Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Want My Kids to Scare Me

I want my kids to scare me.  Actually, every parental impulse I have doesn't want my kids to scare me. I want my kids to be safe, protected, to never be hurt. I want the same things that all parents want for their kids. 

However, childhood is full of risk and adventure, as it should be. Following my urge to protect my children from every little thing doesn't do them any favors.

Yes, my heart lurches up right under my jaw when I catch Monkey balancing on the backyard fence. My stomach flip flops when I watch Bug launch himself out of the play ground swing.

Sometimes I have to close my eyes and go back inside to prevent myself from shouting for them to be safe.

My kids need these moments to realize that they are brave, risk taking, healthy, normal children. They need to climb as high as they can up the front yard tree. They need to practice riding their bikes with no hands. They need to cannon ball into the pool instead of just timidly entering from the shallow end.

I still insist on helmets and sunscreen and swimming lessons and seat belts and looking both ways.  Adventure should never be an excuse to abandon common sense.

But I'm working just letting them have the childhood they deserve. I let them make homemade bow and arrows and target practice in the back yard. I let them carve with pocket knives. I let them be pirates and ninjas and superheroes. I don't worry about the grass stains or the mud.

I want to keep my children safe. But I'd much rather kiss bumps and bruises and apply bandaids and neosporyn to scraped knees and elbows, than have my boys rolled in bubble wrap, safely on the couch.

I never want to see my children get hurt. But I'd rather them be brave, invincible, adventerous boys that occasionally fall down than have them cautiously living vicariously through a computer screen.

I want my kids to scare me.


  1. Replies
    1. It's not always easy, but just letting them be kids has been good for both of us.

  2. thanks -- I really needed to read this. :)

    1. Since we both have three boys, I'm sure plenty of scares are in your future.

  3. I think this is a great post. My mom had me so afraid of falling when I was a kid that I was basically afraid of everything. It's taken a LOT of time and work to get past those fears.