I was reading Parenting.com today, and when I came across a blog post written by the site’s celebrity blogger Kendra Wilkinson.
For those of you who don’t follow the celeb scene (I don’t, my wife does), Kendra Wilkinson is a star of the E! reality show The Girls Next Door. She’s also married to football player Hank Baskett and mom to toddler Hank Jr. I normally wouldn’t suggest taking parenting advice from a former Playmate, but in this case I think Kendra demonstrates an understanding of parenting that a lot of people don’t understand.
In this post, I Don’t Want to Smother Baby Hank, she says:
“My whole pregnancy I had ideas of what I thought I would be like, but just like my cravings, they changed daily. The one thing I knew for sure was that I was going to be protective—I just didn’t know what that would entail… Once he was born, everything kind of fell into place, and I knew almost immediately I wanted him to be able to go out there and learn on his own and experience life on his own. “
So that’s the setup. But here’s where she brings it home with a really simply story. She couldn’t have put it any better about parenting when she said:
“We can do our best as parents to teach him, but it is up to him to learn. For example, he used to love to play with water; he would sit there and turn the faucet on and off and get the biggest kick out of it. One time the water was pushed to the hot side—not all the way, but still on the hot side. I kept telling him “Hot, Hank, No, Hank, Ouchie.” But I DIDN’T turn it off. I told him why not to touch it. He looked up at me and said, “Hot!” and didn’t touch it. If I had turned the faucet off he probably would have burned his hand at some point because he wouldn’t have known better. I would have prevented the incident instead of teaching him to learn for next time.“
I couldn’t agree more with Kendra on this one. Nothing beats a parent’s love but if you’re truly concerned about your child, you need to let him learn things on his own. It’s a big world out there, and you have to teach your child to survive rather than to always protect him from it. After all, you know you can’t always be there.
Your child will fall down, get cut, get hurt, deal with social issues, and have disagreements with others. Our role is to teach him how to overcome the pain on his own, or learn form the mistakes on his own. We can coach our children, but not do everything for them.