Have you heard the expression, "helicopter parents?" Those are the (usually) young parents of small children who are obsessive about keeping in touch with those kids 24/7. They are the parents who buy 6 year olds cell phones so they can be connected at all times. They are the parents who won't let their kids be kids.

Now I'm not saying we shouldn't keep our children safe, but aren't we overdoing it a bit? After all, when I was growing up, getting a bump on the head, a scratch on the arm, or even a black eye from the occasional altercation, was part of being a kid. We were allowed to make mud pies – yes, in real mud – from the back yard after a good soaking rain. My mom didn't obsess about the germs in the dirt. I'm sure I ate my fair share, but Mom (being from the old school) believed a few germs would strengthen my immune system. She was right, because I'm very seldom ill and have taken very few antibiotics in my life. I'm proud to say that I'm on the older side of the Boomer generation, and have never spent a night in a hospital, nor have I ever had a broken bone.

But I did have my share of scraped knees and bumps on the head. And yes, Mom even let me walk two blocks to my best friend's house alone! In the 21st century, that's a sign of an uncaring parent. My goodness, there might be a predator just waiting at the corner for my child. Not very likely. I'm certainly not advocating a total lack of parental supervision, but am suggesting supervision within reason.

Taking Care of Ourselves

When I turned 18, my parents told me that while they would always be there for me, I was on my own. If I wanted to further my education, I needed to work for it to prove I was serious. If not, I needed to find a way to support myself, and I did. Today, kids often don't leave the shelter of their parents home (and nurturing umbrella) until they get married – sometimes at the grand old age of 30 and beyond.

Okay, times are different, but get real. Are parents of today preparing their children for adulthood? How is that possible when we eliminate all risk from childhood? Our youth of today often encounter big surprises when entering the work place. The expectations of employers (sometimes as basic as being at work on time and actually being productive for a full 8 hours) is a challenge. Why? Because they've been over-protected, getting praise for mediocre work, and have been told from birth that they are winners.

Self esteem is a good thing, and necessary if we are to reach our full potential. But an excess of self confidence and high expectations when entering the adult world can be enough to cause a young person to go crawling back to Mommy and Daddy. Parents, is that what you really want, just when you were looking forward to an empty nest? Think about it.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Thompson is the author of Every Generation Needs a New Revolution, How Six Generations Across Nine Decades can Find Harmony and Peaceful Coexistence, Planning for Tomorrow, Your Passport to a Confident Future, a common sense approach to life planning; and A Caregiver’s Journey, You Are Not Alone, a survival guide for working caregivers. To find out more about Linda’s presentations, workshops and publications, visit: http://lifepathsolutions.biz/