Got your Scaredy Pants on? How about swapping them for some Brave Pants this weekend?
I Double Dare and Triple Dog Dare You To Do Something “Scary” With Your Kids
I was emailing with Lenore Skenazy (one of my heroes in parenting and a woman I admire greatly) today and she noted that I had fallen into the scaredy pants trap. (Although she was much nicer about pinpointing that.) What? ME? Falling into all those stupid fears out there that are based on myths, overactive imaginations, and too many bad news stories from across the globe? Yep. Just a little bit. (You can read her blog post and my comment which started the conversation. Hint: It has to do with taking candy from strangers.)
So with that in mind, I’m issuing a dare.
I dare you to take your kids out and do some “scary” activity (or let them do it alone) this weekend. Something you are normally too afraid to do. It can be something ballsy such as hanging out with honeybees (see above photo), or more mundane such as eating nonorganic veggies or drinking out of a water fountain. Maybe it’s something like letting your kids have a little more independence such as slicing a pear on their own, or riding their bikes around the block (without an adult tagging after them), letting your kids walk the two blocks to get the mail, playing in the park without an adult, letting your teens go to the pool alone, or… whatever you feel will test your parenting scaredy pants.
Let it go and see what happens.
And no, I am not saying to let your kids take off with strangers or anything crazy like that. I’m talking about little things that have grown ‘scarier’ in your head than they are in reality. Those things that make you clamp down on free play and allowing your children to go out in the world and develop their independence and explore new things.
For example: Will your kids really get some awful illness from using a water fountain? Or will it simply boost their immune system (–actually, know what? Water fountains tend to be cleaner than the keyboards we let our kids play on)? Will being stung by a bee really be the end of the world? Or will hanging with bees teach your kids some amazing things about insects and where their food comes from? Will letting your kids ride around the block really end in an abduction or a fatal accident? Or will it allow your kids to gain independence and skills that will actually make them tougher, more confident, more resilient, and a lot more street smart?
What are our kids missing due to our fears?
So today, I challenge you to look at your fears head on and see what is holding your kids back from playing freely and discovering more about this incredibly amazing world we live in. Tell me your thoughts in the comment section.
P.S. What am I going to do? I may allow my 9-year-old to cross the ‘big’ road to go to the local convenience store alone. She’s gone with a friend, but never alone. How does that sound?
Do you wear parenting scaredy pants? Does it interfere with your kids' lives? Triple dog dare you challenge: http://t.co/hOz2aZoM
— Jean Oram (@KidsPlay) August 24, 2012