Lately, it has seemed like other people are more concerned about my children's safety than I am. They see my son dangling off a playground ladder or my daughter using scissors on her own and they are off in a full sprint to their rescue. I have stopped keeping track of how many times a day a stranger informs me that "fill in the blank" is a dangerous activity for all kids"
I wish I could just say that this only happens online, that this is what I get for being a blogger who puts our lives out there. But, that simply is not the case. In fact, more often than not, said stranger is swooping into the rescue in person. There have even been times when a stranger has gone as far as to accuse me of abuse and negligence "¦ for letting my two year old walk along a stone wall by himself"¦
But please understand - I am paying attention
I am right there beside my children encouraging them, challenging them, and giving them the freedom to explore.
I stand back before swooping in and controlling because I want my children to develop a faith in their own abilities. To challenge their capabilities. To not be afraid to explore or try something new. To learn how to entertain themselves and use their creativity. I stand back because I want my children to find their independence.
And while so many may label this as "lazy," it works beautifully for us. When they fall or bump into something I am right there with hugs and kisses, but more often than not, it's not needed. More often than not they are back on their feet, running to their next obstacle while doing a little dance to "shake it off" without a tear in their eye.
Now all that said, I am not going to be handing a steak knife to my seven year old, or give choke size items (without supervision) to my two year old who still mouths items. That's the benefit of being the parent "¦you know your own child.
You know their habits, their strengths, their weaknesses, their capabilities. You know when it is OK to stand back and be "lazy""¦
So don't let some sanctimonious stranger stop you from being the parent. Allow yourself the freedom to parent in a way that feels natural to you and give your children the freedom to find themselves.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Stephanie Oswald's blog, Parenting Chaos. It has been modified and republished here with permission.