Hey Mom and Dad: What's the Best Approach for Raising Kids?

Hands on or hands off?

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.

This week we looked at a hugely popular parenting blog that appeared on a Patch site outside of San Francisco. You can find it here. The blog has gone viral and has touched a nerve with a lot parents. 

In a nutshell, the blog centers on two different parenting techniques — one in which the parents hold their children closely and protects them from harm. The other allows the children to make mistakes and sometimes get hurt in the process. 

Here's what a few of our readers said about this week's question of: 

What's best for kids — a hands off approach that lets them fall down every once in a while or one in which parents try to protect their children from sometimes painful outside influences? 

Lynnie Ley: in my opinion, kids who are assisted tend to climb higher than their abilities, and get into trouble. so, no, don't help them. be ready to catch them if they fall, tho! — Darien Patch Facebook

Sarah Chase McLaughlin: Help them!! Different kids get their motor skills at different ages!! Yikes!! when kids are ready to do it on their own, believe me, they tell you!! "Mom, I can do it by myself!" Playground accidents are so sad, and so, so preventable. Instilling independence, and not coddling are essential but not accomplished here. Age approriate challenges within safe environs is key. Ask an ER doc, RN, or paramedic. — Darien Patch Facebook

Julie Premo: As a child clinical and developmental psych in training, let your kids figure it out on their own!!! — Woodridge Patch Facebook

Casey Horne Rutledge: I completely agree with this article. Watching a child discover how to overcome an obstacle is one of the most amazing experiences ever. Over protecting, over awarding, over coaching- over parenting- does not allow our kids to learn on their own or to become independent. Instead, they become dependent on others to make all decisions. How long before the wrong sort are making decisions or suggestions to them? Giving awards for doing things that should be expected creates a false sense of reward without effort. How long before that hurts their chances for true advancement? Watch them try, take note of their struggles and successes, talk it over later, laugh together, offer ideas but not rules and then you will see the true growth of your child. — Lemont Patch Facebook

Jamie Cagney: Let them figure it out on their own! Kids treasure their independence!!! — Western Springs Patch Facebook

Keith Gothard: LET KIDS PLAY. Let them have fun, let them do thing for themselves, and most importantly let kids be kids!!! — Lemont Patch Facebook

Phil Stromberg: I think she nailed it. I've always wondered why I heard parents say "you are going to fall!" at the park. Why put that in their head? — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Dawn Feltz: A parent that stands close while the child figures it out. Safety is just as important as development. — Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Patch Facebook

Pete McDowell: Well, uh, OK. Mind if I draw the line at watching you chuck them in the lake to see if they can swim? Just not sure what your boundaries are. How will you teach them about traffic? Just askin'... — La Grange Patch Facebook

Sandy Brasile: Help them until they get the hang of it. The last thing you want are broken bones!!! — Naperville Patch Facebook

Ray Schneider: A parent should say, "Watch me", then climb up the latter in front of the child to show them how to do it, and then stand behind/under them if the need the extra support. — Geneva Patch Facebook

Noël Gilchrist Rooks: Depends. Are they 1? Then you help. 5? Nope, you can do it. — Geneva Patch Facebook

Tracy Ryder: I have one kid and she's not daring at all. I figure in her own time, she'll be ready. She's 7 and she went for her first over night sleep over at Nanny's on saturday. She cried while she packed her suitcases (3). I said "No one is forcing you to go." She sniffled "I want to go." She cried as I helped her load her stuff into Nanny's car. Nanny yelled "You better make sure you want to go because I'm not bringing you home." I said "You're just a short drive across the river. I'll be there if you need me at 2am, plus we have facetime. We can do that before you fall asleep." She kissed me good-bye and away they went. She had the best time ever. I think it helps them make those giant leaps when they know you're behind them whether they fail or succeed. I feel a Whiteney Houston song coming on. — St. Charles Patch Facebook

Heidi Lynn Lawson: this author is completely right. This is how my parents raised me, and while I have had a few sprained ankles and smashed fingers, I learned that I was responsible for my own successes and failures. And I learned how to navigate my world on crutches too, just another challenge I overcame (a few times). What I didn't read in her statement, nor in the comments I looked through, was how differently parents still respond to this for girls and for boys. If it had been a little boy stuck on a ladder, would the woman have lifted him up? We're collectively still much more likely to let our boys take risks than our girls, and we need to stop it. — Oak Park-River Forest Patch Facebook

What's your take? Add your 2 cents in the comments below. 

Suzanne Matthies January 24, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Do we have to choose between coddling and tough love? How about being flexible and open to the notion that each child and each moment is different. How about blending safety and opportunity. How about being the best role model you can be.


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