My kids and I visited the playground quite often this Fall. Being a responsible parent, I found a park near our house with age appropriate equipment for my daughter. Happily, I would let her run, climb and slide to her hearts delight while her brother and I watched nearby. The park had closed one day for a private event, though, and we were forced to go to another playground. It had similar equipment but also had a set for older kids close by. Not knowing the difference, Lydia decided to try out a climbing wall on the larger equipment. My heart sank as I saw her ascending. I was only a few feet away but I was completely sure she couldn't climb it. I was terrified she would fall, break every bone in her body and I would be rushing her to the ER. Gently positioning myself in the best position I could, I waited for her inevitable fall. The thing is...she didn't. She climbed the wall like a pro! The terror I felt gave rise to the pride of accomplishment.
Taking risks is not a natural behavior for me and my parenting style has definitely reflected that. I'm not quite a helicopter parent but that might be because I'm too scared of the rotors.
With all this in mind, I was particularly interested in a recent article from the Motherlode blog. It describes a mother's reluctance to let her child light Hanukkah candles and his eventual success.
She employs a formula that comes from her own mother: "If her comfort level was a function of time, then the problem was mine and I would wait. But if it was a general anxiety about her child’s safety that would never quite go away, then the problem was hers and I wouldn’t."
Parenting isn't an exercise for the faint of heart. Children are naturally bold. Parents are not. So how do we make it work? I'm going to take a cue from my old friend, Ms. Frizzle...
Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!
Nervously, I'll also remember that she also started each adventure with: