Saturday, February 5

Free wheeling dare devils

Often my kids have the ability to almost stop my heart with their crazy stunts. Yesterday I watched 16yr old Zan doing back flips off a 4m high rock above a water hole in the river. He then encouraged 11yr old Rain to jump off as well.
I must admit that I jumped too. It was fun and exhilarating but I think a part of my motivation was to prove that I'm not a boring 38yr old mum sitting on the sidelines, passed participating because I'm too old and 'responsible'.

But watching the kids perform stunts can at times bring on a bit of 'mother anxiety'.
Today 6yr old T was doing back flips into the local swimming pool. Then this afternoon at home he created the Aerial Half pipe. (see video below)

Even Tui at age two does things that make people cringe in their fear for her safety, their assumption that kids are not born knowing how to keep them selves safe, with an acute sense of what they are capable of. She will happily push a chair up to the kitchen bench, select a sharp knife from the draw and cut up an orange for herself to eat. Because she has never been told not to, she has never been told "don’t use knives or you will cut yourself!" Comments like these erode a child's confidence in their abilities, it sets up negative outcomes for them, if you are told often enough that you will fall or will cut yourself then chances are you will.

And although my heart jumps up into my mouth sometimes and I have to bite back words, (that come unbidden from my own childhood) words that you hear parents saying way too often, I feel so proud of my kids.
A great Aussie example of these words is "Don't do that! You'll break your bloody neck!"

I'm proud that they are free to do stuff. They push their physical bodies, they test their courage, imagine incredible feats and all with no interference from me. I’ve have tried hard to never tell my kids negative outcomes, sometimes I have suggested modifications for safety but mostly they work it all out for themselves.

I love my free wheeling dare devil kids.


messyfish said...

Same same! We have the same philosophy here! My 2.5 year old loves to climb trees reeeaaallly high! Usually naked. Yes he gets scratched. But that's how he learns. If I say don't do that you will fall... Then he thinks that's what's expected ( sub consciously) and just might! Instead I say Wow you are up high today. Are you enjoying yourself? How is it up there? ( as I try not to think about Brocken arms, impaled little body etc)

Ariad said...

Yep, exactly Messy Fish :)

Catherine said...

I totally agree, Ariad! This made me laugh cause I did a post just like this not too long ago - this is my philosophy exactly. xx

Here's the link:

Also, I was amazed you've been to the Lost World too!

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