If I Hear About One More College “Safe Space”

I’ve got to be honest. I worry about the future.

The generation of adults just entering college and the work force… they can’t seem to handle being uncomfortable.

On college campuses, they demand trigger warnings before reading books that might have controversial content… they insist on having safe spaces they can retreat to so their world view won’t be challenged… and they think silencing the speech of others is a good thing if that speech might make anyone uncomfortable.

One in five are willing to quell speech they don’t like with violence.

So how did we get here?

These kids aren’t coming into college as normal, healthy young adults and then embracing this “don’t offend me” mantra while on campus.

They’re being trained to think they should never have to endure any hardship or hurt feelings by their well-meaning parents.

Think about it… kids today are constantly supervised. Parents intervene at the first sign of trouble. Whether it’s a bad grade, a skinned knee, or a playground fight… these kids aren’t given the space to work their problems out on their own. And they are rarely asked to face the consequences of their poor choices.

Even parents who want to encourage self-sufficiency are worried about having the cops called on them if they let their kids play alone in the front yard… or go for a walk. Never mind riding a bike to the corner store unaccompanied… out of the question.

If we want to toughen up the next generation of adults — and we need to if this nation is going to survive — then it has to start with giving younger kids more of a sense of autonomy and responsibility.

So what can you do to help your kids or grandkids enjoy some independence? How can you make them more resilient, so that they can face things in the future like being disappointed, being disagreed with, or encountering people with a point of view they find displeasing?

There are lots of things you can do…

  • Let your kids range a little farther from you than you’re comfortable with at the park.
  • Let them ride their bikes through your neighborhood without you going with them.
  • Give them odd jobs to do and pay them for their efforts.
  • Take them to the store and let them spend that money — make them interact with the cashier on their own.
  • Encourage them to be avid readers so they encounter many points of view.
  • Make sure they have free time every day — time that they can use how they please — time when they aren’t doing homework or scheduled activities.

Give them trust and responsibility, and you’ll help create the better citizens we so desperately need. And if you need more ideas about how parenting has gone so very wrong and what you can do to fix it, watch this video from Lenore Skenazy over on Reason.tv.