We’re creating a “nation of wimps,” says Psychology Today in an article on the phenomenon of “hyperparenting.” This is related to the problem of “helicopter parents” I blogged about a couple of months ago. Hyperparenting is a kind of cocooning of children, insulating them from any kind of pain, suffering, or harm that they may encounter. While at first this sounds like a parent’s job, think about it a second.

Behold the wholly sanitized childhood, without skinned knees or the occasional C in history. “Kids need to feel badly sometimes,” says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. “We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope.”

Messing up, however, even in the playground, is wildly out of style. Although error and experimentation are the true mothers of success, parents are taking pains to remove failure from the equation.

“Life is planned out for us,” says Elise Kramer, a Cornell University junior. “But we don’t know what to want.” As Elkind puts it, “Parents and schools are no longer geared toward child development, they’re geared to academic achievement.”

A nation with a split personality: hypersensitive and insensitive

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  • “Parents seem to hyperventilate over physical pain and challenges, and academics, but many are oblivious to moral hazards.”

    Very true…for one example, I wonder if some parents pay attention to the clothes their children (both pre-teen and teen) wear.