I’m that mom that allows her kids to climb the highest tree and scale the rock wall as far as they can comfortably go. I trust them to decide how far they can push themselves and whether or not they can safely get themselves back down to the ground.
Yes, this earns me the side eye sometimes. But here’s the thing- taking healthy risks in childhood allows children the opportunity to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. They are learning their limits and seeing where they can push themselves. We’ve been practicing this way of thinking since they were tiny tots.
These were the rules and language that I used then and the ones I still use now-
If you can get up there yourself, you can get yourself back down. What if they need help? I’ll usually help them by telling the what to do, but I won’t put my hands on them to get them up or down, nor do I allow siblings or friends to lift them up or down when climbing. It is so important for safety that they find their own solid footing.
I won’t lift you up onto anything, if you can’t manage to get there independently then you are not ready to be up there. Like I said above, it is SO important for them to find their own footing for safety reasons. But having them get up on their own is also a great way for even the youngest children to set goals and work towards them. Sure, it can be very frustrating for the youngest sibling to see all the others get up high when she cannot yet do it. But that’s ok. She’s building her frustration tolerance and setting goals for herself. Once she can do it on her own? I love to say things like, “Can you remember when that was too hard for you? Now you are stronger and bigger and you can get up there all by yourself.”
Listen to yourself. Do you feel safe? Are you comfortable? I encourage my children to be risk takers but NOT to be RECKLESS. There’s a huge difference and we talk about it often.
I strongly believe that our children need to learn to evaluate risk by taking risks. The best way to learn is by DOING. How do you feel when your child takes risks? Are you cringing and calling out how worried you are or are you offering constructive support? I know it’s not easy. It’s scary to let them fly. .