Wrapping Kids in Cotton Wool

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dan on projectYesterday I was interviewed by the panel on Channel 10’s The Project with regard to ‘Cotton Wool’ kids…

It stemmed from a story in Melbourne where a father was suing a school because his son ran into a wall whilst playing tips. The father’s argument was – the school should ban running in the playground.

Hmm… I’m not so sure… as I said the panel, if the first thing we do when our kids do something ‘daft’ is look to blame someone else, then perhaps there’s the issue.

We have seen the evolution from Helicopter Parents to ‘Helicopter Gunship Parents’ who launch pre-emptive strikes against anything or anyone that might pose the risk of disappointment, risk, challenge or failure. That’s why so many parents do their kids’ homework for them, or why now – if you’ve attended a young child’s birthday party you’ll have seen this – EVERY layer of Pass the Parcel has a prize!

Helicopter Gunship Parenting

Learning from failure, a setback or a poor decision is a crucial aspect of growing up. It’s how kids learn to be resilient. It’s how they learn to take responsible risks and understand the consequences of their actions. You don’t learn these things simply by being told about them.

It’s as though parents want their kids to be happy all the time. 

But being happy all the time is in itself a mental health concern.

In our bid to have happy kids, I wonder what we might be robbing from them later in life?

So, next time you want stop your child from “making the same mistakes you did” – we’ll assume those mistakes didn’t land you in jail or the emergency ward – why not let them learn a little by stuffing up*.

After all, those mistakes helped you become the person you are today. And you’re not all that bad are you?

*You might have noticed I stuffed up earlier be sending a post entitled “UK” – with nothing on it… oops… I learnt something there too! 🙂 It’s actually a page for UK based schools/organisations who might be interested in doing some work with me…

5 Comments on “Wrapping Kids in Cotton Wool

  1. Here here. Best thing I’ve heard all day. Yes let’s stop them running round the playground. Let’s cancel all sporting matches because they might get hurt. Let’s sell those bikes, skateboards, rollerblades and sit them down inside in front of their iPads to get fat.

    • haha… yes something like that! I have heard of many schools banning footballs in the playground…
      Thanks for your comment Elizabeth! 🙂

  2. Well said Dan! Kids need to stuff up sometimes and realise the stove is hot and a brick wall is darn hard – especially at speed. These lessons will no doubt come in handy later on.

  3. Thank you Dan, this is a great post!

    This “avoidance” approach to problem solving happens often and not just in schools. Like you said, failure and challenge have an upside, especially if you use it as a chance to learn. Let’s focus on helping young people alter their perceptions so that they can thrive – as John Wooden eloquently said, “things turn out the best for the people who make the best of how things turn out.”

    I look forward to you next post. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Wrapping Kids in Cotton Wool | The Echo Chamber

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