When I sent my 17-month-niece for her baby class (Oct 4, 2008), I was sitting next to a young father who had a phone call. Both of us could see the process in the class through the glass window. I saw his baby boy was trying to climb on a 20-centimenters-trampoline while his wife was talking with the teachers. This young father suddenly hang up his phone and rushed into the class! He got his baby boy in his arms and did not let his baby boy learn by himself (from what I observed).
This young father may seems very caring and has a great affection over his baby boy. But he may have ignored a freedom for his child to discover the world around him. This young father builds barriers for his baby boy to understand more about his surroundings. Every child has a right to discover something on his own.
In that class, there were only 2 babies: that baby boy (16 months) and my niece (17 months). My niece could climb a slide by herself (with her teacher watched behind her), jumped on the trampoline, walked on the long walking board and play balls. That baby boy could not walk yet and he was afraid to do things on his own. He could not jump and climb the slide, for sure. He was afraid to make mistakes and he can’t achieve good developmental tasks according to his age.
Failure or mistake is part of our life experiences. Just as child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University stated, “We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope”. So, the point is about learning, not about avoiding mistakes. When parents aware enough about this, they may be able to overcome their anxiety which translated as being over protective.
Caring over a child and being over protective need to be distinguished very well. Parents may get mixed up because they think it’s all the same. They may think that being over protective is a way of showing love, in fact it is not. Parents make mistakes and so do our children. Let’s learn to be a good moderator for our children. We facilitate their development and support them by giving them a chance to develop their own sense of self.
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