Is it just me, or is this parent going completely overboard?
Not to far from my home in Toronto, a woman is trying to convince the local school board to remove all of the oak trees near her childrens’ school. You can read the story from our local paper here It’s bordering on nutty, in my opinion, and I’m not afraid to say so.
Here’s the deal: The woman has two teenage children who suffer from anaphylactic reactions to certain foods due to allergies. She’s worried that the acorns, the hard nuts that fall from oak trees at this time of year, pose a threat to her kids and others who suffer from severe allergies.
So she’s gone ahead and asked the school board to remove the trees.
Seriously? Medical experts are saying that you’d literally have to eat these acorns to cause any kind of allergic reaction. And people don’t eat these things. Squirrels eat them. People with severe allergies could handle the acorns and not suffer any reaction.
What can parents learn from this kind of behavior:
1. It’s easy to get emotional about a situation and over-react. Who knows what caused this woman to suddenly want to take action against the oak tree “danger”. It’s easy to us to say that this woman is being irrational, because she is an adult. But remember that when our kids are irrational, we often try to use logic to persuade them to take a different view. Logic rarely works. Parents should focus on dealing with the emotional states, which drive the behavior.
2. Helicopter parenting is the phrase used to describe parents who watch over their kids WAY too closely. Avoid becoming one of these hovering parents. Unless there is real danger, let your kids make their own decisions, let them explore the world (or playground, or toy box, or whatever) and stop micro managing. It doesn’t help. My guess is that this woman, petitioning to kill the oak trees, has not even bothered to ask her kids if the acorns worry them.
So she’s likely making a problem where there is none to begin with. If the so-called “problem” affects the kids, then ask them about it. See what they think. This should remind all parents that your kids are pretty smart. When you have an issue and don’t know how to handle it, and it involves them … ask them! Ask your kids what they think? You’ll be surprised sometimes at what you learn.
Enjoy your children (and leave the oak trees alone),