Mollycoddling, or treating your degu with pet gloves and giving in to their every whim and looking after them like they're babies no matter how old they are, is a natural reaction for a degu owner. You should not be worried about every little thing these hairy Houdinis try to do, their only real danger in the wild is predators and eating certain plants...they will survive!
There's an old saying; "Once a cat sits on a hot stove he'll never sit on a hot stove again...but he'll never sit on a cold one either"...basically that means your degus will learn through experience, and as long as you're there to look out for their health and well-being then their experience should be a safe one. Now, obviously I'm not saying let them gnaw through electrical wires to find out what's inside is dangerous, that would be stupid, but what I am saying is if the danger is minimal then let them experience it if you can control the environment a little for them. Those who know me (SmUX from deguworld) will know that one of my guys did the impossible in his escape then did the impossible in his survival, no amount of care short of keeping them locked in their cage 24/7 is going to be 100% foolproof and that would deprive them of experience they sorely need and exercise and fun they want.
Children who are mollycoddled tend to suffer from illnesses more than those who aren't, this is because their body isn't conditioned into being able to combat the illnesses while the other children have that conditioning. Degus and any other animal have the same basic systems, and experience means a happy degu.
There is only one time you should treat a degu like this, and that's when they need it. If, for instance, they're unable to eat with both paws for some reason, it's acceptable to hold their food for them while they eat. If they won't drink, it's acceptable to feed them water through a syringe if instructed to by a vet or some other qualified person. If they're otherwise unwell, giving them some extra love and attention will get them through the worst of it and it'll also make you feel better about their predicament.
Most of all, remember they're not YOUR degus, you're THEIR guardian and they're their own little guys or gals...just because you paid money for them or pay for their upkeep and keep them in a cage, it doesn't imply ownership...you paid for the right to take over guardianship. As long as you can accept and recognise this fact, you'll soon be comfortable with them and they will be with you. Many pet owners assume ownership of a pet, and don't treat their pets as equals...we're degu owners, we're better than that :-)
Please feel free to add to this article, but please don't edit already-added parts. This is an OPINION rather than fact, and you can add your own opinion or experiences.