I just read a really interesting discussion about parents that let their children go crazy and parents that are much too controlling. Do we let the kids go out and play, or do we micromanage every moment of their time? Do we teach them how to do their own laundry and cook all of their own meals, or do we do everything for them all the time?
I'm not going to go too in-depth here, because I really don't feel the need or have the patience to debate parenting styles. I'm a simplistic sort, so I'm going to break this down in really easy terms:
Are you people nuts?
No, I mean seriously. Seriously??
While I don't suggest a "middle of the road" attitude when it comes to the freeway at 5:00pm on a Friday afternoon when there's a home game ... I swear by it when it comes to parenting. (And probably eating too, but I'm thinking that's a different post for a different day.)
For you free-range people: Children MUST have discipline and rules. God gave US to our children in order to teach them. Are you really teaching your child if you're letting them run all over the store/neighborhood/park/whatever without any way to check in with you? Hello, buddy system! Independence is a good thing, as long as it is learned in doses over time. That's why we get them for 18 years and not 5.
Helicopters: Seriously? I'm a practical person, so I have to ask this: How do you have time to tend to yourself (like you know, showers or even a bathroom break!) if you're busy hovering over your child? Mowgli was raised in the woods by wolves, do you really think your child won't make it thru an afternoon outing without your huge bag of organic snacks? Do you think that you are preparing your child for REAL LIFE if you are doing everything for him? When he goes off to college (assuming you let him leave the state ... or even the city), how is he going to eat or do laundry? How is he going to even be accountable for the work he does? I'm sure child investigators will have a lot to say about the fact you've just strangled your child with your apron strings.
Middle of the road, people: teach your children to be smart in situations, teach them when to come to you for help, and teach them how to be responsible for their own actions. Give and take. Moderation. Think about it.