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Modern Parenthood

My kids are not the center of my world.

Child-centered parenting frequently means supporting children through every endeavor, cushioning every fall, and helping them navigate every conflict. Does such helicopter parenting leave room for kids to develop their own coping and problem solving skills?

By Stephanie MetzGuest blogger / November 15, 2013

Mommy blogger Stephanie Metz poses for a photo with her 2-year-old son Jameson in Rapid City, S.D.

Courtesy of Stephanie Metz/AP

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Wait, what did she say? Yeah, you read that right. 

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This blog post is a bit of a rant and it's a bit all over the place. My kids are NOT the center of my world, and that's quite simply because they aren't the center of any world, anywhere.

If you're feeling adventurous today, feel free to read on. I'll forewarn you though, this post contains subject matter about which I feel very strongly. As are most emotionally heated issues – I suppose it's controversial. But hey, I feel how I feel and that's not going to be changed.

The emotions that sparked this blog post were given a little bit of a supercharge last evening. Hendrix was picking out what he wanted to take to school for Show & Tell. He chose a little Imaginext action figure – one that he's had for about two years now. With the action figure comes a little yellow object. For the two years that he's had this toy, that yellow object has always been a drill to him. He gathered the action figure, the mask that goes with him, and the yellow drill and proudly told me he'd chosen that for Show & Tell. Then, you could see him thinking. And he promptly changed his mind and said to me, "You know what, I better not take this. My teacher will probably think it's a gun, and then I'll get in trouble," put the action figure back, and chose something else.

I often think about the world my boys will grow up in. I often get angry when I think about it. This particular situation just furthered those emotions for me.

In completely selfish terms, bringing my boys into this world was such a great decision – for me. They bring me so much joy, they fill my heart, they make me happy. But I often question whether or not it was the right decision for them. My boys are typical little boys. They love to play guns. They love to play good guy versus bad guy. They love to wrestle and be rowdy. That's the nature of little boys, as it has been since the beginning of time.

How long will it be before their typical boy-ish behavior gets them suspended from school? How long before they get suspended from daycare? \ How long will it be before one of them gets upset with a friend, tells that friend to go away and leave them alone, and subsequently gets labeled as a bully?

The mentality of our society in 2013 is nauseating to me, friends. 

Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys. You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they'd find something else around them – a stick, their fingers, etc – and pretend it was a gun. Today, those little boys – if caught doing that – are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.

There was a time – not too long ago – when bullying was defined as slamming someone up against a locker and stealing their lunch money. There was a time when kids got called names and got picked on, and they brushed it off and worked through it (ask me how I know this). Now, if "Sally" calls "Susie" a nasty name, Susie's whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party. And Sally – phew! She should be jailed! She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like – gasp – a teenage girl acts.

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