WHY KIDS SHOULD PUSH BOUNDARIES
While most parents are reluctant to let their children try risky play, it is indeed essential for children to experience activities such as climbing trees, practicing skateboard stunts, and racing bikes fast. This kind of play is actually healthy on a developmental level. The benefits range from reducing obesity to putting down video games to increasing children’ resilience in the face of obstacles. However, in our 21st century world, anxious parents focus on preventing minor injuries that were once assumed to be part of the childhood. So, the question is to find ways to ally both worlds so that children can get a thrill while staying safe.
Here are a few reflections:
1. It is natural for children to experience tumultuous play when running, jumping, balancing, and even falling safely. Through trial and error, children learn physical skills and how to face challenging events without fear. For example, climbing trees reduce the fear of heights. When children have constantly an adult who tell them what to do or when to stop, then children will not test their own limits nor develop their self-confidence when making decisions.
2. The key is to encourage healthy risks. By giving more autonomy to children, they will adjust gradually. The idea is to expose children to small risks so they can gain experience safely. When the lesson is small, it is good to let them learn it.
3. Differentiating risks and hazards. Risks are situations children can evaluate reasonably before making their own decisions while hazards are dangers a child cannot be expected to be aware of or handle. Parents’ role is to point out these differences to their children.
4. Leave no for big stuff. When parents interfere constantly, children can start second-guessing themselves, get distracted, or tune parents out completely. In deciding to step in, weigh the possible consequences of your child’s actions so that when you say no, it must be really dangerous.
Finding the right balance between allowing healthy risks and protecting your child is not an easy task. However, it is essential if we want to promote healthy development for our children.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.