Baseball season is starting up and if you know me at all you know that I love the game of baseball. I came across an article on PBS’s blog talking about how as a parent you should be less involved in your kids life. I have to admit they got me with the title. We live in a day where the definition of good parenting is over-involvement in your kids lives until they are well into their 2o’s. So the combination of baseball and the encouragement of parents to be less involved I found too tempting to pass up.
The article was well worth the read. While I’d disagree with him on a few of his points and probably with how he applies them to make a point, the overall idea is something I agree with completely. In our desire to give a better life for our kids than we have, we remove any obstacles or opportunity for pain that helped us become who we are today. Ironically we protect them from the very things that will make them stronger adults. We solve their problems rather than give them the tools to learn to solve them for themselves.
Daniel Pink the well-known author of controversial books such as Drive, and A Whole New Mind. Pink has this to say about the dangers of parental over-involvement specifically in sports like baseball:
What few of us well-meaning parents realize, but that any professional athlete will tell you, is that when kids look to us on the sidelines for approval or consolation or even orange slices, part of them is distracted from what really counts, the mastery of something difficult, the obligations to teammates, the game itself.– Daniel Pink –
To use the analogy of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The challenge for every parent is to protect the cocoon from harm yet avoiding the temptation of cutting the butterfly free from the cocoon and dooming the butterfly to a flightless life. I think Pink has a point, he may be using a bit of hyperbole but his point is well taken. In our eagerness to help our kids out their cocoon’s, we accidentally doom them to a flightless life. We live in a crazy day and age where I do think we have to be more diligent in protecting our kids, but the opposite danger exists and as parents we need to be aware that it exists. In an overprotected, hyperconnected world we live in we fail to give our kids the opportunity to tell us what happened in their lives because we have it all on tape. We fail to allow them to learn how to cope with a bad call by an ump because we are in the umps face or talking with the coach after.
When I look back at my life my parents were less involved with my sporting life and I think I’m better for it. I think our parents had a better grasp on the things that really matter.
What are some practical things we can do to avoid over-parenting our kids?
5. Keep them off social media as long as you can. When they get on social media treat each post as a window into their life not an open door you walk through every time.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/always-skip-kids-baseball-games/“>Here is a link to the article from Pink on PBS and a video of Pink sharing his thoughts