Kids growing up today in the comforts of middleclass neighborhoods enjoy a low-risk environment. They can pretend to partake in high-risk activities in video games instead of taking actual risks in real life. And this increasingly common, sheltered lifestyle may be causing our kids long-term physical and psychological damage.
Kids, it turns out, need to experience risk! Wellmeaning parents who try to shield their kids from ever experiencing bumps and bruises may end up stunting their ability to tackle challenges and cope with fear, studies show.
Play is an essential part of growing up. But across the country, bureaucrats are trying to take the fun out of play. Most public parks, in an effort to improve safety and reduce the risk of lawsuits, have dismantled just about everything that would be fun for a child older than 6. Full-size swing sets?
Radically downsized. Jungle gyms? Bowdlerized. Teeter totters? Goners. Dodgeball? Banned.
In New York, “rotating metal saucers that kids ride at two Park Slope [Brooklyn] playgrounds were recently welded into place so they can’t move, and the city has made similar modifications or removed a total of seven disks citywide ‘in the interest of public safety,’” according to DNAInfo.
This winter, several jurisdictions banned kids from sledding down hills in parks. “The American love of lawsuits is forcing cities to ban sledding, ruin
winter,” blared a Washington Post blog headline.
Raising Self-Reliant Kids and Grandkids
Less free play in childhood means more obesity , more diabetes, and more mental disorders such as depression as inactive kids become troubled
teens. That’s why Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reli – ant Children, is trying to turn back the trend of over-protective smothering by parents, schools, and regulators. If you’re a parent or grandparent, the book is worth a read.