Thursday, April 7, 2011

Under Cautious?

I am not a worrier. In regards to my kids, this is not because I am lazy or just don't care, but I do truly believe that my boys need me to allow some risk-taking. I do not have a natural tendency to over-react, and I am very easy going. I find some general rules that most moms adhere to a bit unnecesary and too restricting and MUCH to difficult to follow through with. I am specifically speaking of physical safety rules here, not rules concerning other facets of life. In other areas, my rules are much stricter and more rigid.

"Don't climb up a slide!" Why?
"Don't play with sticks!" A better rule here would be not to run with them or hit other kids with them.
"Don't play in the dirt!" How does that hurt them?
"Stay out of that puddle, it's dirty!" Perhaps drinking it would be a danger, but not walking in it.
"Climbing that tree is dangerous!" climb away, my big boys. If you fall, you will bruise yourself. You can break an arm even if you never touch a tree. I broke mine running laps in PE as a kid.
"You MUST have a helmet on if you want to ride that scooter!" Mitchell would literally wear a helmet all day long if I enforced this one. He rides it inside and out, carrying it up and down the stairs to bring with him wherever we go.
"Excuse me, your child is not strapped into that stroller!" I think I will see if he decides to throw himself from the moving stroller, thank you...

Do not think of me as uninvolved or not paying attention. Even I have activities that make me drop everything and run to stop them. The wobbly bridge with no sides at the park that Jack LOVES has got me constantly up on the toys with all the kids. Picking up garbage or gum off the ground is another one (gross...) No bikes, scooters, or roller skates are allowed anywhere but the ground. Riding them down stairs or slides only sounds like fun, I'm sure... And speaking of stairs, they are for getting from one level to another, not for any sort of playing. But I truly believe that bumps and bruises are a part of life and I want to encourage my boys to be adventurous and without unnecessary fear, knowing that the rules they do have make sense and are in place to keep more serious injury away.

I can't help but feel other mothers' eyes on me as I live my life, though. When Jack wanders a few feet from me, they look at me like "Aren't you going to stop him?" When Mitchell whizzes by on his scooter, they do a double take, wondering what terrible mother let him on that dangerous piece of equipment without a helmet! I hear dozens of times a day, mothers shouting at their kids to stop climbing up the slide, even when there are no other kids using it! Running too fast is always tempered with "Slow down so you don't fall!" I can't tell you how many people have reacted in shock when they see or hear of my toddler managing the stairs with ease. All of my kids learned this skill at a very early age, but I doubt have taken more tumbles than most other kids. Dirt is one of our favorite toys! We try to keep it out of our mouths, but just "getting dirty" is not a thing I can avoid even if I try.

Perhaps I need to change my views a bit. I do have my kids' safety in mind. I do want what is best for them and I promise you I am not just too lazy to care or think my kids immune to danger. A recent episode concerning a certain toddler and a jail break has left me a bit shaken and I find myself re-evaluating what my safety rules should be.

I will never be over-catious, that much I am certain of. I will still not use baby gates, child-proof my toilets, or forbid climbing up a slide, but perhaps trusting my boys all alone in the backyard while I use the lady's room for two minutes is asking too much of a curious toddler and an (unknown to me) unlocked side gate. Mitchell has crashed his scooter too many times to count, and not once would a helmet have protected him in any way, but for that one time a car might hit him while he is on it, a helmet could save his life. Although perhaps he needs to wear one while walking too, because he is just as likely to get hit by a car while on foot...

What do you think, am I under-catious? Am I inviting accidents or am I allowing my boys to be boys?


  1. umm...nice...I think its great to let boys be boys...and I am glad you have the boys and I have the don't know what i would do with boys but it sounds like you are doing a great job!! Did you read "bringing up boys?" -Emily

  2. I have read it, actually! very encouraging for those of us wanting to "let our boys be boys!" although he has got some serious issues with feminists....

  3. I had my first machete at age 9....I'm not talking pocket knife but real guy MACHETE.....I'm all for boys being boys......chicks dig scars and pain don't last forever.

  4. I can never remember who logged into their google account last.....I guess this time it was my wifey



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