Why Protection in the Playground Robs Children of their Resilience

Children in the PlaygroundI sometimes wonder if we as parents and our schools have gone too far in over-protecting our children, pandering to their whims, and being hell-bent on saving them from accidents or disappointment in their young lives. Remember that old saying from the fairground… “Every Player Wins a Prize!” But should they? We all know that’s not the reality in the real world and we may be risking future emotional harm by trying too hard to smooth out the bumps in the road for our children during their formative years.

Political correctness gone mad and ‘safety first’ may be responsible for breeding a generation lacking in resilience who throw in the towel at the very first falter or knockback. I remember days of falling on the hard ground and skinning my knee; cutting my arm on a nail sticking out of the billycart I and my brother had built; breaking a collar bone in a football tackle; and discovering that what I thought was a ‘best in class’ composition only gaining me a B-.  Yet eventually the knee and the arm healed; the collarbone knitted together and I knuckled down and tried harder on my next classroom assignment.

And yes there was the occasional schoolyard falling out between friends when lunchtime games went awry, but ultimately we sorted things out and made up again the next day without the need for adults to come in and impose their ‘play fair’ rules upon us.

So if you like me, feel that protection pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction here is a wonderful story about a radical new move to back away from over protection in the schoolyard. It originates from my old home town in Auckland, New Zealand.

I read this story on Australia Day and it is sourced from ONE News in NZ. The headline reads “School Ditches Rules and Loses Bullies.” Now that piqued my interest. Here’s the gist of it… [Read more...]