I’m not a parent. I’ll put that out there right now. But I have studied developmental psychology, worked with multiple child and adolescent therapists, gotten further training in working with children and am a parent educator. I’m sure that experience would help me dramatically, but then again, each parent’s experience is unique to their own child and so may not give me any info about children in general.
One thing I have noticed in my readings about child-raising over the years is that parents are getting more and more fearful about everything their child might do that could harm them in any way. I see more parents attempting to wrap their children in ‘cotton wool’, hoping that they will never get hurt or make a mistake. And that, my friends, IS a mistake. Do you remember learning to climb a tree or ride a bike or any other fun thing you did as a child which could have caused you some harm? What did you learn? That you shouldn’t go up too high, or that you might fall and get hurt…but you also learned that you could still dust yourself off, deal with the pain and be okay. You learned. Again, YOU LEARNED! And by not allowing our children to make mistakes, to potentially get hurt in some ways, you are keeping your child from developing that lovely key word floating around right now – resilience. Clearly, we want to try to teach our children to not put themselves in major harm’s way – I don’t want any child to be maimed or to die. But we can’t stop everything. And sometimes we go to far to try to keep them from it all.
Recently, I saw a small article in the Huffington Post, in their Ted Weekends section, on some things that parents should let their kids do that might just hurt them. And it was interesting. I hope you’ll watch the video and comment upon it. I don’t have a child, but I hope I would let them do the 5 Dangerous Things. Honestly, I’m not sure I would…but I like to think that I would let them climb trees and play sports which might make me squirm.