Social Question

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Why do some parents insist on keeping their children in bubbles?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23098points) June 25th, 2012

Why are parents over-paranoid about so many things? I can understand setting limits, because I have my own, but some folks really creep me out with their paranoia!

Example: A lady on Facebook was warning everyone to not let their kids see the movie Brave, because “the daughter has a witch put a curse on her mother, and the father tries to hurt the mother.” It’s simply not that black and white, and it’s a fabulous movie with a great, positive message. What the fuck is that woman’s problem?

If you bubble your children, you do them a disservice. I know, because all 7 of my cousins raised in a giant bubble by fanatical, paranoid parents are screwed in the head. Why prevent your children from experiencing life and asking difficult questions? If you keep them from asking those difficult questions, they will have no idea how to function in the “real world”.

As a child, I predicted my cousins would be messed up from being so over-protected, so why do so many adults fail to see that?

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25 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Because of their own beliefs. I think that children need to experience the world as it is and to be aware that bad things happen, but need to be protected and to fell loved, because that experience of innocence will not last as it is.

bookish1's avatar

Maybe some parents feel needed only as long as their kids are ‘innocent’ and don’t know what the real world is like.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@marinelife Exactly! I want my kids to see unpleasant things (within reason, haha), because I will be there to explain why it is the way it is, and to guide them through it.

zenvelo's avatar

I blame the media circus over singular events that whip everyone into a frenzy. It started with “inspect every piece of Halloween candy” and “cartoon stickers full of LSD to get kids addicted”, almost all of that was urban legend. Add to that a single child murder that leads to a national move to not allow kids to walk to school.

I know awful things happen, but I know moms that don’t like their 5th graders walking down the street in full view of the community and police for fear the kid will be kidnapped.

It was much more important to teach my kids how to behave around strangers and avoid danger on their own.

creative1's avatar

They think that by putting them in the bubble that its going to protect them from the outside world. Unfortunately if they never experience life as it is in the world when that bubble pop’s and they need to face real life they are not going to know where they belong.

flutherother's avatar

This seems to happen when parents are insecure and fearful. Parents should teach their children to be aware and yet unafraid but when the parents themselves are fearful all the child learns is to fear. It can’t be nice knowing that there are things that terrify those that love and protect you.

jca's avatar

Maybe it has to do with the age of that mother’s children? I don’t know. I know I let my daughter see all sorts of Disney movies, in addition to children’s TV channels, and there are some Disney movies that she says are scary, like Snow White. She just turned 5, and the witch in Snow White is scary to her. She’s seen it, but she is scared by it. When she was about 2½ or 3, she watched Lady and the Tramp for the first time. There’s a scene toward the end when the lead character dog Lady was tied up to a doghouse outside, and there was a storm and a rat went into the house and up the stairs after the baby. The lead character boy dog Tramp came along and went after the rat at Lady’s insistence, because she was tied up and could not go. Tramp went into the house, the thunder and lightning was fierce, the house interior was dark and Tramp went after the rat, with teeth bared and the eyes on the rat were glowing in the dark. My daughter at 2½ found that very scary and still does to this day. She’s not sheltered, believe me, but there are some scenes that she finds dark and scary. So maybe to give this mother on FB the benefit of the doubt, maybe she was referring to certain ages of children? It’s hard to second-guess unless we know specifically what she was referring to.

jonsblond's avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever met a well-adjusted person who was raised in a bubble. They all had issues well into adulthood. My sons had a friend whose mother was very protective. She wouldn’t let her son go trick-or-treating with my sons because she was afraid something would happen to him. This was when the boys were pre-teens, not grade school (and this is only one example of the many fears she had). This boy ended up doing drugs in his teens and was in jail by the time my oldest was in college.

Fear plays a big part in why some parents are like this. I think others don’t want their little babies to grow up.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@jonsblond RE: the drug thing- those cousins of mine had no clue how to act once they were of age and suddenly had legal freedom. They all rebelled in a major way, and have all either been married and divorced multiple times or have gone to rehab for alcohol or drugs (or both), or have spent time in jail… or all of the above. Bubble parenting never wins.

I have always had a major issue with my aunt and uncle because of how they raised their kids. They are two perfect examples of why I like theists, but can’t stand fundamentalists.

bolwerk's avatar

It seems to me there is a big hangover effect from the crime/crack epidemics of the 1980s/early 1990s. Either because of sensationalism, or it really was that dangerous, kids couldn’t do things in the 1980s that would be perfectly fine today. Now those kids are having kids, and misjudging the danger. Witness the overreaction to the mom who let her 9-year-old use the NYC subway a few years ago.

Besides that, people can’t seem to separate nudity from sex. Seeing a genitalia won’t mess your kid up, but having a genitalia in your kid might.

Hell, my mother let us walk around without supervision in Europe when we were pre-teens. She’d never let us do that in DC or NYC.

Paradox25's avatar

Yes, I agree, it is not wise in my opinion to overprotect children. When they get older and have to face the real world they will not be able to handle it.

JLeslie's avatar

I think there can be many reasons why parents are like this.

I think some of the parents who were a total mess as teens, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, if it really was way out of control and then found “Jesus” and I mean that both figuratively and for some it is literally, they go to an extreme with their children to do everything they can to prevent a repeat of their own adolesence. I don’t mean all Christians by any means, not even most. I have friends who really believe their kids won’t have sex or drink if they are better parents than their own parents, and they are very verprotective. They all say they don’t want their kids to do what they did themselves.

Then there are those who grew up very protected themselves, and to them it is just normal.

blueiiznh's avatar

So many reasons:

I too do not understand why some parents do not want to teach and allow their children to experience life and allow them the wings to fly.

cookieman's avatar


Reasonable, unreasonable, practical, paranoid, born of experience, or brainwashed by the media. It’s all fear.

thesparrow's avatar

I wasn’t raised in a bubble like THAT, but I was raised in a cultural bubble (i.e. very strict cultural norms and a tight-knit family).

Adagio's avatar

Generally speaking I would have to agree with you, although having said that there were things I did stop my daughter doing that other parents seemingly felt okay about, sometimes it’s difficult to hold your own ground when “everyone else’s parents” take a different stand and your child seems the odd one out in that instance, still I don’t think it had a negative effect on my daughter who is now an almost 26 year old woman with a very definite mind of her own, she seems very well-balanced to me. By the way I would not have a problem with some of the things I prevented her doing these days, we all live and learn, parent and child alike. And by the way I would in no way describe my daughter’s childhood as having been lived in a bubble.

HeartsLove7's avatar

As an extremely sheltered child myself, I think that the reason my mother shelters me so much is that she doesn’t want me to make the same mistakes that she made when she was a teenager. Of course my mom is not as extreme as the woman against Brave, but she is still very over-protective.

JLeslie's avatar

The woman freaked out about Brave and the witch might be a religious fanatic that worries exposure to witchery will harm her kids. Or, she might not like negative messages regarding parents? Or, she might be against Disneylike movies. But, even with one of those possibilities she might be totally normal about what her kids are exposed to in other realms. I have a girlfried who does not like Disney, doesn’t want her kids to watch the movies or take them to the theme parks. She hates the whole Prince charming thing, and other messages frequently in the stories. She doesn’t let her children watch much TV and she feeds them very healthy food. But, they are not sheltered in my opinion, just not exposed to those few things. She doesn’t do it out of paranoia, but because she feels it isn’t a healthy message or because she believes children are too engrossed in electronics now, instead of using their minds and being creative. They go to public school (they went to Catholic schools when they were very young) she is fine with exposing them to all people, religions, etc. She is fairly liberal in her political views. She wants her kids to know about their bodies including sex and birth control. She expects they might drink, but hopes they don’t.

bookish1's avatar

@JLeslie : I think some of the parents who were a total mess as teens, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, if it really was way out of control and then found “Jesus” and I mean that both figuratively and for some it is literally, they go to an extreme with their children to do everything they can to prevent a repeat of their own adolesence.

cough my mom ahem

ucme's avatar

Way too many parents view their kids as “mini-me’s”, clones of themselves & bring them up in an almost totalitarian environment, crammed with rules/regulations & values which are more catered for their own needs than their kids
Let your kids be kids because that time soon fucking flies by.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Part of my day job is booking children onto sports activities and some of the things that parents come out with is scary! We also run sports parties but those are quite hard to deliver when a parent says that under no circumstances should there be any competition and it should be arranged that all the children do as well as each other (or at least led to believe this is the case). I think it’s healthy for kids to be allowed to be a little competitive especially in sport!

We also get parents that expect us to cancel activities because of a tuny bit of rain or wind. We would never make a kid go outside if the weather was torrential but a bit of spitting rain won’t hurt them

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@JLeslie In the case of that particular woman, I think she’s just a nutjob. She wanted to know what was wrong with Pixar for creating a “bad influence” like Brave, because Nemo and Toy Story were both “so great”. WTF, really? In Nemo, both father and son were total assholes, and the same thing with Toy Story. The toys were arrogant and mean to each other, and the boy next door was torturing toys. She doesn’t consider those to be bad influences? Also… a witch putting a curse on the mom in Brave is no worse than the witch who cursed the prince in Beauty and the Beast, and she loves that movie. She’s just a weirdo who wants to complain about something.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate How were Nemo and his dad assholes?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

They were both really tacky to each other like children and parents often are, but the son pushed it too far, and the father was even rude to the other adults he came into contact with. Don’t get me wrong, I really love that movie, and it had a positive message about improving communication between parents and children, but it wasn’t some high golden standard of a perfect movie, like this lady seems to think. If she’s this paranoid about movies being a bad influence, I could tell her something negative about every single Disney or Pixar movie she loves.

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I’ll go with nutjob. I never saw Nemo, and I don’t remember that about Toy Story, but I will go along with your analysis. Maybe she identifies somehow with the girl from Brave, and is all twisted in a knot about it?

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