Coddled kids a crying shame

Computer games, junk food, political correctness and apathetic parents are inhibiting Kiwi kids’ development, says physical educator Lee Corlett.

He has seen children cry because the grass on their school field hurts their bare feet, and kids who are so obese that they can’t get up off the ground without help.

“This is what our parents are doing to some of our children. It’s tragic, it’s awful,” he said.

Mr Corlett, of Sporting Initiative Nelson, every week teaches hundreds of Nelson children to “run, jump, throw, hop, skip, and catch, really well”…

“The physically capable children we are working with in Nelson tend to be the more academically capable child later on. That’s cool,” Mr Corlett said.

But parental apathy, and a lack of appreciation of the importance of physical activity for a child’s development, is affecting children’s attitudes toward exercise, something Mr Corlett fears will stay with them their entire lives.

“I’ll go to the park down the street from our house and I’ll see mum sitting there with her children. While they are playing, mum’s busy on the cellphone. There’s no interaction. It’s really sad.”

Lazy parenting also affected a child’s work ethic, he said.

“Lots of New Zealand children don’t have any perseverance. Lots of things are done by mum and dad, because it’s quicker for mum to do it than for Johnny to learn to tie up his laces.”

However, children didn’t learn anything that way, other than reliance on their parents, Mr Corlett said…

“We’ll tell them why we do [an activity], and how it will help them later in life with sport or whatever. And we don’t give the option of not doing it. I will help them until they get it.”

He is imploring parents to do the same, so they can take an active role in their child’s physical development.

Five minutes a day of activities was all it took, he said. Parents should also allow their children to experiment, to go outside their comfort zones and perhaps their parents’ comfort zones. “If they climb a tree, let them climb a tree. It’s a good thing.”

It was also essential to create a balanced lifestyle, he said, “making art a part of their lives, physical activity a part of their lives, and, of course, schoolwork a part of their lives”.

Four traits were common indicators that a child would succeed later in life, Mr Corlett said.

“Confidence, perseverance, a ‘give anything a go’ attitude, and listening well. It’s all about attitude, and so much of that comes from parents…”

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One thought on “Coddled kids a crying shame

  1. I attended a talk by this man a few years ago and can’t stand the way he delivers his message! He is very judgemental and disrespectful of attachment/respectful parenting. I agree that children need to take/assess their own risks and be ‘aloud’ to run, jump, hop, skip, tie their own shoelaces, and develop their physical abilities, this happens holistically … by living life … and best/easily when THEY are ready, not when others decided they are! He doesn’t believe in learning though play and believes skills need to be taught independently (from his talk). Personally I DON’T play with my little people at the playground (they can ask for help but I am not involved in their games) Not because I am disconnected but because I don’t ‘need’ to play their games 24/7 … we go to the playground so they can play on the equipment, so sometimes YES I read a book on my phone, knit, or simply observe. You can not make a comment that parents on their phone at the park is ‘Lazy Parenting’ he has no idea what else is happening within that child’s life! A pet hate of mine is when people go to the playground, parents get board and leave after 10min … that doesn’t help little people develop their physical skills for very long. Take something to do and let them PLAY 😀

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