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If you haven’t read “Please Don’t Help My Kids,” do that now and then come back here.

You know I make jokes about my “independent good time” together approach to parenting but I’m not totally joking. The author makes some points that I completely agree with: allow children to discover what they are capable of and permit them to challenge themselves.

I don’t lift my kids up on climbing equipment they would not otherwise be able to do for themselves.

“I want them to tire of their own limitations and decide to push past them and put in the effort to make that happen without any help from me.”

Yes. The purpose of playing and climbing is to explore and develop. I’m on board. The author’s still got me.  And then she says this:

“It is not my job — and it is certainly not yours — to prevent my children from feeling frustration, fear, or discomfort.”

Okay… well. It might not be my job and there is no way to truly prevent those feelings, but I try hard to ease my daughters’ feelings of frustration, fear, and discomfort. Because it’s my job? Maybe not. Maybe because my heart compels me to do it. There is so much pain in life. There is so much fear that will occur in childhood, and eventually immeasurable amounts in adulthood, that if I can prevent a bit for my daughters now, it would be kinder. And I also believe that children who experience less early frustration, fear or discomfort have more confidence in and love for themselves.

And then the author says that it isn’t up to her to prevent her kids from falling.

“It is not my job to keep them from falling. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that falling is possible but worth the risk, and that they can, in fact, get up again.”

Eek. This is a “tires screeching” end to my agreement. Preventing my children from falling is my job — like it is my basic natural job as a mammal (not even as a human) to prevent physical harm to my young. I’m not extending the metaphor. It is not my job to challenge my children’s teacher’s grading. It is not up to me to settle playground disputes. But it is my job to make sure my kid doesn’t fall off playground equipment at the park. Basic. Parenting. Requirement. I’m not sure if the author was just trying to push the analogy.

As for other people’s involvement with my children: as a basic understanding, I’m not okay with the idea of strangers interacting physically with my children on any level even if we are both parents on a playground. But … if my kids are falling, PLEASE HELP THEM.

We’d love to hear you thoughts. Leave them here in the comment section or send us a message.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with mild germaphobia, excessive self-reflection, enthusiastic television viewing, and misguided adventures in random hobbies.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Gee, I hope the author of “Please Don’t Help My Kids” just got a little carried away with the analogy of the challenges faced at a park and all the challenges faced in life. A kid’s life is filled with trying and failing, otherwise s/he would never learn the basics of lifting their heads, sitting up, or walking. While my kids largely accomplished these tasks on their own, I saw no harm in using a “boppy” to aid with the unpleasantness of tummy time, halting the tippage of my wobbly pre-sitter-upper, and holding his/her hands while learning to walk. In the same way, at times I will help my kids at the park. Sometimes it may just be to help him or her reach the goal that is just beyond his or her grasp, both literally and figuratively, (how else will my kid be able to reach those monkey bars that are too high up or make it down that oh so tall fire pole?) and other times just to make the park a bit more fun. Don’t worry, my kids suffer and struggle…. they have me for there mom… and i do like a-sittin’ at the park 🙂 Btw I am sure the author of the aforementioned article is a great mom, different strokes for different folks.

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