Lebanon Reporter

January 22, 2014

Minimizing the parenting risks


Lebanon Reporter

---- — Recently, I read a claim that parents who do not allow their children to take risks are setting them up to fail in life. Half the time I forget I even have kids. Hubby, on the other hand, is extremely over-protective. When we saw the movie “The Croods,” every one of our children looked straight at their dad when the caveman father exclaimed, “Never not be afraid!” They are not allowed to climb trees. (But if it will make a good photo op, I make sure hubby never sees the photo.)To prevent choking, he chops the kids’ hot dogs right up until they attend their first bonfire.

They don’t know how to jump rope because having a rope around the house is too dangerous.

They wore harnesses (some folks like to call them leashes) to the grocery store until they physically outgrew them.

They have never had a treehouse. Seventeen years ago, without hubby’s knowledge, they climbed a treehouse in grandpa’s backyard. Son fell and broke his leg. Hubby rests his case.

After writing a lengthy petition, they were allowed to get a trampoline. It has an enclosure, and a very strict “one person at a time” policy.

We don’t venture off the marked hiking trails at state parks.

The floor next to their beds is piled with pillows in case they fall out at night.

When hubby says prayers with the kids, 90 percent of the prayer is regarding safety concerns. I call him God’s OSHA team.

He says he is forced to be extra protective because I tend to forge ahead with no concept of limitations, or a true understanding of what I’m actually doing. Example: the “no hiking off the trails” rule came about after I dragged three small children to the top of a very steep and slippery boulder, and then couldn’t figure out how to get them down. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he turned and saw our precarious predicament. It took some effort to rescue us, but I think he secretly enjoyed being the hero.

In 1992 we were living on love, as evidenced by the fact that we didn’t own a couch, but we did have a baby on the way. So, when we received an invitation for a child safety seminar that included free dinner, we jumped on it. We didn’t mind listening to a sales pitch disguised as a seminar if there was free chopped steak at the end.I had no intention of purchasing anything, let alone a $400 highchair, but hubby was convinced that the “Babee Tenda” was a true need. Not only was it guaranteed to prevent the tipping that would result in the horrifying brain injuries we were shown pictures of over dinner, it also converted into a bathing table, and a chalkboard. Just think how much money we were saving by having these things bundled into one product.

The payment terms were very loose; pay whatever you can, whenever you can, but it must be paid in full before the high chair is shipped. Remarkably, our baby managed to survive her first two years without the Babee Tenda.

Because it was originally intended for her, I considered sending it along to keep her safe while she was doing her internship in Morocco. But instead, we surrounded her with prayer and a good international phone plan. Regardless of how much you protect your kids, they are going to take risks. A summer in Morocco, a year in Australia, a road trip with the guys; if a kid has an adventurous spirit there isn’t much you can do to hold them back. More people fail in life due to lack of love, not because a loving parent cared about their safety. I’m actually glad that hubby is part of God’s OSHA team. Thanks to him, our children are poised for success.

Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author) and Twitter (@GingerTruitt), or contact her at ginger@gingertruitt.com.