Adventures in Unschooling

A culture of worrying

Posted on: July 9, 2010

I am reading an article in the Huffington Post about worrying right now. My scholarly friend sends these to me since she worries about my worrying. 🙂

The article was all about management for adult worrying but it had a good little nugget about how kids are conditioned to think the world is a scary place (which it can be). This occurs due to our insistence that they not talk to strangers and not step out of our sight, that they not walk alone etc.

And absolutely, we need to keep our kids safe from predators and from harm in general. I would never let my kids be in a situation where they could be picked up by a stranger.

But there is also a point where you have to let it be. 

For example, someone I know was all upset because their kid was balancing on a beam of lumber in my back yard. “Be careful. Please get down. You’ll fall off!”

He was about a foot off the ground and the ground was grass. Worst case scenario? He falls off and cries for a minute. Please someone…alert the police of child neglect!

On Canada Day we went to the Legislature. We were sitting on some steps to eat a snack and this little guy was running all over the steps. And his dad was all upset that he was running on, GASP!, concrete.

“If you fall it’ll be big owies.”

The kid weighs 20 lbs tops and is about 6″ off of the ground but I am sure that he will need to be hospitalized is he trips and falls. Give me a break!

Anna has been scaling furniture since she was nine months old. She climbed onto my kitchen counters before she knew how to walk. But I didn’t worry about it much. She will stop when she feels unstable. And if she falls (which does happen from time to time) then she cries and gets back up to play again. I wouldn’t let her stand on the ledge of a window but really, I can’t protect her ALL of the time and if I don’t let her discover her boundaries she won’t develop the self-confidence she needs to try new things.

All I am saying is that you should consider the risk of over-protecting your child. These kids can grow up to be worriers that are incapacitated by fear of, well, everything. 

There are times when caution is warranted but other times? Just let them play already.

Here is the article (which again, is not child related) if you are interested:


3 Responses to "A culture of worrying"

I totally agree. We let Isaac have a lot of freedom as well. The odd time when I find myself saying “be carefull…” I shut up. I know that I am just as conditioned and don’t want to put that on my kid. He will most definitely recognize his boundries…if left to do so.

Recently we were visiting family in Hamilton Ontario and we went for a picnic and a hike tot he bottom of a gorge. At first I was a little nervous because there was running water and crazy big rocks and Isaac just wanted to run all over the place. But I help myself back and let him be. He was amazing. He didn’t make on mis-step and whenever he needed a little help, he looked to me and asked.

It’s so important to encourage our kids independence in a safe safe and respectful way and to help preserve their self-esteem. I feel so sad when I see parents bitching at their kids to stop running or climbing or whatever. I have to wonder if they are really afraid their kid is going to get hurt – or perhaps they just don’t want to deal with the outcome if they do.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always enjoy reading here.

Love it! Have you read the book Free Range Kids? Or google it to check out the blog.

I have never head of it Becky. But it does sound like something I would read. Thanks. 🙂

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