Earlier this morning, my colleagues were having a conversation about an article that was posted on facebook the other day. It was about the culture and habits of millennial parents, who seem to protectively (and excessively) “hover” over their children. This has become most evident in the limited opportunities children now have to play unsupervised–supposedly stifling their development into self-sufficient and creative young adults.
I think about my own style of parenting and wonder, am I “hovering” as the article says? I live in a country where it is more of a norm to have a nanny than not…and nannies most definitely hover. Why? Because it is in their job description to do it, and so they must do precisely that…. hover, or receive the wrath of their employers.
I myself do not think I would appreciate returning home from work to find one of my toddlers left unattended and alone in a room. I know that it would upset me, and I would immediately assume neglect toward whoever I had left in charge. But I suppose my reaction would also vary depending the age of my child and on the situation at hand. Is my child independent enough to be aware of dangers? If the nanny is not in the same room, is she nearby, and would she be able to hear my child if she was crying for help?
Allowing my child to leave the house on her own is an entirely different story. While I have seen the amazing documentaries about small Japanese children walking on busy streets and riding trains on their own on the way to school, I can’t imagine allowing my children to go off on their own anywhere–until they are full fledged teens, equipped with the self-defense skills to match a black belt karate fighters.
But seriously, just the thought of something terrible happening to any of my daughters leaves me slightly lightheaded and queasy….and as a mother (as ANY mother) I want to do everything in my power to protect them.
But will my measures be at the cost of their own good? At the cost of their “truly living”?
These are the questions I ask myself…the questions I am sure any mother asks herself.
When does a lot become too much? When does “protected” become “overprotected,” as the song goes?
And when and how to we know if our answers are the right ones?
I end this article as a sincerely clueless new mother searching for answers. Can you help?
Let us know what you think in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!