Thursday, October 9, 2014
Children and Safety
My husband will cringe when he sees this picture. I affectionately refer to him as Safety Patrol. He is basically who is responsible for keeping our children alive.
Safety and being careful are just not really on my parenting grid.
With two exceptions:
- Water freaks me out, so I am careful around water
- My dad and brother are lawyers for car accidents, so I am carseat safety conscious
Beyond those, my mind just does not think in worse case scenarios.
To give a back story: I come from a family of non-cautious people.
This is not a joke (though my dad will deny it): my dad used to have me and my siblings walk across our upstairs banister for fun.
Bungee jumping was a part of more than one family vacation.
We used to sled down our stairs, like on a consistent basis.
(Funny side note: my dad is a personal injury attorney and has sued people for this same practice.)
My mom would take us kids on vacations by herself.
My siblings and I lowered our little brother down our laundry chute in a bed sheet (I cannot recall if he went all the way down or we came to our senses before that happened.)
These are just a small sampling of experiences from my childhood. In short, as far as I can tell, my parents don't have any fears....therefore, fear wasn't really something instilled in me.
The logical end to that fact is I don't anticipate the worst in situations. When I see my boys on top of the car, I think "how precious that they're having so much fun planning Caleb's Nerf birthday party (that isn't until March, but whatevs)."
I don't think, "They should get down. They may fall off and get hurt."
My logic is that I played on my parents' cars many, many times without injury, so most likely no injuries will be sustained.
I like to think I give my kids a "long leash", so to speak.
I don't have extensive knowledge on other cultures, but I've often heard that Americans are the only ones who helicopter parent. While I am not super safety conscious, I definitely know that seeps into my parenting.
As my kids are getting older (two year olds couldn't be trusted in a padded room with nothing in it), I've made a conscious effort to think about what rules I have that are necessary for their well being (in different aspects) and which are motivated by fear.
Statistically speaking, our country is safer than it was 30 years ago. We just have the capability to hear about every single terrible thing that happens....and sadly, that information has wreaked havoc on parenting.
I definitely don't have this all figured out. I know I still operate from fears. (I definitely fear messing up the emotional and mental part of each of them.)
But, I am on a journey of letting my kids have freedom within necessary boundaries....but not setting boundaries on unnecessary things. Most of what we fear never happens. And no amount of worry could have prevented most of the awful and horrifying things that happen to people.
There are some freedoms I give my kids that people would probably judge me for, and there are ways I am overly cautious that are ridiculous and yet I still am.
Raising kids is so complicated. Subjects like these are so complex, and I definitely haven't arrived. And my opinion isn't necessarily accurate. This blog actually went a totally different direction than I planned, and I don't have time at the moment to really think about it.
My original point to the picture above is that boys are so awesome that I can't even handle it. And yet somehow I am diving into the deep psyche of fear and safety. Such is the mind of a mother.