Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am Not Over Protective

Many friends of mine with boys went on a boy scout camp out this weekend. They had a lot of fun. The boy scouts seem to be doing things right.

When Sweetheart was a Girl Scout, for one year, parents were not allowed on the camp out. I seriously disagreed with this. My child was in 2nd grade. I wasn't sending her over an hour away from home with people I barely knew to sleep in a cabin with NO ADULTS in it with 20-30 other girls in 30 degree weather. Sorry.

I ended up becoming a leader that year just so I could go on the camp out. Then we quit.

I am afraid that some folks think I am overprotective. But what I think is.....some people are under protective.

Why are people so eager to send their kids away? Why is it OK with them that one of the "main things" Girl Scouts teach is for the girls to be independent from their parents? Why do the parents and families of Boy Scouts all go on the camp out and have a marvelous time? I'll tell you what I think: feminism.

But I really started doubting myself when we heard of American Heritage Girls. It's like a Christian Girl Scouts and I was so excited when I first heard about them. Then I found out that girls Sweetheart's age go on 4 or 5 camp outs per year. Most of those without the families. But Brenda, these are Christian homeschooling moms leading the troops. That's surely OK, right?

Well, not if family is as important to you as it is to me. The more time children spend with peers and the less time with family...the more out of whack things get. I don't want peers to be more important than sisters or parents. I'm not opposed to my children doing things, I just want to do them together. I like to see several Christian families all going camping together. Letting the kids go play...but all right there with their families.

Does any of this make sense?

I'll tell you one more "Brenda is so overprotective" story. A friend I used to teach with and I had Sweetheart and her daughter 5 months apart. When the girls were less than one year old, but both able to sit up in highchairs, S and I met she and her husband at a restaurant. They plopped their daughter down in the restaurant high chair. No seat belt. No buckle. (And yes, she did almost fall out.) They let her drink coke all through the meal. My friend's husband turned and started to offer some of his coke to Sweetheart and I kind of laughed and put my hand in front of her face. "No thank you!" I said jokingly but seriously at the same time. My friend elbowed her husband and whispered, "I told you! That's just how they are." I know they thought we were crazy. We buckled our child in the high chair. We gave her apple juice and cheerios. But what I thought was they were very under protective.

I suppose some of it boils down to differences in parenting styles. But for me, I take very seriously the fact that these children were given to us by God and WE are their protectors. WE are their trainers. WE will answer for how they are raised. I'm not comfortable shipping them off to others all the time to fulfill those duties for us.

I don't care if you want to give your baby coke. That's your choice. But I do care when parents are expected to forfeit their parental authority at younger and younger ages so that children can be independent. That's our ultimate parenting goal I suppose, but it's a long range goal...not one to start when the kids are still toddlers. (Think: parental preschool pressure--He needs to play with friends. You need a break. It would be so good for her. She needs to learn to be around other people besides you.)

And on a side note. I'm all about my kids being "independent" with me there. What I mean is, they do hard things. They learn a lot of jobs. They go play for hours outside without me. I encourage them to try new things. I'm just talking about  them doing those things with us nearby. Not completely independent of their parents.

So what about you? Do others consider you over or under protective?  How do you see yourself?


  1. Brenda, you are not being overprotective you're being a MOTHER. Good for you!

    We have been pushed to put our children into the governments care via daycare, preschool and public school earlier and earlier so now we think this is the way things should be.

    But we have every right and responsibility to shelter and protect our children appropriately until it is time for them to leave the nest.

    You also talked about one of my pet peeves which is other people giving my children food/drink without asking me first. Isn't it common courtesy to ask first "Can your child have_______" (insert here: candy, coke, chips etc). You may not believe in them eating such things but also children learn to chew food at different ages. What may be safe for one could be a choking hazard for another (from my experience anyway).

    Sorry for the long comment but I loved this post! It brought forth a lot of good example and arguments for protecting our children. Kudos to you!

  2. I heard one woman say it like this, "I am not over-protecting my children. I'm preparing them, and they're not prepared yet." Brilliant and spot on. As I can trust my children to manage a situation, the reins will be loosened a bit. But until then, they are not prepared yet.

    People ask me, "When are you going to let them go?" (Usually as my appropriately attired and well mannered children are near by and their prosti-tot 10 year old daughter is testing a giggle/hair toss combination on the nearest boy. Are they completely blind?)

    So my response, "When they can carry concealed legally and guard their own body and soul. Until then, they're stuck with me.

  3. Oh I am a hover mom! I am over protective (in the world's eyes) I drive SOME of my family crazy BUT whatever... they are my responsiblity and that is that!

    I am with you... I became a leader for the SAME reason. I dont drop my kids off places and LET them be... I stay and sit in the corner---which by the way is allowign them independance but still being near for what they need (which they DO)

  4. I heartily agree! Wish there were more moms like you out there. Maybe it all started when I was a kid...walking to school with my older sister, a man who later kidnapped a girl in my grade, pulled up to us and asked if we wanted a ride. We were across from the school and my sister yelled no and ran me across the street. So it's always been a reality to me. But it is also in all the little things, like strapping in seats, and being careful what influences are being allowed. I also like Q's comment about preparing children.

  5. I think you are right, and I don't blame you. Get away from those people who are accusing you of being over-protective. In our world today, you can't be too over-protective.

  6. Totally overprotective!
    Did you read the story two weeks ago about the man who was waiting in the ladies stall for someone to come in at a Cafe Express restaurant? Turns out, a little girl came into the stall with her mother and saw the man watching them use the bathroom. What do you think would have happened to that little girl had she gone to the bathroom by herself with her mother only waiting outside the bathroom doors or worse yet, not even waiting for her at all? Inside his bag he had duct tape, narcotics, rope and other such stuff. This was in an area close to us also! It baffles me that people are so quick to let their children loose because it cramps their style or they are just too lazy to watch over the child. Those are the ones you see on tv saying "I just turned by back for a second", when in reality it's more like 10 minutes or longer. They are the ones who make fun and poke at parents like us who take watching and protecting over our children seriously.

  7. Awesome post! We fall in the same category of appearing to be over protective, according to the world:) I can remember as a kid how much time I had to myself while both my parents worked till they came home for supper. I remember all the shows I watched unsupervised, and all the books I read that they never knew about. That fostered a real sense of independence from my parents which blossomed as I became a teen/young adult. Not a good thing, let me tell you. My past life choices can tell you that :)You might say that kids will do that anyways, but it doesn't have to be that way. I monitor our children constantly, they're not always aware of that fact. Behind the lines, and in front of them. Thanks for your thoughts , Brenda:)

  8. I just experienced this exact thing with Girl Scouts. My oldest daughter has been in Girl Scouts for 4 years. I was a co-leader up until last year. Our troop disbanded and my oldest daughter joined my youngest daughter’s troop. This is her second year and she is only 6. The leader wanted to have a sleep over at her house that was doubling for a campout, but sleeping inside. She was having 19 girls to her house. She had asked if we were coming and I had said yes. So a couple days before the campout I was surprised to find out I was not invited. I called the leader and told her that I didn't feel comfortable with that. She said that was the Girl Scout way. They wanted to encourage girls to be independent from their parents. Well I told her that wasn't our way and if my girls were going to attend I would need to come. I told her I would also help out while I was there of course. She relented and come to find out, 2 adults aren't enough for 19 girls and she really needed my help.

    This brought to light an important point about Girl Scouts. They aren't in it for the family. They are in it for the girl and that isn't a message I want my girls to embrace.

    Shortly after I was asked at a homeschool meeting about Girl Scouts and for the first time in 4 years I didn't suggest they join.

    I do want my girls to learn how to function in this world, but I never want them to think that they are in it alone. I want them to grow up and be confident young women who love God, family, and country. However, I just don't think the Girl Scouts are going to be of much help in that goal. It saddens me because we were really looking forward to working on Bronze award this year with my oldest daughter (11) and looking forward to future awards that could lead to college scholarships, but it just isn't worth it.

    I don’t mean for this to be a rant about the Girl Scouts, but as you pointed out, we are expected to give up parental rights and privileges younger and younger. Six years old is WAY too young to be camping out without a parent and they even thought so in the spring when they were trying to plan a campout. At that time I was told that my Daisy Scout couldn’t attend unless I was going to be there! I thought maybe it was just this leader, but now I see it isn’t.

    Schools are no different. They want your involvement if it means getting homework done, but how dare you share your personal and religious beliefs with your children if it goes against their political agenda. Our state recently changed from half day kindergarten to full day. WHY? Why is it necessary for me to give up my child? Society gets very upset when they believe parents aren’t doing their job, but yet they are taking my job away from by force!

    Anyway, you are not overprotective. You are rational.

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  10. Totally agree Brenda! I have had to deal with this with our church youth group. They take several trips a year, some out of state. My 14 yr. old daughter has gone to none, and I am considered over protective. I don't think she should go on trips with the youth group more often than she does with her own family. We'll go to Disneyland as a family, thank you very much!

    Thanks for the great post!


  11. I'm shocked at what has become of the Girl Scouts!! Sure different from when I was one "back in the day." (I'm 57.) It now seems to be totally feministic.

  12. Andrea, I'm actually glad to hear your story. It wasn't just our troop! And my daughter REALLY loved earning the badges and having her little vest. She was kind of sad but there were other reasons I could give her 8 year old self at the time (it's too far away--remember how much you hated that drive every week?). Daddy just told her the next time she asked, "They don't believe like we believe." It is a shame. The boy scouts seem to be having fun....

  13. Oh, and mine went to the sleepover and I picked her up at 9:00pm. She got to do most of the fun stuff. THe leader asked me to reconsider as I stood in her door waiting on my daughter to get her stuff. I chickened out and blamed her dad. She rolled her eyes and said, "Fathers are the worst!"

  14. I would say I'm a little of both. I do agree with protecting their eyes, ears, and hearts. I do not allow my children to spend the night at others homes. Simply because you don't know what goes on. I was a kid once and I know all of the things that got me going the wrong way. We are supposed to train our children so that when they're on their own, they know what to expect. We are not supposed to just throw them out there and expect them to learn about life by themselves. On the other hand, my children drink out of cups after someone else drank out of them, they drink coke, they sit in high chairs without buckles, they play in the dirt, etc. lol. I'm not poking fun of anyone, just have a different outlook. Thank God for good immune systems! I am sad, however, that the world is not a safe place for our children anymore.

  15. Girl, you are speaking my language! I could not begin to list the disagreements we have had with our families over this exact same thing (some of them have really changed our relationships with them). I say, "I am not willing to sacrifice my intuition on the alter of keeping the peace or not hurting someone's feelings."

  16. Devina, I am sad about that too. And about the germs....I agree. Mine go outside and get perfectly disgusting. I am not about telling them "no" to every little thing they might want to try...I just want to be there while they do it!

  17. It's encouraging to hear your thoughts. So often I feel like I am out of whack for what I won't let the girls do, but if I think about it, I have peace inside about the decisions and that matters.

  18. My kids are protected but not babied.We do not let them out of our sight in public and we only attend family camp and that sort of thing together.We LOVE family church camp.

    My children are taught responsibility they do laundry and cook and clean and do yard work and make a grocery list and pump gas and use an atm and carry on a conversation with an adult and entertain a younger child and cuddle a baby and show respect to all people even those who may be irritating.My oldest when available even corrects my spelling.They of course are not perfect they are related to me after all and I would rather go to the park or the library or redecorate a room than clean anything.LucyT


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)