When I went to the playground with my first toddler, I also took my second – I had twins. As they excitedly approached the slide I faced a defining moment in my parenting. With two children ready to try out the big slide, I had to decide whether I would help them up the huge ladder steps or catch them at the bottom of the steep incline.
I was 7 months pregnant with my third and knew I couldn’t keep my kiddos totally safe from their exciting adventure. I chose to sit on the playground bench and cheer their efforts… and successes!
This choice was foundational to my parenting. It helped me understand how much my children needed to try, how much my allowing risk was essential to their growth, and how much my standing down contributed to the formation of their strength, grit, and self image.
Well done parents, by granting your child the freedom of risk, you’ve given your child the gift of themselves – their strongest, most brave, creative self. And whether or not they were able to do it this time (whatever “it” was), you can be so proud of them – and more importantly, they will be so proud of themselves.