Balance & Fear
Allowing our Kids to Grow Up
It’s a difficult balance, protecting the innocence and safety of our children and allowing them to grow, to experience new things and to take risks. This is something that I’m sure every parent battles with. As a child I remember coming home from school and playing with other kids in the neighbourhood for hours after school, heading to the park, riding my bike to the shops and only coming home when the street lights came on. From what I understand, this was a common approach, certainly where I grew up.
Yet fear often prevents us from having such a relaxed approach for our own children. Fear of the unknown, fear of injury, fear of something untoward happening. In our fear, we may be inadvertently not allowing our kids to experience many of the things they need to, to make wise decisions as they take risks growing up.
I’m not suggesting that we let go completely. What I am suggesting is that we need to consider appropriate risks for our children to take. There are many things that our kids should be experiencing as kids, before it is too late.
Here are a few suggestions:
Allowing your child to sleep over at a trusted friend or relative’s home – many children by the time they get to Year 6 have not experienced a night away from their parents. This proved problematic as our school has a compulsory camps programme where attendance at camps is required.
Setting up a tent in the backyard and allowing your children to sleep outside, watching the stars and telling stories. Perhaps this is something that could be shared with friends.
Allowing your children to walk to the local shops with a friend.
Of course your location, your child, experiences and a range of other factors need to be considered in these decisions. Balance and parenting is a tough thing to get right. I encourage you to continue to converse with one another about getting the balance right.