Please Don't Help My Kids

A Patch blogger's post about not helping her children on the slide is being debated across the country.

A Patch blog from Alameda, Calif., called “Please Don’t Help My Kids” has struck a nerve with readers across the country. 

Posted in September, the blog has taken off over the past few weeks as it has found a second life through social media sharing. The blog has 124,000 Facebook recommendations and 833 people have tweeted the blog.

The blog is an open letter to other parents at the playground. The blogger Kate Bassford Baker’s basic request is for parents to not help her daughters on the slide. She wrote that she wants her daughters to do things and learn things on their own.

Learning to walk up the slide’s ladder is the first step to learning new things and overcoming obstacles, she wrote.

“Because, as they grow up, the ladders will only get taller, and scarier, and much more difficult to climb. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather help them learn the skills they'll need to navigate them now, while a misstep means a bumped head or scraped knee that can be healed with a kiss, while the most difficult of hills can be conquered by chanting, ‘I think I can, I think I can,’ and while those 15 whole feet between us still feels, to them, like I'm much too far away,” she wrote.

Read "Please Don’t Help My Kids" by clicking on this sentence.

What do you think? Do you agree with the concept that children should do these things on their own or do you think it’s unwise to allow children that freedom?

Heather Porreca January 25, 2013 at 05:44 PM
I agree with Kate 100%! I am not a "helicopter parent". My children have experienced success and failures, scrapes and bruises, both emotional and physical. It is part of the learning process. To quote Ann Landers: "It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.
Mary January 25, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I read the Mom's blog and I think she should do a bit more to protect her child. A fall from the top of a ladder can have more serious results than a "bumped head". Sometimes young children need a little guidance and to be restrained from doing things that are too dangerous.
deb of see-attleboro January 25, 2013 at 06:25 PM
A little snarky. But I can see her point. On the flip side, there may come a time when she wished someone had intervened.
deb of see-attleboro January 25, 2013 at 07:31 PM
I agree with Ann Landers. But maybe she was talking more life skills (cooking, laundry, home and car maintenance etc). I hardly think she was referring to major risk taking.
Avon Barksdale January 25, 2013 at 07:52 PM
I don't need an invitation to leave everyone else's kids alone.
BH January 25, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Sorry but soooo many (not all) parents annoy me these days. There are so many parents who don't punish their kids correctly, reward them for nothing, believe "everyone wins" at sports and basically spoil them without teaching them hard work and discipline. Perhaps this is why the U.S. is slipping in every academic rank. So many kids are lazy, have no motivation or work ethic, believe things should be handed to them and are disrespectful and it is all their parents faults. Good open letter, let kids experience some real world consequences, they get much tougher than playground equipment.
Avon Barksdale January 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Do you REALLY believe that? Because it's pretty silly.
Heather Porreca January 25, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Deb, please don't take this the wrong way, but I do not feel that going on a slide "major risk"? (and yes, I have a daughter who will tell you that when you fall off the slide ladder and break your leg, it hurts and it is a challenge for a 5 year old. But one she was healed she walked right back to that same slide and conquered it!) After all of that did I prevent my other 2 children from playing on a slide, NO. Bad mom? My kids don't think so. And if you think for one moment the author of this blog isn't speaking most specifically about life skills perhaps you should read it again.
BH January 26, 2013 at 12:47 AM
It's not silly its true. How about sports leagues around the state and country where everyone wins, everyone gets a trophy, go ahead and instill that in kids and apply it to the real world as an adult. Does everyone get a job or a loan or anything handed to them? And how can you disagree that kids aren't lazy? Highest obesity number among kids ever, more and more sedentary lifestyle, video games, Internet. Parents don't even let their kids wait outside for the bus when it's 40-50 degrees. Yeah this country is a model of hard work and discipline.
HJ January 26, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Yes, parents are more concerned with being the child's "friend" than actual parent. Plus, the helicopter parents give the kid everything and when older, the child feels entitled to everything and doesn't know what to do in the "real world". That's why it's good to let the child climb on their own. Let them struggle and achieve something without Mommy for once.
Heather January 26, 2013 at 03:28 AM
@Avon Barksdale, BH hit the nail right on the head. There need to be more parents out there that think like this. Kids today expect a reward for everything and it is ruining our youth. You calling BH's comment silly is part of what is wrong with society today. You don't agree so you call names. You should grow up as you are acting like a child.
BH January 26, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Right on Howard and Heather, you get it, I'm sure it's reflected through your kids if you have them.
deb of see-attleboro January 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Like I said, Heather, the writer has a point. However, the take away for me is "mind your own business". And if that's the case, I think it is the wrong message to send. There may come a time when this mother wishes someone had intervened on behalf of her child. Maybe it would be better to teach her daughter's how to say an emphatic "NO" or "Don't touch me!" Why doesn't this mother just approach the people who are helping her daughters and ask them to stop? Her daughter's are internalizing how their mother handles conflict and stress. Does she want her daughters to always remain silent and then go home and write a passive/aggressive blog....just like Mom? Or does she want them to face life head on? Finally, it has been years since I have taken my children to a playground. But I remember slides getting backed up and other children having to bear with younger children who were struggling to reach the top. Of course there is a lessen in that, too. Maybe the parents are not really "helping" her daughters. Maybe they are just trying to keep the line moving along.
In Dog We Trust January 26, 2013 at 01:16 PM
No way I would let my 5 year old teeter totter at the top of a ladder. I would let her do it on her own but I would be behind her just in case, supporting her all the way; just as I would during her whole life. Age 10 is a different story... and each kid is different, it's up to each individual parent, but I agree that people should mind their own business when it comes to someone elses kids. No one will ever agree with eachother or change eachother's minds, so this is just a place to vent it out.
Frank DelVecchio January 26, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Sorry to disrupt the narrative, but the US is not slipping in every academic study - we’ve done poorly in them since inception. Kids in the 1950s, like kids today, didn’t know who Andrew Johnson was or how the Constitution can be amended. Yet we still lead the world in innovation, while the Chinese and South Koreans worry they have merely developed successful test-takers. As for everyone getting a trophy, that pretty much stops once the kids get to any level of real competition. Until that point, there are plenty (although a small minority) of coaches focused on managing the “career” of their own little star, and there are plenty of tryouts where the eventual roster raises eyebrows, to teach everyone that life is not fair. Sure, things are different than back in the day...but there really isn’t any going back.
Paul January 26, 2013 at 02:42 PM
The quote that sticks in my mind is that a parent/leader's role is to give enough rope to almost hang yourself. Falls, bruises, and 'no' should all be part of growing up. Having choices and consequences do lead to better decision skills. And having a sense of accomplishment that you did something by yourself is much better than parent doing it for you. And if your kid is scared of the slide, that is ok too, not everyone is destined to climb everest, there are other rewards for playing in the sandbox.
deb of see-attleboro January 26, 2013 at 06:11 PM
I completely agree, Frank. Why do we get so riled up when we are led to believe we are being out-smarted by the Chinese or South Koreans? I also agree about the sports. There are plenty of painful lessons, with or without a participation trophy. I bet anyone who has enlisted their kids in a sport can come up with at least one anecdote to confirm this.
BH January 26, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Frank are these statistics enough to leave you worried and not accept the status quo? http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshallcrotty/2012/03/26/7-signs-that-americas-educational-decline-is-jeopardizing-its-national-security/
Judi Sulfaro January 27, 2013 at 12:43 AM
I believe the mom has the right to determine what she wants for her daughters. I hope she's standing nearby to provide her own helping hand, if needed. Nonetheless, I would still be hard pressed not to run to help a falling child from a slide if no other adult was present. It's just the Mom/Nana in me. A scraped knee from a tumble is one thing; a possible fracture from a fall from the slide's ladder is quite another. Also, how old are these "daughters"?
Avon Barksdale January 27, 2013 at 05:15 PM
If it makes you feel better about yourself to believe that sports leagues where everyone gets a trophy are emblematic of the decline of parenting in this nation, I'm not going to change your mind. It'sa dumb belief that gets repeated by talking heads who know that angry idiots will believe it because it makes them feel superior to others. This whole narrative that the United States is cultivating a generation of wussified youth would be hilarious except for the damage that's done by the morons who believe it. Yes, I called people some names. I hope people are not such sissies that they will take it personally and get offended ... isn't that what you're complaining about in the first place, that today's youth are too pumped full of self-esteem and can't handle criticism? Just checking.
Frank DelVecchio January 27, 2013 at 06:09 PM
BH, By your response, I question whether you read my comment? If your question is, should we improve upon the status quo, the answer is yes, I believe we should. But my comments still stand if you look at things relatively - things are not worse than they were, and isn’t that the argument? That too many trophies are spoiling our kids and now they are stupid, lazy, etc., etc.? BTW, Joel Klein is the former Chancellor of NY City Schools. He left them in fine shape - not. And Dr. Rice is smart, but she ’s no expert in the field. And Forbes is, well, it’s Forbes...
Frank DelVecchio January 27, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Check out this study from the Economic Policy Institute, "What do International Tests Really Show About U.S. Student Performance?”: http://www.epi.org/publication/us-student-performance-testing/
Indiana January 27, 2013 at 07:40 PM
The bottom line is kids are not allowed to fail on their own these days. It is always the teachers fault or the coaches fault. Will these parents be complaining when their 20 something year old gets passed over for a promotion? God forbid a parent hears "your kid just was not good enough to make the team or he or she obviously did not study hard enough". Pretty soon this country will be re-distributing the GPA's
Avon Barksdale January 28, 2013 at 12:20 AM
As a parent of two children, my experience (and theirs) has been precisely the opposite of the scenario you present. It's just simply not true - there's plenty of competition, all the time, and kids have plenty of opportunities to fail as well as succeed. It just seems like every generation feelslike it needs to blame the next generation for being lazy, disrespectful, unmotivated and unproductive. Really, it's tiresome and ridiculous. Yes, you can find several pop psychologists who claim that this generation is (all of the above), the reason they say this is because the angry middle-aged will buy their books. Honestly, be less dumb, people.
Indiana January 28, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Avon like you said it is YOUR experience so you cannot speak for everyone. Think the rest of us are generalizing. This is about the parents not the kids. If someone wants a trade instead of an engineer or doctor etc Great! just be happy and a productive member of society. Think you just want an argument
Avon Barksdale January 28, 2013 at 04:17 PM
I don't just want an argument, this whole meme that the country is being destroyed by bad parenting is repeated over and over again, day after day, by people who have no evidence other than they just want to be right. That, and they love to mock the non-traditional. It's a huge pile of garbage.
Adam Edward January 28, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Everywhere I go I see parents either on their phone, Ipad, or reading a book while their child plays. The woman was probably blogging this while her child was running free. I let my children do the slides by themselves but I am also right there to catch them when they fall. I hate seeing people ignore their children while they have fun and don't worry I won't catch your child when they fall.
GreenMom January 28, 2013 at 04:37 PM
I found the blog to be a bit harsh. Depending on the age of the child there are safety risks and you do not have to lift the child up but stay near by and help give them the confidence to climb the ladder but know that if they fall you are close by to help. As parents we are supposed to help and comfort out children. When my daughter was 2 I stool close by and even my hand on her back as she climbed up until i knew she had it. At 3, i stood further back to watch but within an arms reach if needed. At 4 i can watch from a few feet away. Do i go sit down and think, oh well she can do it. No. I know she can do it but i dont mind being near by if she wants me there. Or playing there with her. They are kids.
GreenMom January 28, 2013 at 08:38 PM


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