It was only a matter of time until incessant coddling led to a life-altering situation.
In Switzerland, a seven-year-old boy was reportedly so pampered by his parents he is now unable to fend for himself in any way — and has to attend a special school by order of the Swiss court.
Child psychologists said the little boy is so impaired he now has developmental problems and can’t function properly in a regular school.
“We see time and time again parents overprotecting their kids — and frankly, driving them crazy,” said one mother of three from Melrose, Massachusetts. “I have friends who have kids in high school who will go downstairs at midnight to make them macaroni and cheese if they’re hungry. I mean, are you kidding me? What will they do in college?”
The overprotected little boy, called “Marko” by the local press, lives in the canton of St. Gallen, according to the New York Post. Psychologists noted that Marko’s parents removed “all obstacles” from his life, and barred him from everyday learning experiences that included playing with other kids, The Local reported.
Child psychologists further said the little boy is so impaired he has developmental problems and can’t function properly in a regular school, according to the Post.
His parents denied the psychologists’ report, saying their son had a “normal childhood.” Fearing that a special school would be detrimental to their son’s development, the parents elevated their case to the Federal Civil Court in Lausanne — but the lower court’s decision was upheld.
They are now planning to take their case in the European Court of Human Rights, said the Post.
“As satisfying as it might be to say, ‘Overprotective parents ruin their kids — this 7-year-old is proof,’ we don’t really know what went on there, or why this child was so affected,” cautioned mom, author, and public speaker Lenore Skenasy on her website Free Range Kids. “And one case certainly doesn’t prove that, across the board, kids with very protective parents are all going to be ruined. That being said,” she continued, “the reason this story is making its way across oceans is not just because it allows us a bit of smugness (‘I’m not ruining MY kids!’), but also because it allows us to take a step back and examine what kind of culture could give us such terrified parents and kids.”
A recent report commissioned by Swiss children’s foundation Pro Juventute found that Swiss children get little or no time to play outside without adults nearby.
“While children in the 1970s spent a great deal of their free time outside and were active for three to four hours a day, the situation today is a lot more gloomy,” the organization in a statement.
Youngsters in the German-speaking part of Switzerland spend just 32 minutes a day outside unsupervised, while those in the French-speaking part of the country are even more sheltered — spending only 20 minutes outdoors. The study of 649 families conducted by the University of Fribourg found that a third of children were not allowed to play outside without adult supervision, while a whopping 15 percent did not play outside at all.
American parents should heed this story — and make necessary changes in their own parenting behaviors. Coddling — even out of love — can literally change a child’s life. And not for the better.