The wife, who was a little more sensible, would start yelling HELMET HELMET HELMET at him to get him to back off. (Love it!!)
This article discusses such parenting.
I'm a protective mother, but I let the kids play in the dirt and eat dirt.
I don't care if the clothes get dirty-that's what washing machines are for.
If it can't go into the washing machine-please don't buy it for my kids. Don't bring me fancy dishes. I don't want them if they can't go into the dish washer. Don't come running to me about a little fall if there is no blood or a broken bone. If someone is picking on you and they started it-you finish it so they never mess with you again.
Yes, there are bad days and sometimes life sucks for a stretch but we don't live in the frigging rice fields for chrissssssake.
Live a little.
LIVE A LOT.