How Over-Coddling Has Created Vindictive Protectiveness

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Recently, I saw an article by a mom who said she’s not a helicopter parent – she just enjoys spending the time in the morning before school walking with her son. And I loved it. There’s so much emphasis these days on not hovering over your child that even volunteering in the classroom is suddenly seen as overbearing. For me, this time while our kids are children is flying by too fast and I hope to cherish every moment I can get with them (while trying to juggle work, etc.) and make memories together. I love that I can joke with my middle school child about things that happened when I volunteered for art in her Kinder class. Or that my other kids and I can joke about how grumpy a particular teacher was at their school. That being said, there’s no denying that there’s such thing as over-coddling. In fact, Breezy Mama joined Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rachel Goldenhar and Family Medicine Specialist Dr. Melinda Silva this morning on Fox 5 San Diego for a discussion on the down sides.

First, the basic definition of coddling is over pampering and protecting the child from things that might be “scary” or even upsetting, like hiding the death of a relative, for example, or a tragedy in the news. Never letting them be aware that “bad” things can happen in life, can set them up for major disappointment later.

“A recent article in The Atlantic said that college students are being over sensitive because they were the generation that were over-coddled,” Dr. Silva noted. “They are offended really easily over certain words. For example, there was a law student that didn’t want her teacher to use the word “violate” because it made her uncomfortable. They want to take works of art like The Great Gatsby out of the curriculum because it might invoke too much emotional distress.”

As the article points out, “You might call this impulse vindictive protectiveness. It is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse.”

Dr. Silva’s advice is to “find that balance and not over-coddle them so we give our kids the choices to cope and learn the reality of life. It’s okay to have emotional challenges.”

In short, don’t be afraid to take that walk to school with your child, just don’t over-shield them from reality during your conversations.

To watch our discussion on over-coddling as well as whether video games can have educational value (Yes! Find out why) and if a mom should give advice to her 20 year old, watch here:

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