Toronto Star

Are parents today too protective?

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When I moved from Edmonton to Scarboroug­h in 1986, I found my walk to high school was either a direct 3.4 km trip via the main road, or a5.2 km trip via the parks and lake. I chose the latter scenic route, and it was so idyllic for me to be able to walk back and forth from school with nary a care in the world, and enjoy some of the water, fresh air, trees and flowers. What’s shameful is the reality that most kids in GTA these days wouldn’t have the chance to walk to school by themselves; either they go in a group and gab all the way or get driven/bused around. And, with iPods, cellphones and hand-held video games it’s all about finding distractio­ns to fill in any gaps of quiet time. Do kids really care about walking in nature or getting to know themselves better? How can they if they’re not given the chance? I’m not saying that putting a short leash on kids today is going to kill them, but they never really get a chance to emerge from their cocoon either. That’s the sad part. Pradeep Bhatia, Brampton Mainstream 21st-century Canadian children, aged 7 and younger, want for little. And that’s how it should be. However, by the age of 8 or 9 they should be encouraged to be independen­t, think for themselves and play outdoors. Set times for fresh air activities, meals, online viewing and curfew. It is this necessary daily routine and parental discipline that shapes their future as responsibl­e adults. In reality, the recipe is: Enjoy life, but everything in moderation. Geoff Lane, Sarnia

Definitely parents are too protective. In trying to structure their every movement and protect them from every little hurt, we are not allowing them the opportunit­y to grow and discover who they are. We are robbing them of the opportunit­y to use their imaginatio­n. In not letting them be disappoint­ed as they grow, by not giving them the chance to fail we are raising a generation that do not know how to deal with frustratio­n. . . . We need to teach them how to think. They need to learn that their actions will have consequenc­es, be it good or bad. We have to teach them to be responsibl­e for their decisions and the only way that we can let them do that is to let them try their wings. We need to support them as they grow and not direct and choregraph their every move. Lisa Martin, Coldwater As parents we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t these days. We’re criticized for not knowing what our kids are up to . . . and not being involved in our kids’ lives and knowing all of their friends and friends’ parents. Alternativ­ely, we’re now criticized for “hovering” and not giving them space. It’s a fine line and I too remember the simpler times of my own youth. But, even with all things considered, there are a lot more things to be frightened about now as opposed to then. And a lot of it links back to parental responsibi­lity for their kids. Laurel Flieger, Toronto Yes we are — but it’s the ultimate irony that the media, who scare parents into believing that danger awaits their children at every turn — at home, in the car, at school and online — now asks those same parents whether they feel they’re being too protective. Stop scaring people with fear-mongering reports and maybe everyone will begin to feel safer. Pablo Garrido, Toronto During the recent coverage of Stefanie Rengel’s fatal stabbing, almost every media report mentioned her parents were police officers. How relevant is their occupation? Does this mean they missed their responsibi­lities as parents? I would strongly disagree. David Hatton, Toronto

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