Psychology Today says it's your fault:
...the cyclist in the park, trim under his sleek metallic blue helmet, cruising along the dirt path... at three miles an hour. On his tricycle...We've all seen them, those parents who accost the umpire every time their kid watches strike three, who call the principlal when their kid earns a 'C', whose child never experiences disappointment or want or anxiety. Eventually a situation, perhaps a death in the family, comes along that mommy can't fix, and rather than coping and learning, the child - often an adult by historical age standards - crumbles like a stale cookie. Faced with a normal unpleasant circumstance, he can't cope because mom and dad have never allowed any circumstance that would demand coping.
In changing the nature of childhood, Stearns argues, we've introduced a tendency to assume that children can't handle difficult situations.
"Middle-class parents especially assume that if kids start getting into difficulty they need to rush in and do it for them, rather than let them flounder a bit and learn from it. I don't mean we should abandon them," he says, "but give them more credit for figuring things out."
And recognize that parents themselves have created many of the stresses and anxieties children are suffering from, without giving them tools to manage them.
Too often - but excessively in the last 20 years, it seems - the goal of parenting has been transformed from training a child to become a balanced adult into creating a plastic bubble world, within which all children can dwell without anxiety or setback. The result has been the extension of adolescence into the child's 30s, creating a generation of Peter Pans ("growing up is awfuller than all the awful things that ever were") who live life as emotional cripples. When inevitable hardships come their way, it's invariably someone else's fault, ensuring the consequences are handled in the most damaging way for everyone around. When mother is not there to take care of them, it is expected that boss or teacher or Uncle Sam will become a surrogate mother whose responsibilty it is to smooth every bump and salve every wound. The result, of course, is a nation of wusses living in a national cradle, sucking on a taxpayer-funded pacifier.
We (and I especially) often blame the public schools for perpetuating childhood long past the time every prior society has expected its children to assume the responsibilities of adulthood. But in all fairness, the schools are just responding to the complaints of parents - they are inflating grades and lowering standards because mom and dad can't believe all their children are not above average.
Kids need to eat dirt on occasion. They need skinned knees and Ds in Algebra and belly flops, if only to learn that actions have consequences and those consequences are not always pleasant, to learn that they have their own life to live, to learn to be a competent human being.
We're not doing our kids any favors by shielding them from the real world; we are instead condemning them to live their lives among TR's "cold and timid souls" who have tasted neither victory nor defeat. If they had any backbone, they'd rise up and curse us for it.