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Over Protection in Society

 Over Protection in Society


Children/teens who have not learned and developed self-governance will require greater outside governance. Any area of a child’s/teens life that is not empowered they become overpowered in. Children/teens who are able to set goals and objectives that in alignment with their true highest values (what is most important to them) automatically become more self-governed, confident and resilient. They are more balanced in their orientation and can face daily pleasures and pains, supports and challenges more equally. They are more problem solving oriented than problem avoiding.

You were dropped off on the freeway when you were 14 years of age. Could you envision parents today allowing their 14 year old son go off alone into the world?  Is this something you would condone, recommend?  

It all depends on the maturity of the teen / young adult – if they are precocious and capable and have been prepared for some of the many challenges and they desire to adventure out early then they might be given a gradual weaning and encouraged to become independent.  The perception of ages has changed; adulthood came sooner in the early part of last century.  Put it into context – 14 then is about 19 or 20 now.  I don’t condemn nor condone freedom at that age – it has to depend on the maturity of the individual teen.

What do you think drives society’s obsession with complete safety; complete pain-free experience of life? What are we afraid of?

Whatever wounds or fears you have not learned to love in your own life, you will probably try and overprotect your teens from it. Hedonism and utilitarianism started the movement that we are supposed to be happy, safe, secure and only good all the time and that it is our unalienable right.  But maximum psychological development occurs at the border of challenge and support.  The fantasy of a utopian world with all peace and harmony, etc… can set up unrealistic expectations and undermine human development and can result in dystopian outcomes. It is wiser to prepare our teens for the realities of life and teach them how to embrace both sides of life – support and challenge, ease and difficulties, pleasures and pains cooperation and conflict. Both are essential. Many people over-protect their children because they are afraid of peer pressure, judgment, or afraid their children will experience something they as parents have not learned to appreciate and love.

Are we limiting the lives and potential of ourselves and our teens with over-protection? In what ways are restrictions and protections harmful?  

Over-protection sets up false securities and does not prepare them for the balanced realities of daily life. It is unfair to paint a utopian idealism and then not prepare them for the other half of life. Law of Eristic Escalation – a social political principle states that whatever methods they try to instil creating peace, order and safety, actually induces conflict, disorder and non-safety in equal proportion, in some counterbalancing form. We have a need for both support and challenge. Accountability, challenge, problem solving and responsibilities are just as essential and build future entrepreneurs and leaders.

Is it possible to reduce harm, pain and discomfort from our lives completely?   

No. Teens who try to avoid all forms of discomfort, simply create internal discomforts or attract external challenges to balance it. If they attempt to escape challenges they breed new ones that follow them like a shadow. If you attempt to remove all challenges, discomforts and pains from your life you would miss out on all that they have brought and taught you. Pain and pleasure are Kipling’s two imposters.

Is there a need for harm, pain and discomfort as part of the human experience?  If so, why?

Teens require challenges to facilitate the birth of innovation, creation, solution and opportunity.  Too much support and ease creates juvenile dependence; too much challenge creates precocious independence.  Pain is part of life – we wouldn’t have pain endings at the end of our fingers if pain wasn’t necessary. There is a book called “Brilliant Function of Pain”, by Milton Ward. It is about people who cannot experience pain and what new challenges they face.  Pain is your feedback – if you medicate it away, you won’t get your feedback. You need pain, discomfort and things that challenge you to grow and to learn by. Because of some people’s unrealistic ideals their lives are more frustrating. Many people today are addicted to unrealistic fantasies of one-sided existences and they are less prepared for real life and they end up depressed. Depression is a result of  comparing your current reality to an unrealistic fantasy you are addicted to and holding on to.  

What are people afraid of?  

People are afraid of: not being educated or knowledgeable enough; not being successful or achieving enough; not being wealthy enough or not making or having enough money or losing money;  Not being loved or having intimacy enough; Not being accepted or being rejected; not being vital, healthy or attractive enough; not being morally or spiritually accepted or right. They are also afraid of losing that which supports their highest values and / or gaining that which challenges their highest values. Their fantasies give birth to their fears, nightmares and phobias. Fear is a feedback to make sure you set true, balanced and strategic goals.

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