about why such websites are not suitable for them, so that they can avoid these page through their own volition.
Away from the virtual world, there are also dangers that we should educate our children about. For instance, you obviously shouldn’t let your child out onto the road without having first given them a thorough briefing on the potential threats that vehicles can pose to them. Even on the footpath, it is important that children understand that dangers can still lurk – cyclists often use pathways, and of course, all kids must be educated about ‘stranger danger’.
It’s a fine line between protecting and smothering
With the many inherent dangers of life, it is natural that a child’s guardian will feel very protective of them. However, the importance of allowing our children to be children, and letting them experience life, within the boundaries you set, cannot be overstated. Over protection of a child, such as mollycoddling them, can present problems of its own, as detailed in this article on the Daily Mail.
As well as being linked to the development of psychological problems, over protecting our children can also present physical health issues for them, which could hamper a child in future life. An increase in the development of allergies, such as hay fever and peanut intolerance, as well as asthma, during childhood have all been linked to the overuse of antibacterial substances in the home. Proof, perhaps, that a few germs really doesn’t do anyone any harm!
In short, if we don’t allow our children to explore the world for themselves we can end up doing more damage than good. For this reason, it is vital that we let our children be children, while ensuring they understand the potential dangers that they may face in the physical and virtual worlds.