I knew I was right! Ok, it doesn't happen often, but this time I knew there was some validity to my opinion.
Kids need more spontaneous play time. And I have proof. In an LiveScience article about bullying, a child behavior expert agrees with me. (Child behavior expert? Ha! Isn't that just a fancy word for "mother"?)Anyway, this expert claims:
"...the social skills children gain on the playground or elsewhere could show up later in life...Unstructured playtime — that is, when children interact without the guidance of an authority figure — is when children experiment with the relationship styles they will have as adults."
Yes! Scientific proof! This is the first time I've ever been backed up by scientific proof! I think I'm gonna have a t-shirt made. And maybe bumper stickers. I WAS RIGHT. AND EVEN THE SCIENTISTS AGREE WITH ME.
So there you go, all you hovering helicopter moms and you control freak grade school playground monitors. Leave the kids alone and let them play.
This scientific revelation also brings us back to the question of organized youth sports. Are we doing our kids a disservice by sticking them in these programs from an early age? I remember hearing, when I was a kid, about how Nadia Comaneci was forced down the gymnastics path from the womb, practically. I remembering hearing how those other countries took their young prodigies and forced them to focus on nothing but their chosen sport. I remember parents protesting that this was no life for a child. Now, I'm not saying we're as bad as the Romanians once were, but are we starting to slide down that slippery slope?
Studies show that common sports injuries that used to plague adult athletes are now being seen in teenagers. Dr. Phil recently produced a show about a man who injected his young son with steroids so the boy could compete at a higher level in speed skating. The dad is now in jail and is still pretty much unrepentant. Unfortunately, the boy is banned from an activity he has great passion for. Closer to home, even I know that my kids must play organized youth sports if they are to have even the remotest chance to experience the thrill and excitement of competing for their high school team.
So what's a roaring mom to do? Buck the system? Boycott the evil mind control that is organized youth sports? And in doing so prevent our children from the arguably worthwhile experience of high school athletic endeavors? Which, by the way, can be considered another important social skill-building experience. Or do we give in? If your child has a passion for a particular sport, do you even have a choice? Are we powerless against the tsunami that is organized youth sports?
After faithfully fulfilling almost a decade of soccer mom duties, I still don't know the answer. But at this point, I think I'm sucked in already. And with another decade ahead of me, I'm pretty sure I'll be washed away and pulled under before I figure it all out.
So,please, someone throw me a life line! I'm drowning here. You'll be able to spot me pretty easily. I'm the one in the brightly colored t-shirt with the big letters that read, "I WAS RIGHT!"