Do you let your kids take physical risks -- or are you an overprotective parent who hate to see your kids get hurt? One dad is talking about how he lets his son fall and fail at the playground. Aaron Gouviea lets his son Will clamber all over the plastic climbing structure at their neighborhood playground. Will loves the challenge, even though sometimes he slips and falls off. And Aaron thinks it's important to allow Will to make those mistakes and learn from them. Besides, he's falling from only four feet, and the mulch below makes for a soft landing.
But it's all fun and games until an overprotective mom catches Aaron refusing to give Will an assist when Will finds himself in a tricky spot and starts whimpering. Aaron was still watching closely, encouraging Will to keep trying. But that wasn't good enough for "Playground Mom." She just had to get involved.
She actually went up to Will and said, "You need help, sweetie? I'll give you a hand." She just couldn't stand by and watch -- she had to get involved. Aaron tells her Will is fine and doesn't need help. Playground Mom says of course he does, he's about to fall! Then Aaron lays on this shocker: "Maybe, maybe not. But either way he'll be fine. I can parent my own kid." And sure enough, Will said "no thank you" to Playground Mom's help and figured it out on his own. Ha!
But of course, it could have turned out differently. Will could have missed and fallen to the ground.
Obviously Aaron was irritated by this meddling mom. But have you ever been in her place? Have you ever watched a hands-off parent let their kids take physical risks you weren't comfortable with -- or even seen kids fall and injure themselves? What did you say or do?
It's hard for me to remember if I've ever been in that position. I'm always the most hands-off parent at the playground. But I know I've made other parents uncomfortable. I think they feel like it would be irresponsible of them to stand by and not intervene. Some parents really take that it-takes-a-village ethic to heart and feel like they're helping. I think they mean well, but it's still irritating.
What do you say or do when you see a parent let their kids fall or fail?
Image via Carl Wycoff/Flickr