(Stock photo/Brad Killer) We should prepare our children for what they will see and experience in the real world. Instead of putting blinders on their eyes, we put love and respect in their hearts. We teach them right from wrong and lovingly explain to them why wrong behaviors and decisions are not in their best interest.
Protecting Your Children: Insulation vs. Isolation
JUNE 03, 2008Craig Harris, HappyNews ColumnistHow do we protect our children from the evils of the world? Do we shield them from thoughts, morals, and ideas that are contrary to our own? Do we hide them from the dangerous and immoral influences out there?I think a mistake some parents make is trying to isolate their children from the world. We can’t shield their eyes and ears from every evil. Even if we could, it wouldn’t last. The day would come when they fly from the nest and our protective shield is taken down.I submit, then, that we should not attempt to isolate them from the world, but insulate them from it instead.Some parents shield their children to point of letting them watch very little television. The children are not allowed to see movies that are not G-rated. They can’t read most of the books in print because their content is objectionable for some reason. Video games, magazines, newspapers and the internet are all screened to make sure only positive values are let through.On the surface, this seems perfectly healthy. But when you think it through you realize you might not be doing the children such a big favor after all. For one thing, you don’t want your children to grow up culturally or socially ignorant. For another, you may be setting them up for a culture shock that may well overwhelm them. One day, they will be exposed to nearly everything you are hiding from them today. How will they handle that if they are not prepared for it?We all joke that we’d like to hide our kids in a closet until they grow up, but some parents virtually attempt to do this. Every aspect of their children’s lives are controlled, filtered, and protected to the point that they may as well live in Antarctica. Then the day comes when the kids walk out the front door and the protective filters are all gone. They see, hear, read, and experience the real world with its ugliness and hatred. Some will find it new and exciting, and rebel against every value that has been placed on them. Others may go back into hiding.Am I saying that we shouldn’t filter what our children see and experience? Of course not, and reasonable limits should be set on everything. My wife and I don’t prescribe to premium movie channels because there is too much trash there that we don’t want in our home. Some movies, magazines, books, internet sites, and TV shows have no place in front of your children and you have the right and responsibility to block them. And our filters should be set higher for younger children. I fear, however, that some parents try to go too far. Instead of isolating them, we should insulate them. We should prepare them for what they will see and experience in the real world. Instead of putting blinders on their eyes, we put love and respect in their hearts. We teach them right from wrong and lovingly explain to them why wrong behaviors and decisions are not in their best interest. We show them the benefits of a life lived against the grain.Isolation places barriers between them and the world while insulation prepares them for its realities. Isolation teaches them that no one else’s opinion should even be considered. Insulation allows them to hear other ideas with confidence in what they believe. Isolation encourages the children to be dependent on their parents, but isolation encourages self-discipline. Isolation eventually breaks down, but insulation can last for a well-rounded, satisfied lifetime.
You can contact Craig at lcraigharris.blogspot.com