Raising independent Risk Takers

I learned to ski when I was 2 or 3 years old.

By the time I was 5 I was riding the chair lifts and skiing alone.

My dad worked in the bar at the resort so while he was working I was skiing.

I was 5 years old. That probably gives most of you parents heart palpitations thinking of that.

But my dad worked there and lived there. He knew all the employees. So while I felt like a big girl, everyone was always watching me. The chair lift operators, the ski school instructors and the ski patrol all pretty much knew where I was and were reporting to my dad.

When I was 8 years old my cousin who lived with me at the time and I rode our bikes in to town all the time alone. We rode to the store got our snacks and continued to ride where ever our hearts desired until the street lights came on. We had no cell phones no gps tracking devices. We had each other. If one got hurt or something the other could get help 🤷‍♀️ that was safety in those days.

At 8-10 I distinctly remember my dad had a single cab Nissan truck. We were a family of 4 😂. That was never an issue because in those days the kids went in the back. And my parents stepped it up for us and put us in lawn chairs in the back of the truck. Can you imagine that being done today? The activists and CPS and every other person would be all over it.

When I was 9 years old we moved across the street from my grandfather and I officially became a latch key kid. My parents worked 45 mins away. They left early in the morning before I was up for school and came home well after I had been out of school.

I woke up got dressed, had breakfast and walked to school. I walked home from school did my chores and went out to play. I remember I would call my mom from the house phone at work to let her know I made it home and that I was going out to play. All of this was ok because my grandfather who was in and out was kind of around to keep an eye out for emergencies.

The thing is....... all of those things that I grew up doing made me independent. They made me a risk taker. I didn’t have fear of every little thing.

I wasn’t coddled.

I was allowed to think for myself.

I was allowed to make choices.

Live consequences.

Problem solve.

Be responsible.

I learned to have a lot of common sense and to think critically.

I have tried to raise my kids the same way.

I have found so much value in teaching them to be independent risk takers.

We have never been afraid of germs.... it’s been a running joke in my house since the pandemic started that I care so little about hand sanitizer and germs I would lick the door handles 🤷‍♀️ gross but I seriously just don’t have those kind of fears. And nor do my kids.

I have never had a huge fear that something tragic could happen to them any time they walk out the door. Not to say it couldn’t I see tragedy in the ER all of the time, but rather I can’t control it regardless so why would I choose to keep them from experiencing life.

All of my kids are independent. They make their own money, pay their own bills, they make decisions for themselves (within some boundaries) and they deal with responsibilities and consequences. They don’t live in fear. They know it’s ok to take some calculated risks. They can think critically and look at cause and affect.

I look around at other kids in all of my kids age ranges and I oftentimes wonder why more parents don’t understand that they are raising future adults.

Why they don’t understand that while protecting them from everything comes from a place of love, it also cripples them as adults.

I’m not saying let your 5 year old go ski alone or throw your kids in the bed of a truck.

What I am saying is to stop teaching them to fear everything.

Stop protecting them and shielding them from all bad things.

Allow them to take some risks, to think for themselves, to feel the pain of consequences for bad choices, and to not be offended or have hurt feelings over every little thing.

We as parents are raising future adults. What we show them and teach them now will be with them for their whole lives.

How we do things with our children effects not only our families but a huge ripple of others that will come in contact with them throughout their life spans.

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