You Say It Like It’s a Bad Thing

April 3, 2013 in Minimalist Parenting by Lorilee Lippincott

China - Simple ParentingYou accuse me of sheltering my kids like it is a bad thing.

For 9 months they were part of my body.  For another year+ they needed to be within arms reach for both nourishment and mobility.

They will walk out on their own into the world around the age of 18. But there is a a huge transition for them to go through between being a toddler and being an adult.

This transition is made possible through sheltering  

It is a parent’s job and responsibility to help kids grow, learn about the world, and feel the pain of the world at a rate that they can handle and will benefit them.  This is sheltering and I fully intend on continuing.

The world is both sick and beautiful in degrees that I, even as an adult, cannot always understand.   Even though the realities of the world hit kids everyday at young ages doesn’t mean it is the best, and it is definitely not what I want for my kids.

The meaning of shelter is:

  1. structure that protects or covers: a structure or building that provides cover from weather or protection against danger
  2. refuge: an establishment providing temporary accommodations and food for people in need or without a home (source)

This is my job as a parent and what I intend to provide for my family.

But somehow, even though the word ‘shelter’ brings feelings of comfort and warmth, when we apply it to children it is a bad thing.

Why?

How can giving my children protection against the weather of life and the dangers of the world be seen as bad?

My home is a refuge, it isn’t permanent, but it is life-saving during the period it is needed – while my children are young.

Everyday there are terrible stories everywhere of kids who needed shelter and but didn’t have it.   As much as I am able I want to provide that shelter for my kids.

Shelter is not jail, it is very different.   Shelter is needed to protect from the full force of the weather outside.  Shelter is for the benefit of the person inside.  Shelter is a welcome structure.

Shelter gives the opportunity to leave and explore when the outside conditions are safe and a place to run back to when things change.

But, you say, my children have to go to school and to live like other kids.  How will they survive when they leave the shelter of home if they haven’t had practice?

Practice doing what?  Talking about Sponge Bob?  I am not sure how that will help them in real life.

You call it sheltering for them not to know all the popular cartoons and movies coming out, but I choose to shelter them from this so they can develop their own imaginations and learn to think for themselves instead of being told what to think by popular media.

You call it sheltering when I allow them to act, dress, and play at their age level instead of trying to fit into the clothes and societal rolls of kids 5+ years older, but I choose to allow them the benefit of childhood and protect their right to it.

Somehow it is considered sheltering to have them interact with many different ages, cultures, and economic levels instead of putting them in a room all day everyday with a group of kids the same age from the same neighborhood.  …really?

My children may live different. I may be very involved in the lives of my children.  I may hold a lot of control over what they watch, read, and learn.  I may monitor and supervise their interactions with other kids.   But I see this as a benefit to my kids, a protection, a training, and a guide.  I see it as my duty.

So, if you see me, or another sheltering mother, and think we are just out to brain wash our children, control their every move, or are afraid of letting them grow up, you just might be wrong.  Instead we may be clearing the weeds to allow our flowers to grow, or clearing the stage to allow them the space to dance.

My name is Lorilee.  I am a parent, and I shelter my kids with pride.

:)