Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When does safety become sheltering?

This article from the New York Times suggests that taking risk away from children's play can actually be detrimental to their emotional health in the long-run:
“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway. “I think monkey bars and tall slides are great. As playgrounds become more and more boring, these are some of the few features that still can give children thrilling experiences with heights and high speed.”

This reminds me of those e-mails and Facebook messages I see occasionally, that say something to the effect of "When I was a child we played outside and drank from the hose, we survived and today's children should do that too." I suspect that each generation bemoans the way the current generation of children is being treated, but I also think that that this article has some merit. I wonder if it's possible to have a discussion about the value of raising children with some risk without turning it into a rant about "kids these days." 

Original article here. 

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