Friday, June 29, 2012

I am lucky enough to have a nice choice of outdoor play area to venture to with my little ones.  A blast around in the fresh air does wonders for my kids and wonders for my sanity- no mess to clean up afterwards and play frames are designed to climb on, unlike my sofa which is NOT a climbing frame! 

On a recent trip to the play area I sat down and started to watch Alfie work his way around the play equipment.  He is more than happy to dangle from the monkey bars, zip down the slide at rocket speed and climb the climbing wall.  I am more than happy to let him do all of these things.  I allow Alfie the freedom needed to explore his limitations and without letting him get into serious danger I sit back and watch him learn. 

I was not alone at the play area.  A couple and their child were also there.  The child was also playing and looked a simliar age to Alfie but he had a backstop on every piece of equipment.  His Dad was no more than 2 inches away from him at all times.  You could see the panic in his eyes and the fear in his voice as he attempted to guide his child over the apparently life threatening dangers of the play area.  I am not that parent.  I firmly believe that you need to allow your children to learn, in a safe way of course but a play area allows that exploration in a relativly safe environment. 

But then over protective Dad started backstopping Alfie!  I saw the look Alfie gave him!  The back away now please look!  I also gave over protective Dad that look and he still didnt get the picture.  I quickly steered Alfie away to another (apparently lethal) piece of equipment. 

Kids get scratches and scrapes and they fall over and get back up again.  It's all part of the job for a child.  It's just learning what the world is about and as long as you control the limits of what they can get into you have got to let them get on with it.  As parents our kids mean everything to us and I would throw myself under a bus to protect my own but by not allowing them the freedom to learn you set them up to face bigger, more dangerous things without the knowledge to deal with it. 

So overprotective Dad, the only thing I will be steering my child away from is you- you are a danger, you just dont realise it yet! 

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  1. Well said Elyse! As a loving grandparent, I do admit that I probably display a certain amount of over-protective behaviour at times (memories of a 'shiner' of a black eye following an episode of babysitting last November springs to mind as Alfie decided to run into the corner of the dining table not two minutes after you left the house!!) - but I wholeheartedly agree with you. Children need the freedom to explore, learn by their mistakes and thereby become confident, independent individuals. You have two well adjusted boys who have superb parents. Lucky parents and lucky children. So proud of you all. xxxxxx


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