As I said a couple of posts ago (here), I have been accused of sheltering my children. I have had some comments about that since that post and it set me thinking…why does the word ‘shelter’ have such negative connotations when it comes to child-raising?
shelter |ˈ sh eltər| noun ~ a place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger.
I see it like this.
I am sheltering my children – giving them temporary protection from danger – until they are able to cope with that danger themselves.
If you think about it in terms of a physical danger, say, a storm, for instance. I would drive them to safety, make sure they were out of the wind and the rain, not in danger of being struck by lightening and keep them calm and encourage them to be brave until the storm passed. I would not deny there is a storm outside. We would talk about the dangers of the storm. We would talk about what can happen if we are not aware of storms and the damage they can do. We might even talk about people we know who didn’t take notice of the signs of a storm coming and found themselves exposed and in danger when it hit.
So with my children and the ‘dangers’ in the world, I am merely doing the same thing.
Sheltering our children does not mean that we are not educating them or denying them knowledge of the world and all that’s in it, good and bad. Sheltering is simply protecting our children until it’s ‘safe’ for them to go out into the world.
Allowing our children to walk out the front door in the middle of a thunderstorm would not be responsible, nor do I think any parents would allow it. So why do parents, not only allow their children to walk out the door, but often leave it open and give them a big push through it, far before they are equipped and ready to deal with what’s out there?
I am proud to say I shelter my children, that I protect them from dangers they are too young for and not yet ready to handle.
I kinda thought that was what a parent did.