Today we had my daughters pre-graduation from preschool, end of school year, field trip to the park. There were two classes merged into one giant playdate. The bad news is it rained all freaking morning. The good news is it cleared up early enough for the kids to go out and still have a good time at the playground. I guess for some parents that was bad news as well. While some kids were satisfied with the playground area, others were far more interested into a giant mud puddle that had progressed itself next to the tire chips. Some parents nixed this right away, some could care less, and others, like myself, gave in after a small amount of pleading from our children. After all, they are just kids. Now I won’t let my kid act like an ass hat and sling mud on someone or do anything that would otherwise cause injuries, but I will allow her to play and be a kid. There are many times where I ask her to be more like an adult and she is responsible for a lot of things around the house. So when time comes to play, she plays. Many parents didn’t let their kids partake in the splashing and running through the giant mud puddle, which is fine, I understand the problems with carting a mud soaked child in your vehicle. However one helicopter parent in particular caught my attention. Her little girl went to accept a flower that a little boy had picked. Now when I say flower, I mean the tiny little clovers that we all used to pick and make string necklaces out of when we were kids.
This woman went semi-off her handle and forbid the little girl to take the flower on the off chance that (and I quote) “a dog or other animal had frolicked through the park and touched the flower.” 😒 Forgive me if I look at you like you’re an idiot. Or don’t, it really doesn’t matter to me because I’m quite sure at this point you are, in fact, an idiot. Ok, obviously children should not be allowed to pick up strange things off the ground and eat them, or lick a trash can, or any number of things that could cause a serious infection or problem. Common sense. But there is a line we have to draw on behalf of our kids. You need to be able to keep them safe but still allow them to actually be a kid. We can’t worry about every little microorganism that could possibly be living on a random flower we find in the park. To me, that’s a little nutcase-ish. Studies have time after time shown us the benefit of having animals around her children before the age of 2, and that them being around a little dirt and germs is actually more beneficial later in life. They will have a healthier immune system and be able to fight off other bacteria and germs that they may come into contact with later in life. At what point in our society are we doing too much for are children? Are we protecting them too much? Are we too involved? Back when I was a kid (Yes I know how that sounds) our parents didn’t get involved with every little thing. We rode bikes around the neighborhood and went to the park by ourselves. We were responsible for our grades, not our teachers. People are being arrested now for their kids playing at the park down the street! I mean at some point it gets a little ridiculous. Everyone gets a trophy just for participating now. We don’t keep score during children’s sporting events for fear that we may hurt someone’s feelings. I realize I’ve delved off into a tangent, but I feel like it all ties together. I’m not saying let’s go back to riding in the back of a truck or the back window of a car, while our parents are smoking, or having a latch key 6 year old until 5:30. I’m saying, there has to be a medium ground. One without the proverbial “bubble.” In the meantime, I’m gonna let my kid run in a puddle.
So what have you guys seen? Where do you draw the line, and have you seen other “odd” helicopter parent behaviors, or you think I’m off my rocker?