We Don’t Shelter Our Children. Here is Why.

Today we have an epidemic. Most people see it. Those who do not see it are in denial and quite possibly part of the problem.

When you have grown ups believing it is ever okay to throw a drink at someone’s face because you disagree with their political views then there is a huge problem. Drink throwing only works in the movies folks. Yes, I would love to throw a drink in an exes face, or in the face of someone who has hurt me, maybe I have even fantasized about it a time or two. It’s not for real life though people. There in lies the difference between many adults and those who are masquerading as adults. The actual adults know the difference between reality and fantasy.

Fantasy is believing everyone needs to agree with you or else they are evil. Fantasy is believing words and actions have no consequences. Fantasy is not knowing the sometimes stark realization of reality and not being able to cope when it hits you. Fantasy is believing your first world problems are ACTUAL problems.

Reality is the opposite. Reality is knowing not everyone is going to agree with you and still showing them respect. Reality is knowing life will not always go your way and knowing how to cope. Reality is knowing going without a dishwasher or dryer is not truly a problem or having to wait in a thirty minute line to eat that fancy dinner is not a real problem, it is an inconvenience sure. Problem? No. Not having clean water to drink or food to eat, now that is a real problem.

Where is the breakdown? Why do so many now adults struggle with knowing the difference between fantasy and reality? I cannot speak for everyone but I do know in many cases it has do to with being sheltered as a child.

Please hear me out. I am not talking about being protective. I believe there is a huge difference between being protective of your child and sheltering your child. We need to protect our children. It is our job as parents to guard their childhood and their hearts. They only get one childhood. We should want our children to look back on their lives and childhood with fondness and good memories. They shouldn’t have to look back and feel heartbreak and pain.

My husband and I do our best to protect our children. We have boundaries with other people, boundaries that we don’t feel bad about. We have safety measures in place to protect our home, children and ourselves. Our children know it’s important to be kind to other people but if someone is making them feel uncomfortable it is 100% okay NOT to be kind by protecting themselves. They know what to do if they are ever to get lost. They know what safe touch and bad touch is. Their safety and protection is always on the forefront of my mind.

With that said, what do I mean then when I say I don’t shelter my children? I mean I don’t shelter them from the realities of this world. You can tell the difference between a person who understand the realities of the world and a person who doesn’t have a strong grasp of reality. Look at the Presidential Election from 2016 and you can see the obvious break down. When you have college students needing safe spaces because they can’t deal with the realities of a Presidential Election, then you have to ask yourself, what is really going on? This is when you start having adults, people over the age of 18, who cannot handle reality because they were never prepared for it.

That is why we don’t shelter our children.

No, I don’t allow them to watch everything under the sun and listen to inappropriate music. That is not what I am talking about either. We protect our children from inappropriate situations, including movies that have hidden messages or adult programs.

We don’t shelter them from the realities of this world. My oldest daughter has been to 4 funerals in her short life so far. We have explained to her in terms that a child can understand, what it going on. What is death? What happens after death? Why do people die? What is a funeral?

Our children ask hard questions and we don’t shy away from answering them in terms that a child can understand. We go and visit their brother’s grave site often, with them. They know about sickness and heartache. They know that sometimes life just isn’t fair.

They also know you can still enjoy your life, love it and love people. Because we show them by our actions and also with how we talk to them.

Our children know that not everyone is going to agree with you. They have seen healthy disagreements take place amongst family and friends. Never do the disagreements get physical nor do they result in name calling and purposefully hurting one another. That is why I call it a healthy disagreement. Because after the disagreement we agree to disagree and leave it at that. We don’t allow the disagreement to come between what is more important. Relationships.

Our children know that not everyone is a safe person.

They know that not everyone is as blessed as we are, that there are children who don’t have warm beds and food in their belly.

But they are only children. Don’t they have time to learn the harsh realities of life? No. If today’s society shows us anything, it is what not to do with your children. Don’t shelter them. Don’t try to keep them from feeling hurt and disappointment when someone doesn’t agree with them or when they lose a game, feel left out etc. Yes, it’s normal to want to protect our children from this sort of pain, but don’t. Don’t keep realities from them, do not miss a chance to instill compassion and gratefulness in them.

When you do shelter your children from realities, you have “adults” throwing drinks in the faces of other people they don’t agree with and needing safe spaces because they don’t know how to cope with an election result. Don’t you want resilient children? I know I do. You do not know what life is going to throw at you. If we shelter our children from realities of the world, then we have failed to raise decent and contributing members of society, children who grow up into adults who know how to have relationships with those they don’t agree with. Adults who know how to treat other people with respect, despite their views.

Isn’t that what we all want?

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