Over-Protection, God and Evil
by Luke Nix
The other day I was reading an interesting article about parenting. It brought up two mistakes that today’s parents often make that have crippled the next generation, and many of us. The specific points may shed some light on a couple of challenges that skeptics offer against Christianity.
The article is, Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…And How to Correct Them, by Tim Elmore.
The article is written from a religiously agnostic perspective- Elmore makes no religious appeals to support his conclusions. The first two points in the article are what I want to focus on: the facts that parents are unwilling to takes risks with their kids and jump in too quickly to rescue their kids from “dangerous” situations.
Not Risky Enough
His first point about risks is simply that parents over-protect their kids. They do not allow their kids to do things that may cause even minor harm. Parents are too proactive in protecting children from harm that the children don’t get the important experiences until they are in the real world and have no idea how to react appropriately. Elmore points out that this teaches our children that if there is a risk of any kind of danger, that the risk is too great- it is always better to be safe than sorry, even if the latter possibility is minuscule relative to the reward. This leads to not just a fear of physical activities, but also a fear of failure in general and an aversion to anything that is unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable. This also develops an expectation that when they take a risk, that buffers should always exist to prevent them from getting hurt if they do fail.
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Too Quick To The Rescue
The second point addresses parents’ tendency to jump too quickly if they realize that they have failed to provide such buffers as explained above. The parent sees such a failure to provide a buffer as a failure as a parent. So they attempt to compensate by rescuing the child from the situation before any “harm” can come to them. This results in the child not learning from their mistakes and always expecting that if they fail, then their parents will be there to immediately work against any kind of consequences. Obviously, this leads to an expectation of the real world that simply is not there. Such behavior by the parents seem to be loving in the short-term, but end up being detrimental in the long-run.
I believe that the expectations that these two behaviors by parents promote have profound effects on how the new generation understands that God should be like, since He is referred to as “Father”…