I don’t know about you but I say this a lot! At least 5-10 times a day. My eldest loves to pirouette and jump and dance like a jellyfish but her balance isn’t the best and she often falls hence The Warning. But I hate it. Here’s why…
By saying ‘Be Careful! You WILL fall!’ I’m turning my warning into a fact. When I actually don’t know if she will fall or not. And even if she does, she may or may not get hurt badly. What I’m doing though is instilling a sense of fear in her. I’m making her doubt her ability when instead I should be encouraging her to test her limits and be adventurous (within reason).
I actually didn’t realize how often I said this phrase until I started noticing that before she would jump off a step or climb over the couch she would turn to me and ask ‘I’m going to fall?” I don’t want her to be afraid of things like this. Yes, I want her to be self aware when it comes to playing with a knife or jumping off the roof but not for normal kid stuff. I want her to try and climb the tree out back. I want her to pretend the low wall is a tight rope. Her imagination needs these mini adventures to grow. Even if she falls and scrapes her knee it’s really not that big of a deal. Nothing some Savlon and a cute plaster won’t heal. That bruise will be forgotten in a day but the joy of walking on a tight rope over hot lava will last for ages.
It’s a difficult habit for me to break because she is my baby and I don’t ever want to see her hurt. As our firstborn I’m extra protective over her and unfortunately learning through trial and error. Every time I learn a new lesson on parenthood I hope and pray I haven’t already screwed her up. I guess what’s important is that I’m realizing my mistakes and rectifying it. Or trying to anyway.
What I do now, if I am worried she’s going to hurt herself badly, is I say ‘Be careful, the couch could topple over if you stand on the edge’ or ‘Be careful, your dance is cool but you’re a bit close to the wall and you could trip’ Notice how I changed WILL to COULD? I’m trying to warn her of the possibility of being injured and what would cause it. So that she’s aware of the danger but it doesn’t stop her from what she’s doing. I want her to be aware and not afraid.
Its not easy watching your child grow and letting them go a little bit more each day. You just have to try your best to make sure they are equipped for the outside world when you aren’t there to issue warnings.