Coddling kids does them no good

I’m glad I’m not raising kids today, and not just because I am old enough to be a grandfather by now.

I am worried that the new generation, the kids in school right now, are going to be the most coddled, protected and privileged generation ever. You can’t fail them, you can’t correct them, you can’t discipline them. And heaven forbid that they should read a book with obscene words like (WARNING: Content may disturb) ‘fat’.   

Let’s take a quick spin through the world of babied babies.

Let’s start in British Columbia, where a teacher has been fired for the unpardonable sin of correcting a student.

In Abbotsford, a teacher with 40 years of experience corrected a student’s erroneous assumptions about the unmarked graves at a former residential school site. The kid said that the priests at the school tortured the kids and left them to die in the snow. The teacher, quite rightly, corrected the kid, saying the majority of deaths were likely due to tuberculosis. Well, the poor little snowflake complained to the principal, who immediately escorted the teacher off school grounds. The teacher was later fired when he refused to apologize for having the gall to correct a student. Clearly, a teacher with a master’s degree in the history of education and a doctorate in the philosophy of education with a specialty in Indigenous history doesn’t know as much as a high school student. Seriously, I’m not making this up.

Now let’s go to Nova Scotia, where the boys’ basketball team at Hantsport junior high was about to play their first playoff game. But two hours before the game, the volunteer coach of the team was dismissed by the school administration. 

It seems some of the kids were late for practice, so the coach, who was a stickler for being on time, made the tardy kids run some line drills, which involved running up and down the gym. Point made, the practice went on, and nobody complained. But somehow the school found out, and the coach was told that “it was in the best interests of the kids” that he be removed as coach. The principal apparently thought that the idea that actions have consequences (late for practice, run some laps) does not apply to her precious students. The kids, to their eternal credit, refused to play without their coach, and forfeited their playoff games. Bless those tardy little brats. 

Then of course we have the widely reported editing of the books of Roald Dahl, the late author of beloved children’s classics “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” and “James and the Giant Peach” So called ‘sensitivity readers’ removed or altered anything vaguely hurtful to young people. For example, a character described as  “enormously fat” became just “enormous”. In the new edition of “Witches,” a supernatural female posing as an ordinary woman is now working as a “top scientist or running a business” instead of as a “cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman.” A mention of how the witches are bald under their wigs prompted the addition of this line: “There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.” Even the word ‘black’ was removed from the description of the ‘terrible tractors’ in “The Fabulous Mr. Fox.” 

Heaven help us … or is that expression somehow insensitive? 


By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.


  1. Over-coddling of a kid will lead to a lifetime of worry for the coddlers and any of the kid’s unsuspecting future acquaintances who fail to meet his expectations. My parents’ lives were destroyed the codding that my youngest brother demanded of and received from them. It began with his refusal to eat. Once he determined that those who cared for him would bend over backwards to look after him it never stopped. Sixty plus years of it. The last words my mother spoke of him came as a burst of clarity arising from the anguish of anemic delirium during her final days at age ninety-eight: “He came to take everything. There’s nothing left to take.”

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: