My earliest memory is of me and my little sister getting into trouble. I was four, she was three. We were playing in the yard of the building our family lived at the time and found a piece of chalk. What does one do with chalk at that age? We drew lines on the walls. My mother still occasionally brings up how quick-witted she was when she outsmarted my three-year-old sister to give up the truth after I had managed to dodge it. Then I remind her of how she felt compelled to go and wash something off the wall rain would have taken care of anyhow.
Okay, there’s a strong probability here that this is all a false memory. I know something like this happened, but the memory is probably strongly influenced by the fact that my mother has brought this up a number of times over the past 35 years or so. However, the key piece of information is that I was four and my sister was three. We were out by ourselves, with no real adult supervision.
How many kids have a chance to do the same these days? Now, I should note that I don’t have kids of my own, and probably never will, if I can avoid it, but I have been dealing with kids all my life, so I see what’s going on.
It seems to me that kids these days need to have hobbies. They are pushed onto them. Even at state level, in Finland and probably many other Western countries, its an important policy to see that all kids have a chance to have hobbies. Even at home, parents now try to play with their kids. All the time.
This is all well and good, but think about this. You are all gamers. How many of you would be, if you had followed your parents’ lead? Some, sure. Mark Rosewater’s father is a lifelong gamer. However, would I have found RPGs, if I hadn’t had the chance to discover them myself? Probably not.
Of course, giving your child a chance to discover RPGs, or similar, feels like something you are doing for them, but on the other hand, they are individuals, who need to discover what they want to do by themselves. Otherwise, we’ll all be just treading water.
Of course, there are benefits to keeping an eye on your kids, but there’s also a strong possibility of rebellion at some stage. Its probably a difficult balancing act, of which you don’t get any immediate feedback, so you’re probably doing things wrong without seeing the results anyhow.
So, you’ll just have to do your best and hope your kid is going to be fine. However, freedom is a big thing here. You are not just cloning yourself, or giving your child the childhood you hope you could have had. You should always remember that they are their own individuals, who have their own minds. We, in the west, have historically appreciated this and giving your kids the room to find their own way should just be a part of this.
You should be worried about them, by they shouldn’t know you are. You should just let them discover the world on their own as much a possible. They get enough indoctrination from school anyhow.