|Photo credit: WallpapersWide.com|
I've been reading lots and lots of articles about failure to launch. I've been looking into it from an autism perspective to try to help my son be able to leave our little nest. (I love all my kids, but I also look forward to a day when Sean & I have an empty nest...except on special occasions.) There are a lot of stories about kids with autism who can never leave home. Nathan is capable of learning to live on his own and it's a goal we have for him in his life. He should be able to have a job, have a apartment or home, and live a full and fulfilling life.
In the midst of all these articles, I'm reading over and over again that we, the parents, are creating the problem ourselves by insulating our children too much. It is being determined that "Failure to Launch" comes from an overwhelming fear of failure. Remember when we were kids? I grew up knowing the rule was, "Come home when the streetlights come on." None of the moms in our neighborhood ever really knew where their kids were...unless the pack was currently hanging at her home. When you wanted to find your kids, you yelled up and down the street until they came running. There were boundaries, of course. We knew how many houses we were allowed to be at. Don't deviate from those 6-8 homes without telling the folks. But now, we are giving our kids cell phones in grade school. We don't let them outside without supervision. They can't cross the street without us. Parents are taking away all the risks that kids used to take. And if you don't take risks in the little things (like crossing a street), you'll never learn the protocol for taking a risk. If you don't know how to take a risk, you won't. You'll live in dad and mom's basement forever. Because if you got an apartment and can't pay the rent, you would be evicted--and that's too scary.
I'm beginning to feel like we do nothing but wrap up our kids in bubble wrap. We don't let them make a mud pie - too messy and too germy. We don't let them drink from a hose--the horror! They have never heard the phrase 'come in when the streetlights come on'.
And today, my daughter yells in to ask if she and her friend can play in the back yard...umm...sure! Isn't that why Dad & Grandpa put in a giant playplace? So I go look out and realize it's covered in snow. And--get this--precious Rebekah didn't listen when she went out to play and I said, "Put a coat on." So here is my daughter and her friend, both without coats, playing on the play area covered in snow. (Now, it is almost 50 today, and after the nothing but below freezing and below 0 temps, it feels like a flip flops kind of day.)
As I took these photos, I'm thinking...who in the neighborhood is a bad parent for letting her kid play in snow without a coat? I almost had guilt...and then laughed. I'm letting her take a risk. I've already calculated the odds and she won't die. She may be cold, she may get wet from snow, but she will live to play another day. And she will learn that playing in snow makes you take the risk of getting wet and cold...but you will live. I guess I'm not so bad of a mom after all.
Have you let your children take risks?