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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Coddling Children and Helicopter Parents

For a generation, parents were told that positive-reinforcement and praising of children was critical for self-esteem and success.
However, many now view Millennials as self-absorbed and spoiled. Some sociologist believe children do need boundaries and should not be indulged. Decades of behavior are hard to change.

In fact, the years of parents being overprotective of their children has resulted in the complete sterilization of public schools.
In reaction to parents over zealously deferring blame from themselves and their children, then placing it on the education system, schools are now cautious about every action they take.

Here are just a few examples of how how extreme this has become:

"Parents raise $35,000 for school climbing frame… which is immediately closed down in case a child is injured on it

I've seen, and played on, structures 10x worse...

"Parents had spent months raising $35,000 to pay for new climbing frame outside Stratford Landing Elementary School, in Fairfax County, Virginia - and claim they worked with authorities to ensure the site met required standards.

But before a child could set foot in the playground, authorities performed a last-minute U-turn and deemed it to be a hazard.

"The school's facilities department insists the new equipment must be dismantled.

However, Fairfax has pledged to spend about $135,000 from the county’s coffers replacing the equipment.

"Although parents worked with the Fairfax County Public Schools facilities department, purchased the equipment, hired a contractor and had the playground ready for recess, the school system suddenly deemed the play equipment too dangerous. Since November, last year, it has been off-limits, parents say.

The same equipment is installed at more than 1,200 parks and schools across the country, including a public park in the county.

According to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children visit emergency rooms annually after playground accidents.
" (Daily Mail)
While this is a dumb decision by the school, it's hard to blame them for wanting "approved", "safe "structures.
Instead of brushing it off as a playground accident, if a child is injured during recess, it is now normal to blame and/or sue the school, town, principal, and everyone in between for the injury.

Side note: What is with this wood chip crap? Who decided chunks of wood and splinters are safer than sand?

Then there is the overreaction to guns...

Yes, guns are dangerous and have no place in a school.
PopTarts? Not so much...

School suspends 7-year-old for biting Pop Tart into shape of gun

Pew-pew (Not the actual weapon used in the incident) (via HuffPo)

"A 7-year-old Maryland boy has been suspended from school after biting his breakfast pastry into a shape that his teacher thought looked like a gun.

Josh Welch, a second-grader at Park Elementary School in Baltimore, said he was trying to nibble his strawberry Pop Tart into a mountain.

"It was already a rectangle and I just kept on biting it and biting it and tore off the top and it kinda looked like a gun but it wasn't," Josh said. "All I was trying to do was turn it into a mountain but it didn't look like a mountain really and it turned out to be a gun kinda."

But when his teacher saw what he had done, the boy says she got "pretty mad" and he knew he was "in big trouble."
" (News Channel 5, Ohio)
OK, maybe this one we can blame on the school administration...
But it doesn't stop with the suspension. Breakfast pastries are very scary so the school also sent a letter home with every student detail the event and declared that a counselor would be on-hand to talk to any child traumatized by it.

Luckily, I'm not the only one who thinks this is crazy. I can always take solace in the internet:

The sad thing is that incidents like this pop up with increasing frequency.
When can we back up and let a little common sense take over?

I don't think I need to post any more examples to further prove my point, but if you're interested here are a few sources that regularly post on the illogical nature of school-related coddling and overreaction:
Lowering the Bar- Focused on law and legal absurdities
Consumerist- Consumer product and company centric
Barstool Sports- Occasionally posts on sports

As much as these incidents annoy me, I also find them somewhat humorous, so I'll often tweet about them as well.

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