Pardon me, if you and I have had this conversation; it may be boring for you to read this.
There's a trend I (and some magazines I've read) have noticed among parents currently--helicopter parenting. It is hovering over your children while they play and constantly directing them, re-directing them, and micro-managing every activity in order to have a controlled environment. This also leads into organizing activities to entertain children. ALL DAY LONG.
These parents cannot have a phone conversation with another human being because they are too busy hovering. These parents cannot get anything done around the house because they are too busy controlling their child's every move. These parents find themselves at their wit's end because they don't have anything planned for their kids to do today, and they're running out of ideas!
Well, I tried to be this kind of parent because I felt guilty for not doing as much with my kids as "so-and-so" was doing with her kids. It didn't work for me. I have always enjoyed letting my kids play in their room with their toys uninterrupted. I get more accomplished that way! I also have noticed that my kids sense that I trust them to handle situations. Occasionally, one will run and tattle on the other one. If I don't feel that it is a severe situation, I will tell them to work it out. If I think they need a mediator, I will step in. I don't ignore them--not entirely, at least. I just don't think it is very easy to be a kid when a grown-up is constantly there bossing you around.
I boss my kids around enough outside of their play time. I have nothing against play groups or outings--hear me out--but I wonder why so many moms feel like they have to be involved in so many activities. I take my kids to the library, sometimes. :) I go over and we play at friend's houses, sometimes. I just don't know for sure that it is always best to constantly try to find a way to occupy them. Plus, your kids learn that they must be entertained in life. And we all know, as adults, entertaining yourself endlessly only leads to sin.
Isn't childhood about playing and make-believe?
My kids spend most of their awake time doing one of three things--playing pretend, coloring, and playing outside on their bikes or in the dirt. Isn't that what adults miss about childhood? Would you miss it if you knew that the entire time a parent would be correcting everything you did while you were trying to have fun?
Now, I will say this: I believe it is my job as a parent to lead my kids in a God-ward direction. I do not allow my children to have a life free of consequences--just the opposite. I hand out consequences all day. However, I don't feel it is my job to make my kid feel like he/she is inadequate at living life. I won't correct EVERYTHING they do. I won't try to protect EVERYTHING we own. I will allow my kids to fail--that is a consequence in and of itself.
I have heard the other extreme of this--free range kids. A lady in NY let her 8 yr old (approx.) ride the subway alone in NYC. That is just stupid. You certainly must not put your children in situations where great danger could befall them. They have been entrusted to us. You cannot deny parental responsibility--and we must not neglect our children.
I hope to be somewhere in the middle on this one. What about you?