The Danger in Safety

Another brilliant observation by Jeff over at Explorations Early Learning, LLC.  This is exactly why we latched onto 50 Dangerous Things, and why we blog about these things.

As parents we’re inundated with rules and recommendations as to how we raise our children.  Society tells us that if we’re not vigilant, very bad things will happen to our children.  When Mike and I were Elena’s age, we were staying home by ourselves.  Now I have to look over both shoulders and practically whisper when I tell people that we let Elena ride her bike alone around the neighborhood.

“I could never …”

“Aren’t you afraid?”

“She’s too young …”

Yes, you can (and they can!).  We’re just as afraid as we’ll be the day she drives away by herself the first time, or goes off to college all by herself.  We can’t keep her within our sight  forever.  And as for the age?  I imagine it is infinitely easier to teach them life skills and to give them space to fail when they are still young enough to enjoy hearing what you have to say, and when the outcomes of their failures are easy enough to manage.  

Last month I dealt with a situation at school (I’m the PTO president at a small, private school) where a parent was insistent that any kind of running game not be allowed on the blacktop.  Her child was injured during a game of tag.  I get it – it sucks to see your kid in pain.  Eli’s had his share of goose eggs and gashes in the course of normal play.  We can teach our kids to use common sense and to learn their limitations, or we can outlaw anything that has the remote possibility of injury or emotional trauma.  In doing so, however, we are robbing them of confidence, courage and critical thinking skills in order to avoid the bumps, bruises and tears of childhood.

Keep calm and play on, friends.



  1. Greeting from across the ocean. Great post I will return for more.