Child Safety vs Child Development

Glen D. Williams

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With all there is to worry about, it's a wonder parents let their children out of the bedroom before they're 32 years old. All we see happening to other people's kids on television gives us new meaning for the phrase, “you can't be too careful, " but is it possible to keep your kid too safe? What if some of our security measures actually hurt them in the long run? In this article, we'll examine the balancing act between child safety and child development in an effort to find an approach that protects while letting our children live and grow.

Stuff To Worry About Your Children:

There's no end to it. If you're a loving parent, the world became a deadly threatening place with the birth of your first child. You no longer view television, toys, the internet, your home, street or anywhere else as safe. Strangers are viewed with suspicion. . . even relatives, if they're too nice or not too nice to your child. As they grow older, new dangers arise. At some point it becomes clear to you. . . these worries will not end until you're gone from this world. The question every parent has to ask themselves in some way is, “will these worries be tools or chains in my children's lives?" Yes! There is danger, but it's possible to harm your child with protection. There's a negative side of child protection and it comes when parents are unwilling to balance safety and development.

Balancing Safety And Development:

Imagine someone who, in fear of a fall, never allowed their child to try to walk. That's a bit extreme, but parents are doing the same things in less extreme ways all the time. You have to let the kid fall on his butt or he'll never get the knack of walking. Professional gardeners know if you tie a tree hard to a stake (for wind protection) and leave it that way for years, you will have a stunted, weak, misshapen tree. Instead, they use 2-3 stakes further away and tie with stretchy materials to protect the tree's life, but allow it to struggle with the wind, so it will grow strong enough to withstand the biggest storms. It's the same with kids. Accidents, pain, hurt. . . even lies, betrayal and abuse can be like the wind, strengthening a child for what will come during adulthood. Protect them too much and they never grow into the strong tree they need to be to raise saplings of their own.

Balancing Safety And Trust:

One of the reasons children don't grow if over-protected is the issue of trust. Children begin to feel inadequate if your trust in them doesn't grow as they do. It's easier to mend the broken arm from a bicycle accident than it is to mend a broken spirit from never being trusted with the responsibility of a bicycle. Once kids get the feeling you don't trust them, they stop trusting themselves to risk and try new things. Probably the saddest legacy an overprotective parent leaves is a child who is alive but will never live. . . they just don't trust themselves to dream any more. It's far better a child be allowed to try and fail and get hurt emotionally. . . even physically, than it is the child be protected from hurt. *Fortunately, now, there are many safety products and services to allow children to flex and grow while being protected. For the toddlers, plug caps, cabinet latches and gates are available so you no longer have to scream, “get out of there. " A little older and there are camera monitors and door alarms. Yet, older and there are identity kits, internet security systems and TV parental controls. When they drive, let them use your new car with the GPS tracking so you'll know where they are when they call for help.

Thanks to the information age, parents are daily aware of every incident involving children, nationwide. It may be that the world is no more dangerous for children than ever, but the news makes it seem so. It's important that our increased alarm doesn't translate into too much protection or too little trust of our children. Armed with the knowledge and new security products, if we're able to strike a balance between protecting our children and letting them stumble and grow, we'll be able to see the straightest, tallest, strongest saplings in history. This is good because a time is coming when they'll need that strength to support us.

Glen Williams is Webmaster for , founder and CEO of E-Home Fellowship (EHF), Inc. He has been helping people with family and life problems full-time since 1989. You can comment on his articles at Way2Hope Family Life Forums .


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