Sunday, December 11, 2011

Protection vs. Sheltering

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”
– Chinese Proverb

     Joseph and I had a good conversation this morning about protecting children vs. sheltering children.  We didn’t necessarily agree on everything and we didn’t come to a specific as to what is right or wrong because there seems to be a fine line between what is considered protecting and sheltering.  My definition of protecting is setting up boundaries to keep your children safe from danger and inappropriate subjects for their age.  An example of this would be teaching your five year old not to watch horror movies or PG-13 or R movies, teaching your ten year old it’s a good idea to wait until she’s 16 to date, teaching your children not to talk to strangers, look both ways before crossing the street, don’t touch a hot pan just out of the oven, etc…  I think of sheltering your children as keeping them away from every single thing that could possibly endanger them or make them question reality or non-reality.  
     I feel if we keep our children sheltered it could cause more damage than what we’re sheltering them from.  How do you teach your children to think logically or use discernment if they never see a situation that would cause them to think just a bit?  At some point our children will have to go out into the world without us next to them, telling what to do.  I’m more concerned that I’ve taught my children how to use judgment than kept them from experiencing anything at all.  I think parenting is a lot like religion:  Every parent has to find what works for them and we all hope we’ve taught our children well.


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