Don't overprotect; teach children to
do the right thing
NOTE: THERE ARE TWO BOOKS AT THE END OF THIS PIECE
Eighty percent of parents surveyed did not think
alcohol and marijuana are available at parties their teens attend while
50 percent of teens said the parties they attend did have both
substances regardless of living in a city or suburbia.
That's according to the National Center of Addiction
and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and published in an article
by Heather Gehlert titled "Parents Misjudge Teen Access to Drugs and
Alcohol" and printed in The Tampa Tribune, Aug. 20. Parents do
not know what their teenagers are doing even though they might know
where they are. As children get older they eventually face many forms of
temptations of which parents are unaware. Modern parents are under the
illusion they somehow can protect their children throughout their lives
by imposing their will to control the child's world.
This unrealistic notion is based on the following
- The children will be under their direct supervision
throughout the parents' lives.
- Their power will be sufficient to dominate other
authority figure's attempts to discipline their child.
- Their lives must end simultaneously with or only
after their child's as they will always be there for them.
This juvenile and illogical thinking can be seen when
a father races onto the football field and knocks down a child on the
opposing team of his son's Pee Wee football. A mother gives a verbal
tongue-lashing to her 6-year-old daughter's friend at school because the
daughter was not invited to her birthday party.
It is also seen when a 35-year-old college
graduate divorcee moves back into his parent's home rent-free since his
parents feel responsible for his inability to function as an adult.
Instead of teaching their children "how to fish," modern parents want to
catch, prepare and personally feed their children the fish.
A more mature strategy is to teach the children to be
The wisdom of teaching a child how to behave when the
parent is not there should be obvious. Although many modern parents are
under the impression their omnipresence as a parent of a young child
will continue as the child grows into a teenager especially now with the
use of cell phones and cars with global positioning systems.
It will not.
Parents are running interference for their pampered
children attempting to protect them from the hard knocks of life. The
over-controlling of their children's lives robs them of the unsupervised
interactions with their peers that help children gain coping skills.
Controlling the home environment is do-able. The
parent can determine the people who enter the house, the food eaten, the
sleep schedule and almost every aspect of an infant's life.
However, there is no way a parent can directly monitor
a child through adulthood. No matter how hard parents work at choosing
the right preschool, sit in viewing rooms watching their child do drama,
gymnastics or karate their child will be confronted by peers and
authority figures in ways the parent does not appreciate.
As the child gets older it becomes impossible to
micromanage his world. Sleepovers, being dropped off at the movies,
attending concerts or just hanging out in shopping malls creates
situations that cannot be directly supervised or evaluated by parents.
Instead of attempting to overprotect our children, it
is better to teach them to do the right thing even when the parent is
not there. Parents need to share the wisdom of their experiences with
Children should be taught to develop a moral
compass through moral training.
- will power and
- critical thinking training
take the sacrifice of time and energy of the parents. This
training provides correct thinking and behaving that is essential to
function at the highest level.
People who have learned how to befriend, avoid,
compromise and confront depending on the situation will have the
ability to be successful.
Children should be prepared at home for life outside
the home. When parents apply their skills at childrearing, they will
train their children to develop self-control and function well without
the parent's direct involvement.
Children who possess a strong foundation in moral
values and competencies will be able to achieve their potential.
Parents, do your homework when your children are
young. You will be able to relax as they mature and reap the benefits of
your work by thankfully watching them fly on their own when they reach
Dr. Maglio is the director of Wider Horizons School in
Spring Hill. and the author of "Invasion Within" and "Essential
Invasion Within: Overcoming the Elitists' Attack on Moral
Values and the American Way
By Domenick Maglio
Essential Parenting, Revitalizing and
Remoralizing the Family in the 21st Century
By Domenick J. Maglio Phd, Julie Maglio
Dr. Domenick Maglio
3 October 2006