I always worry that we protect our daughter too much. I worry we hover too much. I worry we don’t let her just “be a kid” enough. Then we spent a lot of time at the park this weekend…
I suspect she gets it from daycare, but she was running and climbing with much more confidence than I ever remember. She used to always want us to follow her, and help her. Now, she doesn’t appear to even think about asking for help unless she’s really stuck.
We were first time parents with her. So, a little hovering is probably to be expected. The husband and wife who provide daycare services for her, have had a lot more experience with kids. So, I imagine when she is climbing over the side of the couch, or standing on a chair, the reaction is a little more subdued than when we see her do the same thing.
Oh, it isn’t that they aren’t looking out for her. They are like grandparents to her, and they love her very much. I think they just know that kids are pretty durable. We’re still working on convincing ourselves of that.
Anyhow, back to the park. There was a little girl there who appeared to be about my duaghter’s age. My daughter noticed her right away because, despite the fact we were on the other side of the playground, as soon as this girl sat in the same swing my daughter was sitting in 15 minutes earlier, my daughter had to run over there and have a tantrum. “That’s my swing!” After getting her to accept going in the swing next to it, it was the other girl’s turn, “I don’t want her to swing next to me!” The other girl’s parents and I exchanged understanding glances.
I continued to watch the other girl and her parents as they made their way around the playground. At the smallest of the slides, after being helped up the stairs by her mother, the little girl didn’t want to go down the slide. “C’mon, it’s okay. Daddy will meet you at the bottom!”
They continued to stick close and help their kid climb and slide, etc. It was at that point that an earlier comment by her parents came back to me, “She’ll be three next month.” She was actually older than my daughter.
But my point wasn’t to judge these parents — I think every parent should, well, parent as they see fit (as long as it is within the law). This experience was more of an eye opener in that, maybe we aren’t as over-protective as we thought. Maybe we are just as protective as we would like to be.
Maybe we should feel good about the job we are doing as parents.