LOVE AND LOGIC
Even though the pandemic has been constantly on our minds for the past year, there are still many other risks in the world that we need to keep in mind and help our kids avoid. Many of us lament the “good old days” when our kids were free to roam the neighborhood and play with their friends unsupervised by adults. In this day and age, parents are wise to keep a much closer eye on their kids.
How can we do this at the same time as helping our kids understand that nobody can ensure their safety if they habitually place themselves at risk? Here are some tips for striking a balance:
Don’t sugarcoat the world.
As soon as kids are able to walk, talk, and understand the basics, parents are smart to help them understand some unfortunate truths: there are some very bad people in the world who do very bad things to kids, sometimes “bad people” look like “good people” and vice versa, and there’s a difference between “good touching” and “bad touching.”
Children need to understand that there are also physical dangers and that kids who do unwise things, like running into the street in front of cars or placing their hands in the garbage disposal, stand a good chance of being maimed or killed.
Model calm confidence.
Obviously our goal is not to traumatize children with inappropriately vivid details. Our objective is to tell the truth in a simple and developmentally appropriate manner.
Our demeanor will make all of the difference. If we share the truth with anxiety, our kids will become anxious. If we do it calmly and with confidence, the odds increase that they will become calm and confident.
Help them see that they are ultimately responsible for their own safety.
Ask your child the following question:
“We love you and want to do our best to help you be safe.
Even though this is true, do you think we can keep you safe
if you aren’t trying hard to keep yourself safe?”
Make sure they are making as many small mistakes as possible.
The “price tag” of mistakes goes up every day. When we allow our kids to make plenty of small mistakes and experience the consequences, they are far less likely to make life-threatening mistakes later in life.
The goal of Love and Logic is to raise kids who know how to keep themselves safe rather than consistently relying on someone else to do so. Using these tips with kids of all ages can help you achieve this goal.
Dr. Charles Fay