Written by Olivia Arrow

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. We want them to be happy, healthy, and protected from the harsh realities of the world. But sometimes, we can take it too far. Like when we try to keep them in a bubble, sheltering them from anything that could potentially hurt or wrong them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should let our kids run wild or expose them to danger on purpose. But there’s a balance to be found. Because what happens when our kids grow up and realise they’ve been living in this perfect, untouched little world their whole lives? Could they be too innocent to handle the real world? And if so, what are the consequences of that?

It is important to remember that being innocent isn’t a bad thing. Children are born with a clean slate and are naturally curious about the world around them. They trust people easily and believe what they’re told, which helps them grow and learn. But as they get older, they need to understand that not everyone has their best interests at heart and learn the difference between right and wrong.

One potential downside of being too innocent as a kid is that they might be easier to take advantage of. If your child is always trusting and doesn’t have a good sense of when something’s off, they could end up getting hurt or abused by someone they thought they could  trust. This isn’t just online either.  It can happen in real life too, like when they meet a new teacher, coach, or a friend’s parent who seems nice at first but then turns out to be someone they shouldn’t trust.

Another consequence of being too innocent is that they might struggle with the harsh realities of life as they get older. If you raise your child in a bubble where you have protected from stuff like poverty, crime, and discrimination, it can be tough to understand and deal with those things when they finally see them in the real world. This can make them feel confused, scared, and anxious, and might make it hard for them to form healthy relationships and figure out their place in the world.

So how do you, as a parent, balance between keeping your kid innocent as well as preparing them for the real world? It’s all about finding the right balance between giving them a safe and supportive environment, and providing them with age appropriate information so they can make smart choices when the time comes.

One way to tackle this is by having discussions with your child about some of the tougher stuff from an early age. This could involve talking about personal safety, body autonomy, and online safety. Having these kinds of discussions can help your child understand the importance of setting boundaries and making smart choices, while also giving them the confidence to speak up if they feel uncomfortable or threatened.

It is important to let your kid explore the world around them, but in a safe way. This can mean letting them try new things, meet new people, and visit new places. By exposing them to lots of different experiences, you can help them develop a natural curiosity and a healthy scepticism, which can keep them safe from being taken advantage of or hurt.

Additionally, it’s important to instil your kid with good values and morals. You can do this by having open and honest conversations with them, and by showing them the kind of behaviour you want to see from them. By giving them a strong moral compass, they’ll be better equipped to tell right from wrong and make decisions based on these values.

It’s only natural to want to keep your kid’s innocence intact, but let’s face it, you can’t really protect them from everything in this big, bad world. The key is finding a balance between providing a safe and supportive environment, while also exposing them to new experiences and teaching them how to think critically. This way, they’ll develop a healthy sense of scepticism and strong values that will help them navigate life’s ups and downs. And who knows, they might even thank you for it one day.