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How Did We Survive Childhood Before the ’90s Safety Nannies Came Along?

What are the consequences of raising a generation of bubble kids?

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

April 24, 2014 - 11:00 am
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When our first son was born in 1991 we were told to lay him on his tummy at naptime — never, ever on his back because it would increase his risk of choking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). By the time our second child came along in 1994 the experts had decided that parents should never, ever let their children sleep on their stomachs because it increased the risk of choking and SIDS. A month after he was born the experts told us that we needed to buy a wedge that forced our son to sleep on his side. This would prevent choking and lower the risk of SIDS. Thus was our introduction to our generation’s obsession with hypervigilant parenting.

We were instructed to bathe our kids in Purell and to sterilize everything that touched our bubble children. We were also told to instruct them about inappropriate touch from the moment they exited the womb. Instead of letting our children explore the neighborhood, entertaining themselves in the great outdoors, parents were encouraged to prop their children up in front of Dora the Explorer so they could vicariously experience her adventures in the safety of their playrooms (while munching on organic peanut-free multi-grain crackers and drinking hormone-free organic milk). Good parenting also demanded scheduling and supervising every minute of a child’s day.

This video is a nostalgic reminder of the freedom children have lost over the years.

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Top Rated Comments   
The transition from education to indoctrination in the classroom? Nowadays - it is to start school stupid and in 12 years end up more stupid with an attitude.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Anti Darwin Applied;

By protecting them so much the Terminally Stupid have survived.
And they vote Democrat.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
We aren't "thinking about the consequences", we are living them on a daily basis.

""the consequences" = "current governing class".
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (79)
All Comments   (79)
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I will start by saying: I agree with your point. Helicopter parenting is not healthy or a good way to raise a child.

HOWEVER in answer to your question of "How did we survive childhood before the safety nannies came along?" is that many didn't.

My nephew was killed two weeks ago after playing in the street unsupervised. His parents sent him and his brother out to play so they could do other stuff. He and his brother left the yard they were playing in and decided to make a game of racing across a road. He was struck by a car and went into heart failure on the way to the hospital.

As I said helicopter parenting abdicates our responsibility as parents to teach our children to make decisions and how to fail. It deprives them of the ability to mature. I agree we worry too much and there comes a time when you have to put it in God's hands because doing otherwise will drive you crazy (eg the tummy/back sleeping of an infant). But a lot of kids didn't make it out of childhood due to lack of seat belts, bike accidents, falls from high places, and other tragedy. The fact that a majority of people made it through decades without seat belts doesn't mean they don't now save a lot of lives.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the point is we don't need government mandated safety, we need responsible parents.
However, life is risk.
And everybody dies.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Safety consciousness and parenting. The ONLY way to do away with all childhood injuries, diseases and deaths, is to stop having children, and end the human race. The greenies would like that and Margaret Sanger, and AlGore.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boy, do I have pleasant memories of my childhood, and they mirror yours in this article. And I was just mentioning this to a friend yesterday. I rode a bicycle without a helmet, would be gone for sixteen hours a day in the summer exploring the neighboring communities, spending hours searching streams and peering under rocks collecting frogs and salamanders, riding down a hill at sixty-five miles an hour on a ten-speed, putting nearly twenty miles on it in a day, inspecting and exploring construction sites miles from home. Looking back I wonder how I survived it, except that it just wasn’t that dangerous. Even taking a BB gun to a model battleship that we floated on a stream (mine were harder to sink because of my overindulgence in glue at the hull/deck joint). Even plinking with a .22 at tin cans with a neighbor and his father. I remember hitting the same gravel patch on my five-speed spider bike twice in two weeks, the first time pulling the skin off my left forearm, the second, symmetrically, the same huge patch of skin on my right. The gravel came out with soap and water, and to this day I wonder that I have no scar. Then again, maybe it just wasn’t that dangerous. Climbing trees to the very swaying top. Building tree forts that stood the test of time, if not the changes in coding and regulations. Swinging so hard you almost thought you could get over the top and wrap the chain around the crosspiece. Driving without – OMG! – seatbelts, asleep on the back seat. We had baby carriages back then, and not car seats, and we didn’t strap toddlers in with four-point restraints like a NASCAR racer.

We had toy guns that looked like real M1 Garands, that fired real plastic bullets, and cap guns that gave off real wisps of smoke. And the ultra-realistic Mattel Magumba African hunting rifle and pistol set was a beauty. And we played war (if not cowboys and Indians), sort of a militarized hide and seek, and ran and laughed. And we had bows and arrows, some of which we made ourselves. Life was lived outdoors in those days.

It’s sad to see the fear children have today over peanut oil fumes and political correctness, and to see them (and their parents) buried in tapping a touch screen playing Crunch Cookies, or whatever game they have.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
We didn't hang around with adults.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"How Did We Survive Childhood Before the ’90s Safety Nannies Came Along?"


I have asked myself and progressive acquaintances that same question on countless occasions and have yet to come up with an answer from either source. Another question that needs to be asked: "How did we ever become educated enough to survive back then without the myriad of nonsense courses now offered in schools, much less the latest and greatest, common core curriculum?" I feel I should sue someone because I didn't have the benefit of these marvelous tools.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What are the consequences of raising a generation of bubble kids?"

Barack Obama
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mom was scared of snakes and projected that onto me. So whenever I went out in the woods during the spring, she made me carry a little .22 revolver loaded with shot shells. I guess she figured I couldn't blow my foot off with them.

This was during the Reagan Administration, BTW, not the Depression.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
My White kids were born in '85 and '87. The boy was the ONLY one to ride his bike to school here in Westchester County, NY. All the others were driven or bussed. The girl was one of only a FEW allowed to go into NYC by train at age 11. We got FLACK! Well, the people giving us flack have kids who are wrecks, sad to say. Raising strong independent adults requires some risk as kids. Period.
PS, my kids, living within 15 miles of Manhattan learned to shoot before they were ten. They blew up fireworks with us every July 4th! We ran from the cops as a family! Life is to be lived.
You want to shelter your kids until they're 30, be my guest. Yours will probably be the ones doing porn or showing up in the worst ways on the news.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
My kids aren't allowed to leave the house, cross the road or play in a park without supervision. All the mothers I know keep to the same rules, and the fathers, like me, go along with it. I've asked why and it's because there's pedophiles out there, that's universally believed and once in a while traffic dangers too. I asked a friend, a high level Federal policewoman (this is Sydney) about pedophile danger and she said the roving pedophile is close to non-existent, the actual pedophile danger is in the family or with long term manipulators known to the family. She also said that the amount of damage done to children by mothers on mobile phones driving and causing car accidents way exceeds roving pedophile danger. I can't talk my wife out of this one so I take the kids camping and tell them to run free in the campsite. Good news, they're still alive.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Roving Pedophile is indeed the minority, but the problem is, they keep letting them OUT once they're known to offend, and they WILL eventually harm a child.

We have a regular repeitive news cycle here in America....missing girl or boy, and a creep living nearby who is a "Registered Child Sex Offender" supposedly being "monitored" by The State....who, in return for dropping the Death Penalty, leads the police to the shallow grave....

Count on that story occuring every few weeks somewhere in The United States...we KNOW these (prior convicted!) people will eventually rape and then KILL a child, but we let them out of jail anyway...

Some Beautiful Elitists have dreamed up THEIR latest Flow-Chart-Powerpoint-sorting/reporting system to "mitigate" the risk of KNOWN child rapists being free, and every year over 100 children pay the price for such arrogance.....

We have this unfounded reputaion for the "uncivilized" use of The Death Penalty, but in reality is a statistical non-event.

We are extrodinarily soft on "real" crime, a murderer serves on average just six years.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I was 11-12-13 years old, we played ball every day until the ball started hitting us in the head because it was so dark and we could no longer see. Sometimes we paused and pooled our few coins to buy 2-3 bottles of Mission soda ( it was 16 ounces of colored sugar ) and 10-12 kids passed the bottles around. None of us got sick or died from doing it. We often got cut and scraped up a bit on the field. We kept playing until the blood stopped. We learned how to organize, set up rules, and yes, occasionally settle things with fists. But we did it and without adults telling us what to do. And we grew up to be men, not just guys like today.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
My kids did the same thing, and they're older teenagers now. Things haven't changed that much, just some people have.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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