Monday, June 11, 2007

Don't do that...

Have you ever stopped to think why you tell your kids "don't do that"?

I have thought about this before. I've wonder how many times we tell our kids no because of our own fears. With Jonas I was extremely worried that he would get hurt playing at the park. He was fearless running around on the toys and even jumping almost 6 feet down the rock wall that went up to the slide. I had known too many people that fell at the park and broke an arm and I didn't want Jonas to be one of those. It didn't really make sense, when I was a kid I was completely fearless and did things that I wouldn't want my own kids doing. I then thought about how many people do things and did things that they would try to protect their kids from.

How many parents smoke while trying to prevent their kids from smoking? How many people are in gangs not thinking about the fact that they will have kids that have to face the same temptations? Will they be able to expect their kids to stay out of the gang, even though they couldn't?

Erin Pavlina posted about how our fears can hold our kids back. It got me to thinking about this again. Jonas has fallen and broken a leg and an arm, and I am scared for him. But he is not. He's back to being his fearless self. I've never broken anything, I've never gone through that, it's a fear of mine, but Jonas has lived through it twice. If he's not worried, then I shouldn't be. He knows what will happen and how it will feel if something bad happens. He also knows that it probably won't happen.

At the same time, Ady is terrified by loud noises. Even noises that I know cannot possibly hurt her in any way, she gets upset and covers her ears for. She will run for cover when the vacuum is on. She doesn't like to go to the bathroom when the washer or dryer are running because they are too loud, she doesn't even like the bathroom fan to be on while she's in there. She's afraid of automatically flushing toilets, because they could flush while she's on it and not ready to cover her ears. I don't understand this fear. I have never had a problem with noises other than they have hurt my ears a little. Ady however, has already had different experiences than me. Maybe she was around a fight, where her real dad or grandma were yelling and that has stuck with her. Maybe it's because she goes to the local stock car races with her dad and the extreme volume from those have actually hurt her ears enough that they are extra sensitive around other loud sounds. I don't know where it comes from, but at the same time, I cannot just tell her to get over it. I have to be understanding and be reassuring to her, to help her learn that it's ok.

Jaden is cautious. He always goes down steps safely, and will even get on his hands and knees to go down a small bump that he should be able to step over. He loves to walk outside, but doesn't stray from the sidewalk, the grass is difficult for him. Streets also scare him. He will walk on the sidewalk up to the street, but then he wants to be carried over the street. I haven't understood this one yet. My job with him is to continue to encourage him to be adventurous. He is such a guys guy, in so many ways, that I think he'll overcome all of the fears he has now.

As parents it is our responsibility to help our children grow and learn, and especially learn from our mistakes, but we also have to give them the freedom to learn from their own mistakes. Many things just aren't learned without having the full range of emotional experiences that happen with it. You never fear death or cherish life, until someone close to you dies. You can't understand being poor until you have been there. Some things just can't be conveyed through any means other than experience.