Over protecting or sheltering your kids

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ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
My next blog article may deal with this issue, I haven't decided yet. It's something that drives me crazy, that's for sure! I hate when I see good kids sheltered or over protected as it so often leads to major rebellion. Some residential childcare staff do this to kids, some biological parents do it, and some entire residential facilities do it. I've watched numerous times as children go out on their own and fall into very hard or difficult situations because they were anxious to do any and everything they weren't allowed to do at home or placement. Of course this isn't an excuse to do evil on the child's part, but parents or house parents (or administration if it applies) who fail to see that being overly protective often leads to trouble need a hard lesson in the truth in my opinion.

Thoughts?
 

turmeric

Megerator
When I got out on my own at 18, I had never had more than a dollar a week allowance to budget, all I knew was that everybody else was eating out and having dessert and buying stuff and we never could afford to. Suddenly I had a whole $300 a month (late 1970's) and no mom to say I couldn't. I was broke within a week!
 

~~Susita~~

Puritan Board Junior
My parents did their best to shelter us from the "outside world" when we were really little. All that happened was my brother rebelled big time (drinking, growing his own plants, etc.) and the only thing that kept me from following was seeing how broken-hearted my parents were. I asked myself if I would want my kids to be doing the same thing (of course the answer was no). After that, my parents were less strict. They let me join swim team, I was in 4-H and doing other activities with other kids (mostly through the homeschool crowd, but still.). After having a taste of the sinful lifestyle, and enjoying it, my brother did his best to do it behind my parents' backs, but he ended up getting caught so they just gave him his freedom. They let him go wherever he wanted; the only condition was that he could not bring it back with him into the home. Needless to say, he learned his lesson pretty fast after bumping his head a few times.
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
It depends on how you define sheltered and overprotected.

I have allowed my children to spend the night at friends houses. I would rather their friends come here, even if it means spilled drinks and pizza sauce where it doesn't belong:D

I'm rethinking allowing them to stay the night where there are siblings of the opposite sex, but how can I really stick to that when we have both girls and boys? Not that I'm too nosy but I found a torn out page from my daughters diary when I was cleaning under her bed....:banghead::mad: She's only 10!! So yeah, I am clamping down on their "freedom". They play sports and are involved in scouts etc. I'm not running a prison here but I'm not giving them the freedom to do what they want to.

Everytime I think that maybe they could have a little longer leash I am proven wrong. The older they get the more extreme that lesson could be. As a family we're not so bad to hang around. If their friends can't stand us then they really don't even like our child. The children know that when it comes time for them to be married that their future husband or wife will have to like us otherwise we're all going to have a miserable time.:lol:

My kids aren't going to have free reign of the car and just say "see ya" on the way out the door. My parents gave me plenty of freedom and it's only by the grace of God I didn't totally trash my life. I had no curfew. I just had to call if I was going to be out later than 1am.

There's no way my kids are going to have the "freedom" I had!!

shelly
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
I didn't go off the deep end until we left the cult like arminian church. Talk about going nuts with freedom. The pendelum swung way the other way.:(

Maybe the overprotection you're talking about is more closely related to legalism. It's just a do this, don't do that because I said so, without any connection to what God has to say about it. Or worse yet misrepresents what God says! That'll really send 'em off the edge!

shelly
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Focus on the part of my post that says

I hate when I see good kids sheltered or over protected as it so often leads to major rebellion.
We're talking about children (13-17) that have proven themselves to be pretty trustworthy. They still need some supervision and guidance, and ocasionally consequences for poor choices but over all they are very well behaved and mature.

Now, a child like that asks to use the car.

Thoughts?
 

matt01

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by houseparent
We're talking about children (13-17) that have proven themselves to be pretty trustworthy...

Now, a child like that asks to use the car.

Thoughts?
The majority of children in that situation don't need a car.
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
If a responsible 17 yr old asks you to use the car, and lets you know where they're going and you can agree on basic ground rules (what time to be back, etc.), I don't think that would be a problem . . .
 

tdowns

Puritan Board Junior
Sleep overs

Originally posted by shelly
It depends on how you define sheltered and overprotected.

I have allowed my children to spend the night at friends houses. I would rather their friends come here, even if it means spilled drinks and pizza sauce where it doesn't belong:D

I'm rethinking allowing them to stay the night where there are siblings of the opposite sex, but how can I really stick to that when we have both girls and boys? Not that I'm too nosy but I found a torn out page from my daughters diary when I was cleaning under her bed....:banghead::mad: She's only 10!! So yeah, I am clamping down on their "freedom". They play sports and are involved in scouts etc. I'm not running a prison here but I'm not giving them the freedom to do what they want to.

Every time I think that maybe they could have a little longer leash I am proven wrong. The older they get the more extreme that lesson could be. As a family we're not so bad to hang around. If their friends can't stand us then they really don't even like our child. The children know that when it comes time for them to be married that their future husband or wife will have to like us otherwise we're all going to have a miserable time.:lol:

My kids aren't going to have free reign of the car and just say "see ya" on the way out the door. My parents gave me plenty of freedom and it's only by the grace of God I didn't totally trash my life. I had no curfew. I just had to call if I was going to be out later than 1am.

There's no way my kids are going to have the "freedom" I had!!

shelly
Shelly, I hear you on the sleep over thing. We've decided to set some boundaries very early on for sleep overs and dress. My two little ones are 7 and 5 and the sleep over invites already started.

I give my kids lots of freedom, and we do tons of exciting things together, but I'm not going to allow them to sleep over at anyone's house except my one closest friend who is like family. Why? Because ask any councilor where a very high % of molestation comes from...sleep overs. And I've seen it happen with others, if we let them now, with some kids, how do you say no to other kids.

It's just easier to set the tone now, that we just don't do sleep overs.

Then when they get older, it's not such a big thing. Same with the dress code, and going to little parties etc. I don't feel I'm overprotective at all, but kids will experiment, older siblings and the opposite sex will experiment, if left alone. So my kids are going to skateboard, play sports, go on adventure hikes, swim and mountain bike (my daughter can ride the trails at five) and play in streams. But I'm going to be around unless it's my designated, very trustworthy friend and his kids.

I do have a daughter that is graduating high school today. She was given way to many freedoms from her mother. We were never married. And she has done pretty well, but, her dress is outlandish, and she has too many privileges with her boyfriend. I did talk her into going to a Christian college, but I can only trust in God, pray, and give Godly advice when I can, because I really have no control over that one.

Soooooo I think it's a tightrope of a line in giving kids responsibilities and freedoms while protecting them from teenage stupidity. But the boundaries need to start far before teenage land or it's going to be tough.

I will say I abused the almost total freedom I had, I had two kids out of wedlock before I became a Christian. And thank God I'm a part of both of their lives and they are a blessing, but, under tighter supervision I don't think I would have had quite the full range of experiences that I did.

I look forward to your article Adam.:book2:
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by matthew
Originally posted by houseparent
We're talking about children (13-17) that have proven themselves to be pretty trustworthy...

Now, a child like that asks to use the car.

Thoughts?
The majority of children in that situation don't need a car.
Ok, what ever situation you want to use. What I am saying is that if children have PROVEN to be mature and responsable isn't our duty as parents (or house parents in my case) to begin to let go even if they may make a mistake? Do we continue to treat children who've shown us good things as if they have not shown us these things in the name of "protecting" them?
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by houseparent
Focus on the part of my post that says

I hate when I see good kids sheltered or over protected as it so often leads to major rebellion.
We're talking about children (13-17) that have proven themselves to be pretty trustworthy. They still need some supervision and guidance, and ocasionally consequences for poor choices but over all they are very well behaved and mature.

Now, a child like that asks to use the car.

Thoughts?
Should we assume for the sake of argument that they've proved themselves to be good, safe drivers? At that age, though they may be trustworthy and good kids, they wouldn't have had much time to prove themselves to be good drivers.

Should we also assume I'd be letting them drive the junk box I drive back-and-forth to work, instead of the Corvette that's parked in my driveway?
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes - if they've proven themselves to be responsible, you have to start giving letting them go - that's the best way to learn, really.
And preventing a teenager from even attempting to go into a situation because when you've been in that position you've messed up (even though there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the situation and they've been responsible up to that point) is a brilliant way to mess up your relationship with them, in my opinion.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
And preventing a teenager from even attempting to go into a situation because when you've been in that position you've messed up (even though there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the situation and they've been responsible up to that point) is a brilliant way to mess up your relationship with them, in my opinion.
Now you're on the same page as me! :bigsmile:

Don't just focus on driving, I used that because someone else brought it up. Consider visits from the opposite sex (not over nights), dating, going to an amusement park all day without supervision, etc.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Adam,
Thanks for starting this thread. My oldest son is 16 now, so its good for me to be thinking about these things.

A little off topic, but from your experience with kids, which ones tend to get into more trouble - those with over-protective parents, or those on the other extreme with parents that don't seem to have any behavioral guidelines (they basically let their kids do whatever they want)?
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Oh the permissive parents have much worse children by far! However....

What happens with the over protective parents (not always, but often) is that their children are very well behaved, polite, etc. but the minute they get some freedom (College, etc) they go HOG WILD!

I've seen countless children who respected and listened to their parents make down right earth shattering decisions in young adult hood (get pregnant on purpose, marry a guy who just got out of prison, etc.) simply because it would prove they could now make their own decisions and it would upset mom and or dad.

I've seen kids move far, far away just to get freedom from controlling parents, and most of all I have seen them settle down with and sometimes even marry controlling spouses because that's all they ever knew and thought it was normal. If the controlling mate dislikes the parents then all the better.

Often, what over protective parents want ends up back firing on them. I hate it when good kids are over protected because it so often messes up what could have been a very good future for them if the parents had learned how to let go and allow them to make a few mistakes or fail once in a while.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
I believe there is more than one type of overprotective parent. I believe and hope more than anything that we can protect our children from many things.

We have been trying to not only feed, clothe, and shelter our children and discipline them, but to shape their character. I can see, and my husband can also, how each one of our children resemble various other extended or immediate family members. We have data on how those people came out and how their world view shaped their actions and thinking. We try to get ahead of a possible trouble spot in their thinking by explaining things.

We do a lot of talking to our children and explaining the what and why of various attitudes and ways of thinking. We are trying to instill wisdom and intelligence into our children about the ways of the world. Critical thinking skills are so important now a days with the media onslaught of wrong ideas and ways of thinking. Especially the "the world revolves around me" thinking.

I think that teaching your children a Christ-centered world view is essential. Many things teens might think of trying out would seem stupid to a Christ-centered teen who already realizes the vanity of worldly things. I didn't have to "experience" things for myself to know some things are just stupid. Everyone is different though and all you can do is your best.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Traci

I don't disagree with what you've said here! My parents raised me very much like what you have said here. I don't believe a person has to try something in order to know or understand that it's foolish. Not at all! What I do believe is doing what you've said here and once your children show they have learned, listened, and respected, you begin to cut them some slack, give them some rope.

Here's my thing...

I have worked with teens for 14 years now. My wife and I are very good at developing strong, trusting relationships with them. Many (most) of the kids we work with share nearly everything with us. They trust us and believe we love and care for them. It's a different role than a biological parent because we are not as threatening. To disappoint us is not as "scary" as it is to disappoint your biological parent.

Because of all that we gain a ton of insight into the children's world. I wish I could just make parents see what it is their child needs. I don't want to steal anyone's child, I don't want to take over a parents role in their family! All I want is to help paretns and children understand one another better so things are better for everyone.

I've been a little bummed/angry lately watching a few kids I KNOW are awesome, awesome kids (their behavior is amazing for two lovely teenage girls) be over protected by their parent. They tell me their thoughts and plans for the future and they are based very much around this over controlling parent. So far there's been nothing "scary" but I know kids, and I know what most will do in rebellion especially when they feel they've been treated unfairly.

I wish someone would just listen.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Adam,
Have you warned those girls they about the temptation they will face once they've escaped their mother? It would seem if they were good kids that you could reason with them and get them to understand not to over react when they get their freedom. Just a thought from someone with no experience :)
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Oh yes. My wife and I have a great relationship with them and we talk about this all the time. This can make the mom worse at times though as she is determined to be more controlling the closer her daughters get to us.:banghead:

[Edited on 5-24-2006 by houseparent]
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by houseparent
Oh yes. My wife and I have a great relationship with them and we talk about this all the time. This can make the mom worse at times though as she is determined to be more controlling the closer her daughters get to us.:banghead:

[Edited on 5-24-2006 by houseparent]

I see where you are coming from Adam. I would be careful though if the mother of daughters doesn't know you very well you might be scaring her with your influence over her daughters. I know that would scare me. These are not homeless girls then? They are not part of your job?

Even though this Mom might not be perfectly right, these are her children and God gave them to her. You should be careful not to undermine her authority with her children as it is God-given. It would be more damaging to those girls to question their authority figures and gain some freedom, when they should be willing to endure limited freedom in order to obey the authority given to them.

Of course if they are not Christians this will sound ludicrous. However you as a Christian should never undermine the authority of parents. I am not saying that you are doing that in this case. I don't have all the facts. I'm just saying from a mothers point of view, I would endeavor to maintain my husband and myself as THE most influential people in my children's lives and it would be a big red flag if some other couple were stepping into that role.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
No, the girls were placed here (thus in our care) by the mom. She is still a part of their life, but our job is to do what were doing.
 

turmeric

Megerator
Is anyone working with the mom? When Child Welfare kids go into residential treatment the parents usually get some kind of therapy too.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
Well in that case Adam that Mom has given over her authority willingly. It must be God's plan that those girls are able to be influenced by you and your wife. May God bless those girls through that influence. :pray2: :up:
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
We had a 15 year old cousin stay with us for 2 months. She confided in me about a lot of things. She is a good kid and obeys the limits her mother sets. But because of the level of freedom she was given since she was so trustworthy she ended up in some dangerous situations.

I've worked with teens for several years and almost of them ended up trashing their life and at best marrying a dud.

Freedom and teens don't mix. They don't have the life experience to know the dangers they are putting theirselves in. Do they know what to do when some men follow them out of walmart and follow them in their car?
Do they know what to do when a friends brother and friends corner them? At that point, it doesn't really matter because things will be out of their control. It's not a matter of a parent not trusting their teen, it's a matter of parents knowing the scum who target their teen.

So, no I wouldn't give the keys to one of my children when they just want to go somewhere. I would give the keys to one of them if there was at least two of them and if one of them was one of my sons. I wouldn't send my two daughters to the store. I've looked up the creeps that live around here. I know they go places too, and I won't send my daughters out unprotected no matter how much I trust them.

I teach my children that when you're in the car your best weapon is your gas pedal. I learned that one in college by experience. Drug dealers learned to scatter when they saw my car coming because they knew I wasn't stopping at the stop sign. It's much better to tell the now funny stories as learning tools than to let them learn on their own. I've never been carjacked and drug dealers never held on to my car for long.

All it takes is a wrong turn in town and you are 2 blocks into the wrong area and in danger. I'm not being a jerk, I'm just stating the facts according to my experiences in various cities and states.

Maybe this will make sense at least so you know why we've made the decisions we have in regards to our family.:2cents::2cents:

shelly
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
I've lived in the west, the midwest and the south.

I've lived in exclusive subdivisions and ones where you listen for shots before you open the door.

I've lived in suburbs and city. Large cities and small. And I've lived out in the country where you "go to town".


I've ducked "just in case" as a teen; and as a married 20 something carrying my baby in carcarrier and another under my arm. (My biggest concern was always the fact that they couldn't aim. If they could actually hit each other it would be a lot safer. I've only actually seen 3 guys shot because they usually miss.)

The "wrong" side of town is never very far away. The houses can be quite expensive and still harbour those who practice witchcraft. As a teen I knew where not to go at certain times, but curiosity would be a draw and we'd go look at the places where the sacrifices were done. The times we heard others there or coming towards us were always enough to scare us spitless. My parents had no idea I knew where the pentagram places in the woods were. We'd all go trooping off for a hike with a sack lunch and dare each other to go all the way into "the clearing" when we saw remains. We were teens and were very obedient and trustworthy. But we were still foolish.

Maybe PA is the true Bible Belt and the rest of the country is really scum.;):lol:

I've lived a lot of places and always either knew where the witchy places were or knew someone who knew. Now that I'm grown that sort of info is no longer shared with me, but I know its still out there.

I'm "overprotective" because these are our children that God has entrusted to me. I plan on doing a whole lot better than what I had. My dh always looks at me like I crawled out of some rock somewhere when I share some of my experiences. I give the short version:bigsmile: otherwise I'd probably scare him. Oh yeah, the short version does scare him!

So maybe my experiences are unique and life isn't really how I've seen it, but just in case...

Everyone has to take care of their kids the best they can according to what they believe God would have them do. You know what I've said about what we do and will do; you just have to use wisdom and discernment with yours.:handshake:

shelly
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
I'd like to know what "over protecting" means before I answer. My children are 8, 3.5, 1.5, and 4 months old. So, except for our 8 year old, they may be too young to consider overprotecting.
 
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