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3 Ways To Avoid Sheltering Your Kids Too Much



(Springfield, MO)--Parents naturally want to protect their children, but a recent study reveals that children who are too sheltered from adversity are unable to deal with setbacks later in life.

The study, conducted by scientists from Stanford and universities in Europe, found that the brains of children who were exposed to moderately stressful situations when young were altered to develop coping mechanisms.

“What this study shows is that some adults are simply not experienced enough in dealing with conflict or setbacks,” says Ryan O’Reilly, author of “To Nourish and Consume,” a novel that focuses in part on Jackie, a young woman whose wealthy family sequestered her from challenging people and situations.

“Jackie treats life as a game because she never learned how to work through the serious moments in a relationship,” says Mr. O’Reilly. In “To Nourish and Consume,” Jackie deals with both a troubled marriage and the return of her husband’s best friend after ten years away--a best friend who once had feelings for her. “Life as an adult is no picnic,” Mr. O’Reilly adds, “and when I see kids who are coddled and sequestered, it makes me wonder if they’ll end up like Jackie.”

While neither the study nor Mr. O’Reilly suggests throwing kids into the deep end of adult situations, there are small steps parents can take to help prepare their kids for failure, heartbreak or simply the seriousness of the adult world, including:

1. Introducing them to competitive sports. Losing is a part of every game, and handling loss will prove important later in life.

2. Allowing them to resolve school conflicts on their own, with your advice. Going to the principal or another child’s parent to solve the problem might just make it worse.

3. When dealing with the death of a family member, explaining in ordinary terms that a loved one has died and that it is a natural part of life.

“There are myriad chances for kids to learn about the tougher parts of life,” says Mr. O’Reilly. “Jackie was able to avoid those moments as a child, but we all have to pay the piper sometime. When she grows up and marries, she falls apart. I hope that this book can teach parents something about building character.”

Ryan O’Reilly is a freelance contributor to newspapers and periodicals across the country. He is also a member of the National Writers Association and the Writers League of Texas. His previous critically acclaimed novel, “Snapshot,” was published in 2007 and received rave reviews from Kirkus, the Midwest Book Review, fellow authors and his many devoted readers and fans.

“To Nourish and Consume” is available on


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