Sunday, May 26, 2013
Can't Learn From the School of Hard Knocks If You Never Attend.
Link was sliding off, on purpose and feet first, from a short height today at the Children's museum when a father I don't know came up behind him and held his hand out toward his back. It's understandable, especially if he has a younger or less able child, and I'm sure I've done similar things instinctually or uncertain who the parent was, but I was within arm's reach and I said, "He's OK, he can do it and I'm right here." The guy proceeded to touch Link in order to "save" him from a 1.5 inch fall to the ground. I bit my tongue, we were having a nice time as a family and it's not that he touched my kid, obviously his intentions were good... but damn, that is beyond irritating. If a parent says they've "got it" then that means you need to bugger off. You are relieved of all responsibility, which never left the parent's realm anyway.
Link is 15 months and a rough tumbler, I'm not going to allow him to fall on his head from some great height, but he doesn't need to be protected from every stumble and crash on the butt. That isn't helping him learn to cope, to overcome challenges and to take a spill without it ruining his day. I know the urge to intervene is probably greater the more the observer perceives danger but if the parent tells you they have it under control and the "risk" involves anything less than great bodily harm or death then you need to mind your business, move on and keep your hands to yourself. What's your kid doing while you are saving mine from nothing?
I read about this recently on The Daddy Files blog in an article titled "Why I Let My Son Fall and Fail" and I agree with the premise. I get annoyed, personally, with helicopter parenting to begin with, but when you are helicopter parenting children other than your own it becomes more than an annoyance, it becomes an intrusion.