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to think that wrapping our kids in cotton wool does more harm than good?

(27 Posts)
madhousewife Fri 08-Jul-11 20:54:38

I've just been reading through some hilarious stories on 'chat' about 'utterly insane things our parents did' and it made me start to wonder what kind of stories my kids are going to tell - i seem to be more concerned with getting them to eat their veggies and keeping the house clean and preventing them from getting hurt than letting all of us have some real fun and real experiences. I wonder what they are going to look back on and think of their childhood?

LostMyIdentityAlongTheWay Fri 08-Jul-11 20:58:45

Are you from Islington?

(that's REALLY one for the in-crowd.)

And in relation to your post... what is 'real' fun? Does it involve health and safety issues? Genuine ?, because I'm not sure what else you might be implying?

justpaddling Fri 08-Jul-11 20:59:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgentZigzag Fri 08-Jul-11 21:24:29

If you started acting like a parent in the 70's now though madhouse, you'd be hauled in front of SS before you can say 'But I only gave them a packet of spangles!'.

DC are designed to have fun and make the most of their individual circumstances, you can't say to me that DC in different cultures don't have brilliant childhoods just because they live by different parenting techniques as the ones we had when we were little.

We only wrap them in cotton wool in a comparison with 20/30/40 years ago, but they're not really.

madhousewife Fri 08-Jul-11 21:35:38

Perhaps I'm looking at the past through rose tinted glasses. I can remember being very young and being thrown out encouraged to hike through the woods behind our house with my two younger brothers for hours on end and we were expected to come back happy, tired and full of adventure. We got into scrapes and got ourselves out again and were the better for it.

I would NEVER let my kids out of my sight for a second. And I'm not saying this in a self righteous way at all, I wish I could be more lenient but I'm extremely paranoid - my dad calls me the hover craft!

manicinsomniac Fri 08-Jul-11 21:36:34


I'm lucky my kids go to a school where Health and Safety are dirty words because I'm too much of a wimp to give them enough freedom myself.

MorticiaAddams Fri 08-Jul-11 23:10:50

No cotton wool kids here. I've always made sure that mine had as much freedom (or perceived freedom) as possible. It hasn't always been easy but they're 12 and 10 now and are both very independant and road safe.

duckdodgers Fri 08-Jul-11 23:19:53

"I would NEVER let my kids out of my sight for a second"..........well thats you then, but certainly not me. Have you asked yourself why? Of course it obviously comes down to ages and you didnt mention how old your are, e.g DS3 whos 3 can play in the garden but DS2 whos 9 often and frequently disappears for hours on end out playing. Its called enjoying his childhood - and thats what hes going to remember when he looks back on it, good times with his family and good times with his friends. Not parents who were too scared to let him out of their sight for fear of accidents or scarey bogeymen harming him.

debivamp Fri 08-Jul-11 23:30:39

I don’t believe in cotton wool, but DH does. He won’t even let our 6 year old daughter run down the street in case she trips, falls into the road and then gets knocked down. (He knows someone that this happened to). It got so bad that he stopped her using scissors at home. I told him that she needed to learn, but he insisted that he knew someone whose son had sipped off the tip of their finger…. Anyway it came to a head when her reception teacher mentioned at parents evening that our Daughter could not cut things and this was now an issue “you can blame him for that” I said. She gave him a stern talking too. How I managed to keep a straight face I will never know. Anyway back to the point, children need to learn how to risk manage; otherwise you are limiting their personal development.

yellabelly Sat 09-Jul-11 10:01:44

there are risks to be taken with children; and risks you would avoid like the plague. Its a balance. Children are vulnerable. For instance all parents hand their kids over to schools full of teachers they dont know. (Have you checked on your teachers?)

mumblebum Sat 09-Jul-11 10:08:53

It's all a balance isn't it though. It's not clear cut that you either wrap in cotton wool or you don't adequately protect them. There are huge shades of grey in between and the right decisions are going to be different for different children at different ages. As it's a judgement call sometimes you are bound to disagree with what other parents choose to do but everyone is just trying to do their best for their children (well most of us are anyway).

tallulahxhunny Sat 09-Jul-11 10:13:57

My DH called me naive this morning. He said that because i let my son play outside when he was younger (age 3 onwards) and we lived in belfast where we got bombed and shootings every day that its only sheer luck that we are still in one piece!! My son is now 19 this was in the early 90's. See trying to tell people that it doesnt seem that bad when you are living in it, they dont understand. My dh is from scotland and has never lived there so doesnt know!!

I feel sorry for my 2 girls who are only 6 & 7 now they cant go out to play like my son did , but if we still lived in belfast then they could!!

This resulted in a big argument sad

sorry cant even remember why i said all that so probably OT lol blush

yellabelly Sat 09-Jul-11 10:15:42

yes mumblebum, but there are some strange opinions held by allegedly decent parents.

I do accept being a parent of the young is a very worrying situation. I am from a biggish family.

petisa Sat 09-Jul-11 10:30:20

I understand tallulah I was a teenager in Northern Ireland in the 90s! It was a v v safe place in many ways.

I am back living in my home town in Norn Iron and I could let my girls play out alone from about age 6 no problem.

yellabelly Sat 09-Jul-11 10:36:31

Play out. most of the danger is from older children. Alas

tallulahxhunny Sat 09-Jul-11 10:45:38

It makes me cry tbh petisa i feel like im depriving my kids but you just cant let them out here unless you are a helicopter parent sad

RetroHousewife Sat 09-Jul-11 10:47:39

Mine are frequently out of my sight, they have a fantastic childhood with unsupervised cycling to the library, the park, friends houses, fields and the shop.

I am secretly delighted there are so many pathetically neurotic parents raising kids who won;t cope with life. means mine will get the pick of everything! grin

If you genuinely never let your kids out of your sight and they are older than four, you need to seek help, really, you do. You are damaging your children pretty significantly.

tallulahxhunny Sat 09-Jul-11 10:56:54

i live in a not-so-nice area of glasgow retro,

tallulahxhunny Sat 09-Jul-11 10:57:38

oh sorry haha thought that comment was aimed at me blush

pinkhebe Sat 09-Jul-11 11:02:52

I lived in Belfast in the 70's and played outside grin

My 2 ds's go to cubs/scouts and the camps etc are great for them. we live in a very built up area with no real places for them to go and explore.

ds1 (11) is off today with scouts, to do the colditz challenge. They have to pitch their tent/cook on an open fire shock and do challenges at night. He can't wait grin

exoticfruits Sat 09-Jul-11 11:19:24

I think that wrapping them in cotton wool is very damaging and when this generation grow up the pendulum will swing the other way as they feel that they were smothered and not able to have any responsibility, risk assess or learn by their own mistakes.

potterschmotter Sat 09-Jul-11 11:21:32

i saw a film the other day about play in northern ireland, kids were building a massive bonfire then set fire to it.

was quite a community event

TheGrimSweeper Sat 09-Jul-11 11:27:11

How old are your dc op?

madhousewife Sun 10-Jul-11 01:31:29

my dc are 15 months and almost 4. so really, of course I'm not going to let them out of my sight atm. my dad referred to me as the hover craft at a play group we went to where a boy with a mum who had a newborn was really acting up and targeting my dd so I was stuck to her side b/c he was being quite violent.

read some of the stories in the post that I mentioned and perhaps you will all get an idea of what I'm talking about, some stories are a bit ott but there is a grain of excitement that I feel is missing b/c we are being over protective and judgemental.

piprabbit Sun 10-Jul-11 01:40:30

TBH I had a childhood where I roamed the local fields with my friends from an early age.

Lots of it was fun, but there was a lot of scary stuff as well. The older children didn't really look after the little ones. Sometimes we had to wait for random passing adults to get us out of the situations we found ourselves in. Yes, there was excitement and adrenalin but there was also fear. I'm not convinced that it didn't make me more averse to risk as an adult.

I think we need to be careful that we aren't looking back through rose-tinted specs.

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