Are Kids Today TOO Cautious?

kids bike

Are Kids Today TOO Cautious? I am of the belief kids, in general, aren’t taking as many risks as they did when I was growing up and I’m not sure this is a welcome trend. Forgive me for getting into a bit of a grumpy old man / “when I was a kid” / “these darn kids nowadays” rant but I’m starting to wonder if kids are too cautious for, at times, their own good.


Are Kids Today TOO Cautious?

For example, my 11-year old son had an early Sunday morning appointment recently and I offered to drive him to it on my motorcycle. A no-traffic, wind-in-our faces beautiful summer 5-mile ride. He turned me down flat. My wife explained to me that he’s a little leery about the motorcycle. I didn’t take offense to the decline of my invitation for some testosterone-driven father/son time. I just figured a nice ride on the back of a motorcycle trumps lumbering down Rochester Road in the backseat of a Camry any day. I distinctly remember thinking aloud “I would have killed for a chance like that when I was 11” and “ya gotta take advantages of beautiful days like this while you still have them.” I also wondered why he was so worried. I’m a cautious, beyond-safe, motorcycle rider with all the protective gear imaginable. It’s not like I was going to strap him to the back of a crotch-rocket and hit 110 mph flying down I-75 on one wheel.

I can understand a little apprehension for an 11-year-old on two wheels but what about a teenager on 4 wheels? My friend’s 16-year-old son is scared to death of drivers training and has little to no interest in ever learning to drive a car. Ditto for most of my nieces and nephews. All of them struggled with the concept of getting behind the wheel and flexing their rite of passage opportunity of independence. Are kids today too cautious? Have we as parents somehow scared them into submission?

The statistics about teen drivers back me up on my concerns. My wife posted an article recently on OCM about teens and driving. The study, released by, reveals that teenage drivers are not only cognizant of the dangers involved with driving a car, they are also surprisingly insecure about their own limited capacity to manage those risks. (SOURCE)

It’s tough for me to imagine not wanting to learn how to drive when I was 15 or 16. I think most people my age can remember wanting a drivers license AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and some of us (cough, cough) can even remember sneaking rides in our parents’ cars long before our 16th birthdays. Sure, safety is paramount. But, there is a difference between being cautious and simply not trying to either exert independence or, at the very least, take a chance and have a little fun.

To me the constant apprehension from the kids of today equates to a lack of confidence. This worries me. I want my son and daughter to feel secure through their ability to take chances and learn from potential mistakes along the way. I find myself wondering if being afraid to learn to drive a car or ride on a motorcycle now will later lead to being afraid of buying a house, being afraid to start a family or being afraid to take a chance in the business world. Life’s TOO short. This of course is much easier for me to grasp in my early forties than it would have been at my son’s age.

Have we gone too far with helicopter parenting? It bothers me that too many kids today are letting opportunities to become independent pass them by because it seems somehow safer to do absolutely nothing.

I know I sound horrible for somehow railing against caution. I’m glad kids and teens today have apprehension and jitters regarding SOME THINGS. I just don’t want them to be scared of EVERYTHING. Are Kids Today TOO Cautious?

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