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Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Years ago, maybe 25 years ago, I coined a phrase, "hot-house-plant-kids" when describing children raised in the past 20 years in America and Great Britain. I am not opening up this discussion to Asians, please, as that is not the context of this post. This is about my experiences in the West.

The generation after me of parents, the Gen X and now Millennials, treated their kids like rare orchids, living in a culture of fear and over-protectiveness. This causes children to lack confidence in their real abilities and be grounded in their limitations.

I knew several families where the kids never walked even a mile or less to school in rural towns, which are still safe as Eden.

Part of the problem was the idea that kids had and have to do EVERYTHING. I am of the opinion that two extra-curricular activities are enough.

But not, little Carole or little Nicholas has to be taking an instrument, swimming lessons, ballet or baseball, and soccer or hockey.

Well, that meant that the kids spent a lot of time in cars and parents became chauffeurs.

Maybe I was mean, but my kid walked to swimming and was only in two extra-curriculars at a time. He took the electric train in Calgary all by himself at twelve. I did not want him to be afraid of new things and learn to cope with basic things, such as transportation. Now, I recognize that Calgary in 2000 is not Chicago in 2012. But, how do we train our children to be persons who can think and cope with real situations which are basically safe?

This was and is because I believe in both independence and PLAY. Independence creates confidence and the ability to think in terms of common sense. And hasn't common sense disappeared? Because kids are not allowed to do nonconstructive things or to figure out how to do something new and different, they cannot think out normal, everyday problems. They lack instincts.

Play is non-constructed creative time, using material hopefully simple and natural.

Boxes, string, marshmallows, pipe cleaners, paint, clay, etc.

I am against the "hot-house-plant" type of parenting.

Let kids be kids.