Kids Need Risks

A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor contacted me to ask if I thought kids today were over protected. Here are a few comments I gave her.
About 20 years ago, I directed day camps and worked with thousands of kids. Young campers would jump in creeks, go off rope swings, ride their bikes over homemade jumps and not be afraid to get dirty. Now kids complain if they get a dab of paint on their hands while painting a picture. Last month, I had a 10-year-old tell me he’s never used a hammer because his parents think it’s dangerous. In fact, I’ve had parents visit our house before letting their kids come over because they think our rope pulley, pond and two huge sheep are too dangerous. In my parenting sessions, I encourage parents to let kids take risks. If you’re at the airport, going on vacation, let your 11-year-old find the right gate, hand tickets to the agent and find the security line. If Grandma sends your son an ugly sweater, let him talk to the store clerk about making an exchange. Encourage kids to build forts and make their own skateboards. The creativity and self confidence they gain are worth more than any educational video game.

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