Sheltered Children=Unsuccessful Adults
Being Set Up For Failure
This hub is in response to the spot on analytical request, "Are sheltered children less apt to grow up and be less successful in life?" by hubber badegg.
The majority of parents want the best life for their childhoods. This is natural and is part of being a loving and concerned parents. Parents want their children to have a better life than they do. Many of them make enormous sacrifices to make it so for their children.
However, some parents take this to the extreme. There are parents who believe that their children should have everything they want. In addition to that, they further contend that their children's lives should be as unencumbered as possible. They feel that it is horrendous and totally abhorrent that their children should suffer and/or undergo any type of frustration and/or privation. They feel that children should be children completely.
To these parents, it means that children should never be exposed to the negative and harsh side of life. They maintain that life should be rosy for their children at all times. They vehemently argue that children are fragile beings who will be become quite unhinged if they experience any form of negativity. They feel that parents who let their children experience any type of frustration and/or negativity, even if it is a minute degree, are horrifically abusive.
These are the parents who refuse to let their children play unsupervised. They feel that children who play unsupervised are likely to get hurt or worse. They believe that their children can never be overprotected. They feel that it is their duty as parents to make sure that their children are never harmed and will take every precaution to do so.
While a certain amount of caution on the part of a parent is intelligent and wise, being overly cautious is no good for children's emotional development. Children, within certain limits, should be allowed to explore and interact with their environment. That is how they learn and mature as individuals.
Overprotective and overly cautious parents believe that they are benefiting their children by shielding them from life foibles. They also contend that their children should have as little to no responsibilities as possible. These are parents who take umbrage at their children doing chores. They see children who perform chores as missing out on their childhood. They maintain that children have enough time to do chores and assume other responsibilities when they are grown. After all, they argue, that is what childhood is for- being totally FREE.
These parents are the ones who make decisions for their children's lives. They believe that children should not be inundated with problematic situations. They feel that childhood = no problems. They maintain that if there is a problem, THEY will resolve it. These parents feel that it is nothing doing homework for their children and generally, doing things that they should be doing for themselves. They feel that it is totally horrendous for a child to undergo any type of frustration and angst of any kind. They contend that children who undergo such angst experience trauma and other psychological issues in childhood which carries unto adolescence and adulthood.
As earnest and good hearted these parents believe they are, they are only doing their children a severe and grave disservice by sheltering and shielding them from life's foibles. Children who are sheltered tend to be developmental behind. The average sheltered children are developmentally years behind their chronological age. They are often emotionally and psychologically immature.
Typical sheltered children act younger than their chronological ages. To say that they are emotionally and developmentally behind less sheltered children is delineating the matter quite matter of factly. Teachers in nursery school find sheltered children to be lacking in interfacing with other children and other important motor skills. Many teachers discovered that they have to be almost full time parents to pupils who are sheltered by their parents.
The same situation applies to elementary school teachers. They find that they have to be teachers and parents to children whose parents overprotect and do everything for pupils, failing to teach their children rudimentary life and survival skills e.g. tying their own shoes. These teachers, like nursery school teachers, perform tasks for such children that they should be doing for themselves. They have to perform these elementary skills which often distracts from them performing more important tasks.
It goes without saying that since sheltered children act younger than their chronological age, they are bereft of age-related life and survival skills. This leaves them highly vulnerable to stronger children who can and do take advantage of them. Such children are also prey to bullies who tend to pick up children who are weak and vulnerable.
Other children feel such children to be quite immature and not independent enough for their respective ages. Furthermore, since the average sheltered child is under severe strictures by his/her parents, he/she is bound to have very few friends. Many sheltered children are deemed to be quite unpopular with other children. Other children are loathe to associate with them because of their low risk tolerance.
Sheltered children experience more problems once they approach their adolescent years. Adolescence is a period when children become increasingly independent and autonomous from their parents. Many parents react with apprehension that their children are burgeoning adults who will soon separate from them and lead their own lives. However, with overprotective and/or overly cautious parents, adolescence is filled with angst to the ultimate degree. These parents simply do not want their children to grow up at all. They want their children to be their little ones forever.
Sheltered adolescents oftentimes feel as if they are treated like children instead of adolescents. Many of them are chaperoned and/or strictly supervised by their parents at a time where there should be a lessening of parental supervision. Adolescence is a time to test and explore wider boundaries. This is natural and normal behavior. Adolescents must establish their own identity separate of that from the parents. Adolescence is a time to develop a more adult and mature identity and there is more of a concentration of peer relationships than on the parent-child relationship. Parenting roles during this time have to evolve, taking into consideration the change from child to adolescent.
Somehow this is totally amiss on the overprotective and/or overly cautious parents. Oftentimes, these parents exert a tighter rein over their adolescent children. They believe that the tween and teenage years are more dangerous and precarious than when they were children. They contend that their adolescent children need to be watched much more than ever. These are the parents who supervise every aspect of the latter's activities. After all, these parents argue that they do not want their children to get into trouble.
Many sheltered adolescent children spend their years in quiet and utter desperation. Their lives are extremely restricted, especially after school hours. While their less sheltered and/or more free range peers have age appropriate freedom to choose their activities and friends, the former have those things prescribed and preordained by their parents. To reiterated, the average sheltered adolescent lead a life more suitable to an upper level elementary school age children than of their chronologically respective ages. It is not usual for sheltered adolescents to have an extremely strict curfew while their friends are allowed more reasonable curfews.
There are some sheltered adolescents who rebel against such parental strictures but it often backfires on them. Their parents believe that their adolescents are very ill equipped to deal with the world. So their children rebel, entering and participating in situations that can be deemed as quite deleterious. In essence, they are unable to navigate themselves out of the situation. Naturally, their parents have to come to their aid and rescue. Thus the self-fulfilling prophecy comes into fruition that their adolescent children are totally incapable of taking care of themselves. Now, the adolescent children in question will be treated even more like children and the vicious circle begins.
Sheltered adolescent children are fishes out of water in junior high and high school environments. While other same age children are anticipating and exploring different roles, the former are anxious and risk aversive regarding such exploration. They are dependent at an an age where most children their respective ages are not. They are overly attached to parents and expect that teachers will show their the same consideration that their parents do. However, many junior high and/or high school teachers often look askance at this and view the situation quite dismally. These teachers realized that these sheltered adolescents have a case of arrested development to say the least.
Sheltered adolescents are quite vulnerable among their same age peers. They will find it difficult to navigate through junior high and/or high school society. Their less sheltered counterparts find such adolescents backward and otherwise inept. They will be subjected to targeting and/or other forms of bullying by stronger adolescents at the school. They are expected to take care of themselves; however, they will fail miserably at the task. Many sheltered adolescents see the junior high and/or high experience quite daunting at best.
Sheltered college age students are proverbially left behind. These are the ones whose parents monitor them while they are in college. There have been stories of parents attending college admissions interviews with their young adult children, much to the utter chagrin of the admissions officer. Furthermore, there are parents who call their sheltered children frequently to ascertain if they are adjusting to college life. Some parents still do their sheltered college age children's reports and/or other assignments.
Sheltered college age children are LOST in the college/university shuffle. Some of them are away from home for the first time in their lives. Many of them fail miserably during the adjustment phase, especially when interfacing with roommates and/or other students on a daily basis. Since they have little or no survival skills, many roommates find such sheltered young men and women to be quite a trial.
Sheltered college age children who have not mastered independent study skills do not remain in college/university for long. They usually flunk out as they are unable to academically look out for themselves. At the college level, clearly no professor is expected to look for you-you should be fully capable of doing this yourself.
There is a second reason why many sheltered college age children flunk out. Many of them were so restricted socially at home that when they are on their own for the very first time, they become quite psychologically discombobulated. Yes, they go wild and they do not have the wherewithal and/or discipline to balance their social life with their academic life. As a result of excessive socializing, their academics failed so it is out of the door.
Sheltered adult children are quite amiss when they enter the workplace. They are often way over their heads. The workplace is often a jungle where the strongest survive and thrive. Well, they are definitely not the strongest. One could characterize them as among the weakest and on the bottom of the corporate food chain.
The skills sheltered adult children should have learned and mastered YEARS ago are missing as a result of their familial status. They have poor judgement and self-starting skills which are essential to function in the work environment. As employees, they are quite dependent upon the supervisor and/or superior. To say that they need constant supervision is a truism. Besides the supervisor/superior, more capable employees oftentimes have to carry the weight for sheltered adult employees.
Such employees will always be at the bottom. No supervisor/superior is going to promote such employees for obviously they are incapable. As an employees, they are barely tolerable to totally abysmal. They are the LEAST desired employees. If they do not change and/or man/woman up in the workplace, they soon will be ...........OUT THE DOOR, ADIOS!
Sheltered adult children are the most likely to be unemployed and/or underemployed. Many of them because of constant terminations can be classified as quite unemployable. Many sheltered adult children although highly educated, do not possess the skills and/or acumen to hold high powered, responsible jobs. That is too daunting for them. They are also risk averse so they often hold jobs that are far beneath their capabilities.
It goes without saying that sheltered adult children are more likely to live with their parents at an age when many of their less sheltered counterparts are living independently. Many overprotective and/or overly cautious parents prefer it that way. They feel that it is way too dangerous for their adult children to live on their own. In their estimation, one never know what could happen. It is not unusual for sheltered adult children to live with their parents until they are married or a committal relationship. Some adult children, afraid to assume adult responsibilities, live with their parents for the rest of their lives.
Regarding relationships, sheltered adult children want others to be parent or the more dominant figure instead of equal adult partners. Since sheltered adult children are developmentally and emotionally behind, they are incapable of having mature relationships. They are more comfortable being the passive partner who wants to be taken care of. They simply are unable to take care of others and assume adult roles in relationships. There are a few who are abused by their parents because they do not have the wherewithal to assert themselves and to demand equal and respectful treatment from their partners.
Sheltered adult children become psychologically unhinged when their parents die. Many of them simply cannot see a world without their parents. Some of them go on a downward spiral of no return. They truly feel lost without their parents.
In conclusion, parents who shelter their children are doing them a great disservice. Sheltered children are emotionally, developmentally, and psychologically years behind other children. They oftentimes enter nursery and elementary skills bereft of very rudimentary skills. Teachers at those levels often have to take time from crucial teaching duties to be parents to such children. These children have poor interpersonal skills with other children. Because they have not develop rudimentary life and survival skills at the abovementioned levels, they are targets of stronger children.
At the junior high and high school levels, sheltered children are fishes out of water. They are virtually out of their league in such environments where they are expected to be more independent in terms of academics and social life. As a result of being sheltered, many of them are susceptible to more risky behaviors.
At the college level, sheltered children do not have the skills to successful thrive. Many of them are away from home for the first time and simply cannot adjust to the college environment. Some become wild, being unable to balance social life with academia which result in their flunking out of college. Most of them find it difficult to make the transaction to college life.
Sheltered adult children experience a culture shock when they enter the workplace. They find out that no one is going to baby them the way their parents did. They are expected to use judgement, think independently, and to be self-starters. However, they were not taught these things and their parents solved problems for them so they are deficient in these skills to their disadvantage. Sheltered adult children are overly dependent on their supervisors/superiors the way they are on their parents much to their peril. Many of them end up fired and unemployable. Others, because they lack job survival skills and smarts, tend to be underemployed.
In relationships, sheltered adult children are looking for parent figures instead of equal partners. They are the passive ones in the relationships, wanting to be taken care of but never reciprocating in kind. Some attract abusive partners because of their dependency needs. They tend to live at home years longer than other adults. Their parents are their significant other. They often become psychologically unhinged when their parents die, often going to a point of no return. Sheltered children end up as adults who miss the mark, never fulfilling their potential as full human beings.
© 2013 Grace Marguerite Williams