Bubble Wrapped Kids
I'm a pretty cautious person by nature. When I try something new I like to learn as much as possible about it in advance, including possible risks. I haven't sky-dived or bungee-jumped but I have travelled extensively by myself, love roller coasters, and have my scuba diving certification - so I guess I'm not risk adverse, I just like to manage risk carefully.
That's what makes it so funny that with my most prized possessions, my kids, I actually give them a pretty loose leash. Perhaps it's my years of working with kids and background in ECE and Recreation, but whatever it is people are always surprised I'm so laid-back with them. Miss M is pretty cautious by nature herself (she is essentially a miniature version of my personality) but when she's on her bike she's a wild woman and will fly along at speeds that make my pulse quicken. When she crashes, she crashes well (if there's such a thing), and typically bounces right back up and on it again after a few tears. Mr M is a natural daredevil and if it's climbable, he will attempt it (again, my fault, as legend has it I climbed up a ladder onto a porch roof by myself at the tender age of two).
My philosophy is kids are going to try these things anyway (at least mine are), so why not give them the chance to do it when we're nearby and can teach them to manage the risk themselves and they can learn what their limits are. That doesn't stop the jaws dropping and the sharp intakes of breath (and maybe a little silent judging at my "irresponsible" parenting) that I hear around me at the playground as my son, at only 21 months, climbs higher and faster than some kids twice his age.
This month I wrote the cover story in Family Matters about this very topic.
If you ask children in Halifax about the play features at the waterfront, such as the submarine playground and the bouncy whales, there is likely one that stands out for every child who visits; the Wave.
Two summers ago #WaveDad made national headlines when his child climbed the piece of public art and toppled over the other side, garnering a collection of injuries that landed him in the IWK. The father launched a petition to put a rail around the top of the wave, or build a slide down the other side for a safer landing.
The reaction to his efforts was not what might be expected by a generation of parents with a reputation for overprotecting their children. Many laughed and proudly brandished their own childhood injury stories like badges of honour...
Click here for the full article.